I know people all over the world laugh at what we call winter, but we do feel the seasons changing. The Bahama islands have been called the “Isles of Junes” and the “Isles of Summer” and it’s because the sun’s love affair with our palm drenched islands can turn up the heat. Salt, sea, sun and warm air brings on the thirst and we have a drink we’ve adapted from other countries’ that we’ve put our own island twist on. Switcha! Switcha is our Bahamian lime drink nicknamed for the way it can “switch up” your face.
Allegedly the ancient Egyptians invented lemonade, but Switcha first landed on our shores with the Loyalists who came from the southern United States in the 1780’s. Back then, sugar was a scarce treat, lemons were no more local than hen’s teeth, but everyone still wanted a cool drink with a little taste. Adapting a little for what was on hand was how Switcha was born and it’s still the same face puckering drink we enjoy today.
The recipe for Switcha can have many variations but the original is simple; island limes, water and, if you have it, cane sugar. In the Bahamas we’ve seen people drink it out of enameled tin cups, repurposed coffee cans, and even heirloom crystal glasses.
A local recipe from “Tru Bahamian Food Tours” is a little “fancier” but one of the best we’ve tasted:
3/4 cup to 1 cup of key lime juice (about 10 limes)
1/4 cup of lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 cup of cane sugar
1 gallon of water
- Boil 1 cup of water. Once boiled, add sugar to dissolve, making the simple syrup
- Using the remaining water, combine with the key lime and lemon juice and mix.
- Add simple syrup to the juice/water and let chill for 30-60 minutes.
- Serve cold with a wedge of lime.
There are many variations of switch involving orange, ginger, mint, even grapefruit juice. There’s even an adults only variation that involves rum.
A Bahamian refresher on a long summers day, or a simple cocktail to add to your home’s cocktail cart, this tropical, delicious Bahamian drink may switch up more than your face, it might switch up your mood! Plus it’s fun to say. Switcha!