Fire Cider - Your Winter Friend

Fire Cider - Your Winter Friend

Fire Cider is a traditional herbal remedy used to warm up the body during the cold months and support immunity during cold and flu season. Herbs such as ginger, garlic, onion, horseradish, and chilis, amongst other spices, gives Fire Cider; it's potent warming quality. Traditionally the base apple cider vinegar, mixed with honey, gives it a pleasant sweet-sour flavor.


What is Fire Cider?

Fire Cider is an herbal remedy developed by renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the late 1970s. People take it in the winter months to support the immune system at the onset of a cold, soothe the sniffles, and warming tonic. Made with common ingredients that you can find at just about any grocery store, Fire Cider is easy to make and affordable.


Where did it start?

Fire Cider is an oxymel – which is a herbal remedy that includes both vinegar and honey. Oxymels have been used for thousands of years, originating in ancient Persia and Greece.


Herbal vinegar and oxymels have been popular for years among herbalists, including herbal combinations that include onion, garlic, and hot peppers like cayenne. In the late 1970s, Rosemary Gladstar developed a particular remedy and named it Fire Cider. Her original recipe includes equal parts horseradish, ginger, onion, and garlic with a small amount of dried cayenne pepper.


Since that time, Fire Cider’s popularity as a folk remedy has skyrocketed. And now the once-obscure remedy cherished by herbalists has found mainstream popularity. A quick search on the net and you’ll find many variations of Gladstar’s original recipe.



Herbs in Fire Cider

Fire Cider depends upon five dominant herbs, including ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish, and a hot chili such as cayenne. Many now add turmeric, a potent anti-inflammatory, rosemary, which has anti-microbial properties and is a restorative tonic, or cinnamon for its warmth. As well as adding herbs and spices for medicinal purposes, one could also include spices such as star anise, which has a sweet, soothing quality.

When you make fire cider, you’ll also add apple cider vinegar and honey. Apple cider vinegar acts as an excellent digestive aid and helps extract the medicinal compounds of the herbs. Honey helps soothe the body, makes the tonic more palatable, and helps buffer the herbs' intensity.


The main ingredients are:


  • Fresh Ginger  - a warming herb with antiviral properties.

  • Onion  - a folk remedy for colds and flu and is incredibly rich in quercetin, a strong anti-inflammatory

  • Garlic - traditionally used to ease colds and upper respiratory tract infections and has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

  • Horseradish  - an excellent remedy for clearing the sinuses.

  • Hot Peppers  - warming herbs that support circulation and are traditionally taken at the onset of a cold.


How much should you take?

Most people take one or two tablespoons of fire cider at a time, often diluted in water or tea. Many herbalists recommend taking a shot every 3 to 4 hours if you feel a cold coming on.


Fire cider is also an excellent food – a delicious, spicy sweet-tart tonic that you can use in place of other vinegars in vinaigrettes and other culinary preparations. It’s a great way to consistently consume medicinal herbs regularly.


  • As a wellness shot. Take a tablespoon or two straight.

  • In herbal teas. Swirl a tablespoon into hot lemon-ginger tea.

  • As a vinaigrette. Use fire cider in place of apple cider vinegar in your vinaigrette recipe 

  • Sprinkle it over roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables, especially earthy root vegetables, benefit from the brightness of apple cider vinegar and the zip of fire cider.

  • Swirl some in soups or stews. It’s excellent drizzled over lentil stew with a little sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil.


How to Make Fire Cider

With its garlicky heat and vibrant flavor, Fire Cider is a traditional tonic that promises to boost the immune system and support your health through the winter months. And it's super simple to make. All you need is a handful of ingredients, apple cider vinegar, and honey.


Prep Time5 mins

Maceration30 d

Total Time30 d 5 mins

Servings: 16 servings (1 pint)



  • 3 ounces diced ginger root

  • 3 ounces yellow onion

  • 1 ½ ounce garlic cloves

  • 1 ½ ounce diced horseradish

  • 1 ½ ounces jalapeños or other hot chili

  • 3 star anise pods (optional)

  • 1 ceylon cinnamon stick (optional)

  • any other herbs or spices you feel may be beneficial to you healthwise

  • 2 cups raw apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup honey


    Optional Herb and Spices


    Turmeric  - a potent anti-inflammatory herb related to ginger, and it works synergistically with black pepper. 

    Cayenne powder is traditionally used in fire cider

    Citrus fruit like lemon can make a great addition, too. You can chop the whole fruit, or just use the peel.

    Thyme  - both a culinary and medicinal herb, (traditionally treasured as healing herb). It’s also an expectorant and often included in herbal cough remedies. You can use either fresh or dried thyme.



    • Quart-sized Jar



    • Layer the ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish, and chili into a quart-sized jar with the star anise and cinnamon stick. Cover with apple cider vinegar, adding additional vinegar to cover the contents of the jar as necessary.

    • Seal the jar, and store it away from direct sunlight for at least 1 month and up to 6 weeks. Shake daily.

    • Strain the vinegar, discarding the solids. Next, stir in the honey until fully dissolved. Store at room temperature up to 6 months and in the fridge for up to 18 months.