Craft drink expert Emily Han creates unique flavors in Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fair Winds Press, 2015). Han teaches you techniques you need to know to craft your own infused waters, syrups, vinegar drinks, spirits, wines and sodas — each with powerful health benefits and a sentimental nod to drinks of another era. In this excerpt you will learn the recipe for a healthy, pungent fire cider.
You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.
Horseradish, garlic, ginger, onions, and chile peppers form the basis of this vinegar tonic, and I admit it: the combination sounds pretty frightening! In fact, it took me years to work up the courage to try it — but now, a shot of Fire Cider is one of the first things I reach for to ward off a cold or flu, relieve sinus congestion, and warm up on a cold day. Hot, pungent, sour, and sweet, Fire Cider was formulated by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar as a robust immune enhancer that anyone can make in his or her own kitchen. Gladstar has encouraged people to adapt Fire Cider to their own tastes, and by sharing this recipe, I hope you will do the same. I usually add turmeric and citrus to Gladstar’s core recipe, plus wild chiles pequíns that my mother forages in her Texas backyard. Depending on my mood and on what’s in season, I sometimes throw in a chopped beet, a handful of parsley, or some rose hips.
Fire Cider Recipe
• 1⁄2 cup peeled, finely chopped garlic (about 10 cloves)
• 1⁄2 cup peeled, finely chopped horseradish
• 1⁄2 cup peeled, finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
• 1⁄4 cup peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
• 1⁄4 cup peeled, finely chopped fresh turmeric or 1 heaping tablespoon ground turmeric
• 1 small orange (preferably a blood orange), quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
• 1⁄2 lemon, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
• 1 habanero chile, or 2 chiles pequíns, or 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne
• 1⁄2 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 2 to 3 cups apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons to 1⁄2 cup honey, to taste
1. Combine the garlic, horseradish, onion, ginger, turmeric, orange, lemon, chile, and peppercorns in a sterilized quart jar.
2. Pour the vinegar into the jar, stirring with a chopstick to release air bubbles. Leave 1/2 inch of head-space and make sure the ingredients are submerged.
3. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth.
4. Cover the jar with a nonreactive lid.
5. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 1 month, shaking it daily and ensuring that the ingredients stay submerged.
6. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
7. Discard the solids.
8. Whisk in the honey to taste; I usually like about 2 tablespoons, but some folks like as much as 1/2 cup.
9. Transfer to a sterilized bottle with a nonreactive lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
Learn more about Wildcrafting for Gratifying Drinks and Cocktails.
Reprinted with permission from Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han and published by Fair Winds Press, 2015. Buy this book from our store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.