A Must Try Fire Cider Recipe Using Unexpected Herbs (2024)

Fire cider, the renowned vinegar-based infusion of pungent plants, is an altogether invigorating concoction with a real spicy history in traditional folk herbalism. In this article, we have a creative spin on the traditional fire cider with a Cranberries and Cardamom Fire Cider recipe we are sharing below!

The story of fire cider recipe’s rise to modern prominence can be traced back to the teaching kitchen of revered herbalist Rosemary Gladstar around the year 1980. At the time, drinking apple cider vinegar and an excessive amount of cayenne pepper was a health trend that emerged from Dr. John Christopher’s school of herbalism.

During a class on winter wellness in the damp and chilly Pacific Northwest, Rosemary chopped up the ingredients we now know as the base of fire cider: garlic, onion, ginger, and horseradish. These plants were tossed into a jar and covered with apple cider vinegar and honey, and fire cider was born (Gladstar, 2019).

To learn more about this beverage’s storied past, and for more exciting fire cider recipes check out Herbal Academy’s Business Herbal Course.

Let’s be clear though, there is a historical record of recipes involving aromatic and pungent plants steeped in vinegar across cultures, including the four thieves recipe, well known as a concoction used by grave robbers in Europe in the Middle Ages. This is not new. It is a time-honored method of extracting beneficial plants and applying them for human use. Indeed, fire cider is one herbal preparation we love to share with our Herbal Academy students!

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Benefits of Fire Cider

This array of deeply warming and aggressively flavorful herbs turned out to ignite people in more ways than it was originally intended! There is a lot to be said about the blood-moving capacity of this blend of plants. The phytochemicals in these herbs are what give them their flavor profiles but also provide their circulatory stimulating effects.

Garlic (Allium sativa) has a long history of use in herbalism for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Modern research shows garlic can thin the blood, dilate blood vessels, and modulate inflammation throughout the circulatory system, resulting in an overall reduction in blood pressure in cases of hypertension (Wang et al., 2015).

Species of hot peppers from the genus Capsicum contain the phytochemical capsaicin, which give these fruits the heat they are known for. The hotter the pepper, the higher its level of capsaicin. Capsaicin is not only strong in taste, but also in action. The cardioprotective activity of capsaicin includes multiple pathways in which capsaicin-containing peppers reduce inflammation in blood vessels (Lu et al., 2020).

Additionally, within the digestive system, hot peppers get things moving. They stimulate gastric enzyme and bile secretion release, increasing the breakdown of fats and improving nutrient absorption (Lu et al., 2020).

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When extracted in an apple cider vinegar base, the power of peppers and fire cider recipe’s other foundational ingredients make for a digestive dream team.

The fermentation process used to produce apple cider vinegar nets us a golden liquid rich in acetic acid. One of the bodily bounties reaped from this sour beverage is the slowing down of the rate of gastric emptying. This reduces the speed at which glucose is absorbed into our bloodstream, in turn plateauing blood sugar spikes, which is beneficial because excessive amounts of glucose in circulation cause inflammation (Hlebowicz et al., 2007).

Another traditional botanical ingredient in any fire cider recipe is ginger (Zingiber officinale), this herb not only supports the digestive system but also the immune system through the inhibition of infectious microbial growth and the respiratory system through breaking up and alleviating congestion (Mao et al., 2019). Yet another reason to use fire cider throughout the cold and flu season!

Crafting your own fire cider is not only a means of connecting with the power of plants and the clever creations of other people’s powerful recipes. It is an easy DIY, supportive drink to nurture your body’s well being—and fuel your own inner fire, physiologically and creatively!

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Put Your Own Spin on Fire Cider

One of the remarkable aspects of the traditional fire cider recipe is its adaptability, as the ingredients are not rigidly fixed, so you can put on your formulator’s cap and have some fun. Exercise your creativity by adding or omitting ingredients to customize this traditional elixir to your needs, preferences, and creative flair.

We’ve developed a number of fire cider recipes here at the Herbal Academy and one of our favorite seasonal spins is our Cranberries and Cardamom Fire Cider! Blending cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which are jammed full of flavonoids, and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) with its aromatic, carminative nature for a fun and flavorful spin on the original fire cider recipe that adds extra support to the circulatory and digestive systems!

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Cranberries and Cardamom Fire Cider Recipe

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Add extra support to the circulatory and digestive systems with this fun twist to the traditional fire cider recipe!


12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), chopped
3 bulbs garlic (Allium sativum), chopped
1-2 large onions (Allium cepa), chopped
1 large fresh ginger root (Zingiber officinale), grated
1-3 chili peppers (Capsicum annuum), chopped
⅛ teaspoon cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), ground or whole
32 fluid ounces apple cider vinegar
Honey to taste


  • Combine cranberries, garlic, onions, and spices into a clean, half gallon-sized glass jar.
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar over the ingredients until they’re completely covered.
  • Cover the jar with parchment paper before capping with a lid or use a plastic lid, as vinegar will corrode the metal. Seal the jar tightly and shake it well.
  • Let the mixture sit in a cool, dark place for 2-4 weeks, shaking it daily.
  • Once it’s to your taste preference, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean glass bottle.
  • Add honey to taste for sweetness.
  • Store your cranberry and cardamon fire cider in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

More Fire Cider Recipes

Herbal Academy has more fire cider recipes for you to get inspired by! You can check out this How to Make Fire Cider with Video, teaching you how to make a traditional fire cider recipe. As well as, our Herbal Support for Cold and Flu Season Ebook, in which we feature fire cider recipes. Also, if you need further support in your fire cider journey check out our Troubleshooting Fire Cider article.

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How to Use Fire Cider

Now that you’ve created your own, how can you use this fire cider blend? You may choose to take a couple tablespoons as a shot, or sip it with water. Either way will produce the physiological benefits of this blend. Our recommended dose for an adult is: Take 1 tablespoon once a day as a tonic or up to 3 tablespoons daily during an active infection. Fire cider can be taken every 3-4 hours for acute immune support.

Fire cider can be used to spice up your food and beverage experience. It’s a versatile companion to tantalize your taste buds! Using your fire cider concoction as a zesty dressing for salads, or incorporated into cooking to replace ordinary vinegar, adds a unique depth of flavorto dishes.

The combination of honey with herbally infused vinegar is known as an oxymel, of which fire cider is the most well known. Adding an oxymel, whether the pungent fire cider or another plant blend, into carbonated water for mocktails or co*cktails can be used as a shrub-style component to up the flavor profile in drinks.

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In Closing,

Have fun with your herbal creations, using this timeless tradition to empower yourself, and others, in the use of these fire cider recipe ingredients. From us at the Herbal Academy, we say cheers to your health and to the joy of creating beautiful DIY herbal concoctions!

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Gladstar, R. (2019). Fire cider!: 101 zesty recipes for health-boosting remedies made with apple cider vinegar. Storey Publishing.

Hlebowicz, J., Darwiche, G., Börgell, O., & Allmér, L. (2007). Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A pilot study. BMC Gastroenterology, 7, 46. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-230X-7-46

Lu, M., Chen, C., Lan, Y., Xiao, J., Li, R., Huang, J … Ho, C.T. (2020). Capsaicin-the major bioactive ingredient of chili peppers: Bio-efficacy and delivery systems. Food & Function, 11(4), 2848–2860. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0fo00351d

Mao, Q. Q., Xu, X. Y., Cao, S. Y., Gan, R. Y., Corke, H., Beta, T., & Li, H. B. (2019). Bioactive compounds and bioactivities of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods, 8(6), 185. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8060185

Wang, H. P., Yang, J., Qin, L. Q., & Yang, X. J. (2015). Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 17(3), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1111/jch.12473

A Must Try Fire Cider Recipe Using Unexpected Herbs (2024)


Why did fire cider go out of business? ›

Two years ago, the co-op discontinued Fire Cider made by Shire City Herbals because of the legal action they had taken against community herbalists for using a traditional remedy and term. This decision was not made lightly.

Should you drink fire cider everyday? ›

Nothing Fancy – Just Take it as a Shot!

Sometimes there's no need to mess with a good thing. Fire Cider is recommended to be taken straight up, about ½ to 1 tablespoon straight up every day to really reap the benefits. If you've got a shot glass kicking around, use the photo above to get an idea for scale.

Who should not take fire cider? ›

Risks of drinking fire cider

“Honestly, fire cider is probably going to cause more harm than good,” Czerwony warns. “If you have health issues like acid reflux or indigestion, this combination of ingredients is likely going to make it worse.”

What can I use instead of horseradish in fire cider? ›

Substitute for horseradish:

There are so many recipes for fire cider out there and they certainly don't need to have horseradish. Some horseradish-like options include wasabi or mustard seeds or nasturtium pods (just use a smaller amount than horseradish). Or, just leave out the horseradish.

What is the controversy with Shire City Herbals? ›

Much of Shire City's lifespan was consumed by a yearslong trademark dispute over the company's ownership of the term “Fire Cider.” Shire City filed for the trademark in 2012, inadvertently stoking the ire of the herbalist community, which claimed that the term was a generic descriptor for a traditional folk remedy and ...

Can you drink too much fire cider? ›

BUT, be careful. "The spices and herbs are fine, but the apple cider vinegar can cause problems if too much is consumed. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, which can be bad for your teeth, your GI tract, and your throat if you have too much of it," Dr. Ian warns.

Does fire cider have side effects? ›

Just as there is no evidence to support consuming fire cider for health benefits, there are also no reported risks associated with it. However, there are potential side effects related to its ingredients. ACV is highly acidic, so it may cause stomach irritation or worsen acid reflux.

Should fire cider be refrigerated? ›

Does Fire Cider Have to be Refrigerated? Fire cider contains vinegar and honey, two ingredients often used to preserve other foods. It's safe to keep in the pantry for several months (in a tightly sealed jar), but it will last even longer if stored in the fridge.

Is fire cider anti-inflammatory? ›

Fire Cider is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, and it's a great decongestant. Fire Cider also supports digestion and is anti-inflammatory.

Is fire cider bad for your teeth? ›

Because the drink can be made very spicy, it can cause discomfort in some people. To lessen the effects, add less spice to your fire cider recipe or dilute it with water. Another potential concern is how acidic fire cider is. Acidic drinks may damage tooth enamel and should be consumed in moderation.

How much fire cider can I take a day? ›

Fire Cider Dosage

Take a shot of fire cider or 1-2 tablespoons daily for a potent punch of immune system support and increase that dosage to 3 times a day to use it as a natural remedy to help fight off common cold symptoms.

Why did my fire cider turn green? ›

Bluish/green garlic can sometimes happen when making fire cider. The color change is caused by a reaction between enzymes and sulfur-containing amino acids in the garlic (the same enzymes are responsible for garlic's flavor) along with the acid (in this case vinegar).

Why is my fire cider bitter? ›

Any alcoholic beverage, whether made from grapes, apples, plums, dates or other fruits, rice or white sugar, once exposed to air, will naturally transform into vinegar. It is bacteria in the air that convert the alcohol in cider, wine and beer into acetic acid, giving vinegar its distinctive bitter taste.

Does homemade fire cider go bad? ›

It can be stored either at room temperature (just make sure it's in a cool, dark place away from the sun) or in the refrigerator. Fire cider should last about 6 months at room temperature and up to 1 year in the fridge. Before each use, give the fire cider a good shake.

Should my fire cider have sediment? ›

Sediment is normal in the finished fire cider. Mix a teaspoon with hot water and add lemon and honey for a daily tonic or a warming drink a few times a week.

Is fire cider still trademarked? ›

The move prompted dismay in the herbalist community, and moves to preserve what some called a generic title from a single entity's possession. After a flurry of lawsuits, a decision by Judge Mark G. Mastroianni released last month determined that “fire cider” cannot be trademarked.

Who owns fire cider? ›

After a five year battle, “fire cider” is free from trademark restrictions and is officially considered a generic term, which means no one can own it — it belongs to all of us, and all are free to make and sell fire cider as they chose.

Does fire cider really work? ›

Although there are studies that support the benefits of its ingredients, there is currently no evidence as to the benefits of fire cider itself. There are also no known side effects in pregnant people, people who are breastfeeding, or people with underlying conditions such as diabetes.

What company trademarked fire cider? ›

The question to be answered in court: Who has the right to sell fire cider — and still call it “fire cider”? The conflict began in 2012, when a Massachusetts company called Shire City Herbals trademarked the name of its signature drink, which comes in three flavors and is now carried in all 50 states. Dana St.

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