Make your own fire cider at home for a natural decongestant and vitamin booster! This is an easy traditional herbalist home remedy. This was an important part of my childhood and I've continued making it as an adult to help provide a boost, especially during the colder months.

My lavender chamomile tea is another great herbal drink if you're feeling a little under the weather, and you might also like to try making your own herbal oil.

A jar of infused apple cider vinegar on a kitchen counter.
Jump to:

What is Fire Cider?

Fire cider is an infused apple cider vinegar drink that was first made in the 80s at the California School of Herbal Studies, by the school's creator Rosemary Gladstar. Based on traditional home remedies, the fire cider recipe uses the power of apple cider vinegar and potent herbs to create a tonic that's spicy, pungent, and sweet. Historically tonics like this have been used to ward off colds and flu, help solve sinus issues, aid in digestion, and help increase circulation.

Made out of a combination of ginger, horseradish, garlic, and turmeric, this concoction is meant to be anti-viral, immune-strengthening, and a decongestant. The ingredients can vary depending on what you have on hand, but I like to stick fairly close to the original by adding onion, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and cayenne (or pepper) along with a few other additions for fun. Stay healthy, friends, and good luck warding off those nasty colds this season!


Fire cider ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Apple cider vinegar: choose raw, unfiltered vinegar for this recipe. There are no substitutions and I don't recommend trying to use a different type of vinegar.
  • Ginger: fresh ginger is key to this recipe and powdered or dried ginger can't be substituted.
  • Jalapeño: this is a fun addition to make the cider a little spicier, but it can be omitted.
  • Turmeric: if you can't get fresh turmeric, use more ginger in its place.

Step by Step

Infused apple cider vinegar steps 1 and 2, before and after adding vinegar.

Step 1: add all of the herbs, vegetables, and spices to a large clean mason jar.

Step 2: top with vinegar, then keep in a dark place for 3-6 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and keep the vinegar in the fridge for use.

Top Tips

  • Use a muffin liner: to help prevent erosion on the metal jar lid, place a muffin liner under the lid as pictured.
  • Sterilize the jar: use the oven method or at minimum run through a hot dishwasher before using the jar for the fermentation and to store the finished infused vinegar in.
  • Use the vegetables: Rosemary Gladstar recommends making a pulp from the strained herbs and vegetables in a food processor to use as a chutney. Otherwise add to the compost heap as you would any other kitchen waste.

How to use Fire Cider

Fire cider can be taken a couple of different ways, but my favourite would be in the form of those cute little health shots you get from fancy juice stores - just down a shot all in one. But if that doesn't strike your fancy, here are some other ideas:

  • Drink a couple of tablespoons on first sight of a cold or flu.
  • Mix with warm water and drink in the morning as you would lemon juice.
  • Add to salad dressings and Buddha bowl sauces as you would use any other vinegar.
  • Sprinkle over steamed veggies.
  • Add to spicy cocktails like a Bloody Mary.
  • Make a hot toddy with hot water, fire cider, and rum or whisky.

How to Store

Once the vinegar is finished infusing after a few weeks, the strained cider can be kept in the fridge for up to a year.


What is fire cider good for?

Fire cider is meant to be used as a cold preventative and makes an excellent decongestant if you're stuffy.

Does fire cider have alcohol?

Traditional fire cider does not contain any alcohol, but is sometimes served in cocktails or as part of a hot toddy.

What should fire cider taste like?

It tastes like a spicy vinegar, with strong notes of ginger and some garlic and onion. You sweeten to taste, so it can also be a sweet-sour mixture.

If you make this Fire Cider recipe or any other vegan drinks on Wholehearted Eats, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more WHE, follow along on Instagram or subscribe for new posts via email.


A jar of infused apple cider vinegar on a kitchen counter.
Print Recipe
4.75 from 4 votes

Fire Cider

Make your own fire cider at home for a natural decongestant and vitamin booster! This is an easy traditional herbalist home remedy.
Prep Time10 minutes
Fermenting Time21 days
Total Time21 days 10 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 1 litre mason jar
  • Knife
  • Parchment paper or wax paper or a muffin liner


  • ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Horseradish
  • ½ cup Peeled and Chopped White Onion
  • ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Garlic
  • ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Turmeric
  • ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Ginger
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper Chopped
  • Peel and Juice of one Lemon Pith removed
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 2-3 cups Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Raw Honey / Maple Syrup to taste


  • Place all the vegetables, herbs, and spices, in a clean, sterilized 1 litre mason jar. Top with the apple cider vinegar, and using a clean knife, make sure there are no air pockets where bacteria can grow. Apply a layer of waxed paper, parchment, or a muffin liner to the top of the jar before placing the lid onto it to prevent any corrosion.
    ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Horseradish, ½ cup Peeled and Chopped White Onion, ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Garlic, ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Turmeric, ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Ginger, 1 Jalapeno pepper, Peel and Juice of one Lemon, 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, 2 Sprigs Rosemary, 2-3 cups Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Store your jar in an area you'll visit daily (I keep ours by the tea and coffee) and shake once daily or as often as you can remember. After anywhere from 3-6 weeks the vinegar will be ready.
  • Simply strain out all the vegetables (compost them) until you are left with just the infused vinegar. At this step, you can either sweeten the vinegar with honey or maple syrup or if you prefer just to leave it as is and sweeten it as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to a year.

    Raw Honey / Maple Syrup to taste



As a disclaimer, I should probably say I am not a doctor and if you're really ill please go see a medical professional and get the medicine you need.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.4g | Protein: 0.01g | Fat: 0.004g | Saturated Fat: 0.001g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.002g | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg


  1. A week late but here i am hoping your first week as a 31 year old has been just as good as the day itself. A slow, quiet birthday sounds just about right to me. My best birthday memories are always special moments spend with the people I love. But never have I ever seen a snow monkey and THAT would make my day (life) for sure! Love this cozy little drink and wishing you well, old friend 😉 xx

  2. You. Are. Pure. Love!

    I hope you feel so much better and that you've had some cake as well. Thank you for the beautiful story. Ah my heart. Family, little tokens, special memories. It's all such powerful parts of our lives and when it comes down to it (just like you said) if we have that & don't run around with all the "do's" life sure is at it's best.

    I've never made fire cider but often boost my Golden Detox Drink w apple cider vinegar, garlic and coconut oil at the onset of a cold. It always does the trick *knock on wood*

    Such a huge hug to you and happy belated birthday.

  3. Its really helpful for illness. Much appreciated for your recipe because there are so much healthy ingredient for fighting with illness. So I want to try it certainly.

    1. Thank you, Rony! You're right, this elixir is totally jammed packed with medicinal wonders. I hope you enjoy it <3

  4. Happy birthday! I love your story about your 18th birthday in Japan - it sounds pretty magical. However, I totally get what you're saying when it comes to not making a lot of plans on your birthday. I tend to do the same and never regret it.
    Hope you had a great day yesterday and a lovely Sunday 🙂

  5. Happy Birthdayyyyy! I loved reading this post (YAY for Gilmore Girls!). This fire cider is exactly what I've been looking for! I kept meaning to look up recipes for it and always forgot. Now I have no more excuses, definitely making this before the colder weather sets in 🙂

    1. Thanks Maya!!! I'm so pleased you enjoyed this post, and GG!!! <3 I hope you try the cider! I'd love to know your thoughts on it 🙂

  6. Belated happy birthday Sophie x I always feel that life happens when we make plans, or at least that's how it feels. My grandmother used to give me a similar drink when I was a kid, as well as a seaweed jelly both to cure coughs and colds. It's hugely disappointing to hear that a company has been able to trademark a traditional recipe like this.

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! Ha ha, I agree with you. Somethings I think its just better to live in the moment and go without plans than allow disappointment to happen. I'm so intrigued by this seaweed jelly you speak of!! It sounds like a wonderful old word home remedy. I must google this! Trademarking traditional knowledge is just criminal. It truly boils my blood too.
      All the best,
      Sophie xox

  7. Happy birthday Sophie!! I know I'm a very quiet reader of your blog (however, I do admire the aesthetics of every single post of yours), but yeah, since it's your "special day", I thought I'd say hi and wish you a laid-back, stress-free, migraine-free day today. Regardless of the date. Also: I LOVED Gilmore Girls when I was younger! Reminded me so much of me and my Mum (weird). Not sure how I feel about the reboot though...

    Anyway - happy birthday 🙂


    1. Oh, this post makes me so happy to read, Maisy! Thank you so much for visiting, you're a real sweet heart. I adore your site, by the way! Your zucchini brownies are on my must make list. I know what you mean about the re-boot. I'm so scared they'll ruin it some how. Finger crossed. P.S. You and your mum must have an awesome relationship! <3

      1. Hi Sophie! I just went back to this post to see if you answered by any chance - and you did!! Haha I'm actually so excited about it 😀 I had no idea that you checked out my blog, that's so sweet! I definitely have a long way to go to improve my food photography (a LONG way), and you are definitely a HUGE inspiration to me in that regard. Can't wait to have my own (bright?!) house one day with loads of windows and sheer curtains for taking pictures, lol!
        I hope you're having a great week!


  8. Yay for your birthday! Yay for fire cider ( which is on my yo do list for ages and now you have unconsciously reminded that it's time haha) &a Yay for GG!
    Happy belated birthday my dear!
    It looks cozy over there through your beautiful pictures!
    Have a lovely weekend & fun in Stars Hollow! 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Gina!!! I highly recommend the Fire Cider, but I must admit, it was on my to-do list for years too. Now that I've made it, I see how it's so darn easy! I totally plan on sipping some tea and curling up for my daily Stars Hollow visit soon <3 xox

  9. Thanks for sharing. I can really relate to this. Its a birthday thing. And what better way to recuperate than watching GG. We're half way through season two (for about the tenth time) - 5 to go! Happy birthday!

    1. Nice one, Amanda! For whatever reason, I am loving the show now more than I think I did as a teenybopper - go figure. I definitely have some catching up to do. I wonder if I can make it to the end before the new episode.... 😉

      1. I'm also loving it so much more now that I'm older... I think when it was on we were Rory age (I'm also 31), and now that we're Lorelai age, it's a totally different show. Also...happy happy birthday!

        1. So true, perspective changes everything. Lol, one of my first thoughts too when watching it was that Dean wasn't as awful as I remember him being, and he's cuter too. Ha, I'm such a perve 🙂 Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, Amber xox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating