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Islandport Press and Vena’s Fizz House Revive Historic Beverage Switchel With an Interactive Author Event for Young Readers


PORTLAND, MAINE (July 20, 2016): Switch it up on Tuesday, August 9, and take the kids out for a drink. Tweens and teens (and their parents) are invited to Vena’s Fizz House in Portland’s Old Port to help revive the refreshing ginger and vinegar-based switchel, a drink featured in the middle-grade novel, Azalea, Unschooled (Islandport Press 2015), by Liza Kleinman.

Kleinman, a Portland-based author, will read the switchel scene from her book Azalea, Unschooled, which was a 2016 Maine Literary Award finalist, and talk about the book.Event participants will bring literature and history alive by preparing a switchel recipe under the guidance of Vena’s own mixologists. The event will finish off with a tasting of switchel varieties featuring different sweeteners including the traditional molasses.

The switchel sampling will take place on August 9, 4 to 5:30 p.m., at Vena’s Fizz House, 345 Fore Street, Portland. Tickets cost $25 and include a signed copy of the book, a mixing lesson, and kid’s drinks associated with the programing. Drinks for parents are also available for $5. Tickets can be purchased on the Vena’s Fizz House events webpage: Read it, Mix it, TRY IT!


Switchel, or haymaker’s punch, was popular in the 19th century as a cooling and restorative tonic. Traditionally, the concoction is made from apple cider vinegar, molasses, and ginger but it is gaining popularity in new modern varieties involving different sweeteners and flavors including maple syrup and honey.

Vena’s Fizz House is a family-friendly soda shop that also offers expertly crafted alcoholic beverages for adults. The bar specializes in hand-crafted sodas and mocktails and sells specialty items for the home soda and cocktail enthusiast. Located in downtown Portland, at 345 Fore Street, Vena’s Fizz house has a classic charm in an area that brings visitors to the area from all over.

Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information about the company, visit, call 207-846-3344, or email Azalea, Unschooled can be purchased online at as well as at bookstores and gift shops.