refreshing switchel

This weekend all Americans are celebrating the 4th of July, our independence. This weekend should also set some all time records in this area for high temps, promising to be 100. With that in mind, what does one serve for the start of a tea tradition? The ladies of the regiment are also celebrating Penelope Baker’s brave protest of the tea tax and recreating (as much as one can minus the mulberry tea) the Edenton Tea Party of 1774 where she and 50 others burned their tea and signed a petition that went all the way to George III himself, protesting the taxes on tea and other goods. This was the start of open protest by women, an unheard of thing in this era. In England, this act was viewed with derision, people thinking that these women were nothing more than hillbillies with low morals and North Carolina was filled with wusses, thinking that the best they could do was have a bunch of whiney women complain. In this country, however, people applauded these ladies, especially since they didn’t hide behind facepaint and feathers as the Bostonians had done.

Because of the heat, for the high tea,  I decided to make hot  fennel tea and orange honey tea,  instead of mulberry that was made back then. I also want to make batches of switchel, a drink proported to have come from the West Indies, some say it was very popular with the Quakers ,all say that is particularly good for people trying to hydrate in extreme heat. The receipt is simple but sounds peculiar but promises to be good- like a ginger beer.

1 gallon of cool water

1 cup of apple cider vinegar (Braggs unpasturized is best)

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup of sugar or brown sugar

3 tsp ground ginger

Mix all together and chill. It was recommended that one make it the night before to blend the flavors.

There is an interesting article in the Smithsonian Magazine recounting the history of switchel and another written about switchel and the Shakers.


Alton Brown’s scones. If he says they’re good , you can take it to the bank!

What is a tea without scones? Since blueberries are so plentiful , I made blueberry scones (and cranberry for variety) Alton Brown had a wonderfulrecipe and the scones turned out moist and flaky, truly delicious.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (I used lard)
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 egg
  • Handful dried currants or dried cranberries or (generous cup of fresh blueberries mixed with a tbs offlour)


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.


For the savory, I thought that cucumber sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise may be very refreshing. I raided my mint patch tonight and made the mayo and it is totally delicious. I’m trying to figure out what other things I could spread it on.

Things You’ll Need

  • 2lg Egg yolks
  • 1/2ts Dijon mustard
  • 2tb Fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4c Fresh mint leaves, loosely
  • -packed (I used a little bit more)
  • 1c Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 Thin slices homemade white
  • -bread, crusts removed
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled and thinly
  • -sliced
Wash and strip the mint from the stems, put all ingredients in the food processor and whiz it until all is emulsified. Savor the yum!!!

Read more: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches With Mint Mayonnaise Recipe | Garden Guides