Fire cider's name might be intimidating, and the ingredient list even more so, but this pungent, sour and spicy folklore brew is winter's healing remedy. Besides helping ward off the cold and flu, it aids digestion, helping detox all of last month's indulgences.
Throw back a shot, add a dash of the cider to hot water or even use it in cocktails, just as you would a shrub (hello, Fire Cidercar). And don't stop at drinks: Spike marinades, like one for Cuban-style pork, or swap out lemon juice and massage into a kale and pomegranate salad.
Traditionally, fire cider is left to mature and ferment in a tightly covered jar for three to six weeks. If you go this route, place all the ingredients in a clean one-quart jar and completely cover them with cider vinegar so no air bubbles remain. Skip the cooking part and let the mixture ferment naturally, shaking the jar every day or so. Below is our quick version that will yield a batch in 30 minutes. Though this version doesn't contain probiotic properties, every drop holds various healing properties to keep you in good health all winter long.
But don't stop at our ingredients list, either. Create your own version using a variety of roots (horseradish is very common), herbs, citrus, fresh or dried chile peppers, and anything else you have around.
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 3 to 3½ cups fire cider
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Two 3-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 habanero pepper, halved
1 lemon, quartered
1 grapefruit, quartered
3 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar), plus more to taste
Honey, to taste (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and habanero. Squeeze the lemon and grapefruit pieces into the saucepan, extracting the juice and throwing in the fruit skins as well.
2. Add the apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, occasionally mashing the ingredients to help extract their juices and natural enzymes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 5 minutes, occasionally mashing.
3. Taste and adjust the seasoning with apple cider vinegar and sweeten with honey, if using. Let the fire cider cool completely to room temperature before straining into a large bowl. Transfer the fire cider to a glass jar and store in the fridge, covered, for up to 1 month.