Fire Cider Is On Fire

This home-brewed elixir gives foods a kick--and boosts your immune system

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Fire cider is a great addition to any salad
Drink fire cider straight-up or use it to give sauces and salad dressings a nutrition and flavor boost.

Updated Jul 2, 2017 @ 8:04 am

Bone broth, fermented foods, oil pulling—old-fashioned folk remedies are having a moment.

Our latest favorite is fire cider, a home-brewed mix of health-boosting ingredients—which contains some combination of vinegar, horseradish, garlic, ginger, onions, hot peppers, oranges and honey—that proponents say can help do everything from strengthen immunity and support digestion to cure hangovers and boost energy.

Fire cider's kick comes from garlic and chilies
Chilies and garlic give fire cider a kick.

Like many remedies, fire cider’s precise origin is uncertain, though some in the natural-foods community credit herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Recipes abound online for the spicy-sweet, pungent brew, some of which contain various herbs, spices like turmeric and cayenne, and other homeopathic ingredients, such as echinacea.

No matter which style of fire cider you make or buy, the method is the same: Combine all the ingredients in a large jar, cover with raw cider vinegar, seal and store in a dark pantry, shaking it daily. The tonic is best after four to eight weeks, though it’s usable after a day or two. Then strain it into a clean jar, seal and keep out of sunlight at cool room temperature.

Once it’s ready, you can:

  • Knock back a tablespoon daily to boost immunity.
  • Place a tablespoon or two in a cup, cover with hot water and sip like tea when you feel a cold coming on.
  • Have a spoonful or two after a big meal to aid digestion.
  • Take the morning after overindulging in alcohol to soothe a hangover.
  • Mix into salad dressing, sauces or drinks for a spicy-sweet healthy kick.

Be sure to ask your grandma if she grew up sipping a tonic like this—she might have the perfect recipe.