Fire Cider Master Tonic is a spicy, flavorful infused vinegar recipe that’s delicious and also beneficial to your health!
A health tonic that’s easy to make at home from a few simple ingredients and has many claims of health benefits like anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and more.
What is fire cider?
Fire Cider Master Tonic is a hot, spicy herbal tonic made with an array of immune boosting ingredients like horseradish root, garlic and oregano infused in apple cider vinegar. Essentially an infused vinegar, or tincture, that’s not only delicious but also beneficial to your health.
Thanks to the powerful ingredients in the infusion Fire Cider benefits are many. Anti-inflammatory and immune boosting fire cider has also been shown to help the body balance blood sugar levels, fight infection and relieve congestion, clear mucus, relieve sore throat and cough and even treat stomach problems.
This beneficial tonic recipe is not without controversy, though.
The controversy lies around the lawsuit by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, developer of the original recipe in the 1970s. She calls fire cider “part medicine and part food made and shared freely”.
Rosemary Gladstar, now of Mountain Rose Herbs , concocted the tonic, based on Hippocrates Oxymel or the Four Thieves Vinegar Blend, in her classroom kitchen at the California School of Herbal Studies the herbalism school she used to run. She shared the recipe and the tonic with many people over the years. And it wasn’t until years later that the fire cider controversy arose when retailer, Shire City, began selling the popular tonic and trademarked the name legally disallowing anyone else from using it.
After years of fighting through the judicial system, the fire cider lawsuit has been closed and the beneficial health tonic can be called, used, made and shared freely as initially intended.
Use organic ingredients to minimize exposure to chemicals and unpasteurized unfiltered cider vinegar to increase the variety of probiotics, enzymes and nutrients in the mix.
- Fresh horseradish root – abundantly grows in gardens and landscapes. Or find horseradish root in the refrigerated produce section of grocers, commonly near ginger and fresh herbs. If you absolutely can not find fresh horseradish, omit altogether and add extra ginger, onion and garlic.
- Fresh ginger root – substitute dried ground ginger if necessary.
- Hot chili peppers – jalapeno, thai chili, serrano, habanero, etc. If fresh peppers aren’t available you can even substitute dried red chili flakes or powdered cayenne pepper.
- Apple cider vinegar – like Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar or other similar apple cider vinegar with mother. You can also substitute home brewed kombucha or kombucha vinegar with the mother if available.
- Oregano– and/or other medicinal herb like rosemary, thyme, echinacea, nettle leaves, etc.
- Honey – optional. Fire Cider recipes are typically made as an oxymel, or blend of vinegar and honey. This version is unsweetened although you can add honey to taste after steeping, if desired. If adding honey be sure to add the honey to taste after straining. The mixture may ferment if you accidentally add the honey first. If you do make this mistake either refrigerate immediately to prevent fermentation. Or leave the lid off and cover with a paper towel to embrace fermentation.
- Optional – add other ingredients as desired and make it your own! Fresh turmeric root, rosemary, rose hips, nettle leaves, whole lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, peppercorns, etc.
Step by step instructions
- Prepare ingredients grating roots, and finely chopping other ingredients. Use gloves if sensitive to horseradish and jalapeno peppers. Alternately use a high powered blender or food processor to process all ingredients as coarse or as finely as you like.
- Place ingredients in a quart-sized glass jar.
- Pour apple cider vinegar to cover all ingredients and fill jar to the top.
- Use a plastic lid or lined metal lid to cover jar.
- Shake to combine.
- Steep in a cool, dark place, shaking frequently for at least 1 month, up to 3 months.
- Use a cheesecloth or fine mesh straining bag to strain solids from mixture. Squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids or save for another use like Fire Cider Chutney.
- Taste your homemade health tonic and sweeten, if desired, to taste with honey.
- Store in a cool dark place and use within 18 months.
Hot to use
Use as a homemade vitality shot or immune boosting tonic. Drink a shot or two as a preventative tonic, increasing usage if you feel a cold coming on. You can enjoy it straight, mix with water, seltzer or lemon juice for a refreshing iced fire cider drink similar to a Switchel Spritzer.
You can also cook with it! Add fire cider to soups, sauces, dips, and marinades. Use by itself as a spicy vinaigrette to sprinkle on salads and vegetables. Or added to salad dressings and even cocktails! A dash or two is perfect as delicious Bloody Mary mix seasoning for cocktails. Or just leave the vodka out and use fire cider to make bloody mary mocktails.
Negative side effects
This post is no substitute for professional medical advice, but is simply sharing a classic folk tonic/remedy.
There may be negative side effects to its use. To minimize any effect of the acidic tincture on tooth enamel use a straw or dilute tonic in water before taking. Also avoid taking on an empty stomach to reduce any effects of heartburn or indigestion.
Shelf stable Fire cider lasts for up to 18 months when stored, covered, in a cool dark place. You may refrigerate if you prefer to consume cold fire cider but refrigeration is not necessary.
- ½ cup horseradish grated
- ½ cup onion finely diced
- ½ cup jalapeno pepper chopped
- ¼ cup garlic chopped
- ¼ cup ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- Place peppers, horseradish, garlic, onion and herbs in a clean sterilized glass jar and add apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs and fill the jar.
- Cover tightly with a non reactive lid.
- Place jar in a cool, dark place and let steep for at least a month, up to 3 months if desired, shaking frequently.
- Strain out the solids, reserving the liquid.
- Rebottle and enjoy!