It’s winter now in the northern hemisphere, which means cough, cold, flu and COVID season! One simple way to ward off these and other cold conditions is to stoke your inner fires. Avoid cold drinks and raw foods and reach for food and beverages that warm you from within, whether because they are cooked or because they contain warming spices. Alternately, you can drink a tonic like fire cider that contains warming spices and gut-friendly pro-biotics.
(The name is a little misleading because fire cider contains neither apple juice nor alcoholic cider. A more accurate name would be “hot and spicy vinegar” but that doesn’t sound very drinkable. Maybe “fire tonic”?)
I first learned about fire cider in herbalism school. You can find lots of different recipes online (this one from the Herbal Academy explains the medicinal benefits) but the basic concept behind all of them is pretty simple: just chop up some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, horseradish and chilis and let the mixture infuse in apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 10 days to a few weeks. Then you strain off the mash and keep the vinegar in the fridge to use in one of several ways:
Drizzle on veggies, salads or soups as you would any other flavoured vinegar
Add honey to make an oxymel
Add some water and drink it as an immune shot
Early in December I held a fire cider workshop with some folks at my job. We used the Mountain Rose Herbs recipe, minus the horseradish and plus some extra lemon and chili peppers. It was a surprisingly fun group activity, and definitely makes those tedious tasks like peeling ginger go a lot faster. I think it would be a nice thing to do with a partner and/or kids as well. Even just chopping all the ingredients energises the air!