This stuff is crazy, intriguing, bizarre...and delicious. When you read the ingredients you might think it will taste like a dragon breathing fire down your throat. And depending on how much honey you use it could, but in the best possible way.
I started making it last year and used this recipe (also below) from Mountain Rose Herbs which includes ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, cayenne and jalapenos. There's some other stuff too but the idea is to infuse all of these intense ingredients in cider vinegar for a month, then strain it and add some honey. It's surprisingly good. You know what you're getting into the moment you take the top off of the bottle. The aroma is unmistakable and will take over a chunk of nearby air. It's sharp and belly-warming but also contains an unexpected smoothness which continues to develop over time.
Fire Cider has folk medicine roots and is generally taken to ward off illness. If there's something sharp, fire-y, eye-watering or sinus clearing it's probably in here. It's now available commercially but it's also pretty easy to make at home. I tend to drink it as a shot about the same time I would normally reach for a packet of vitamin drink mix, that is, when someone around me starts sneezing and coughing. Drinks-wise though I've only tried it in hot toddys*. Black Strap has been the favorite so far - exceedingly flavorful, dark and interesting. Bourbon works well too.
You know it's a crazy drink when the cider vinegar base comes through almost as an afterthought. I usually make a double or triple batch and run as much as possible through a food processor. The quantities listed in the recipe below are a good starting point but this seems like the sort of thing you can add or subtract to as you see fit. This year I added some Habaneros.
I doubled** the quantities below then split the ingredients between three quart jars before filling with Bragg's Cider Vinegar. The bottle on the right is what I have left from last year.
Fire Cider - via Mountain Rose Herbs
1/2 cup grated Ginger
1/2 cup grated Horseradish
1 medium Onion, chopped
10 cloves Garlic, crushed or chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers, chopped
1 Lemon, zest and juice
Rosemary - several sprigs fresh or 2 Tbsp dried
1 Tbsp Turmeric powder
Apple Cider Vinegar
Put dry ingredients plus lemon juice in a quart jar and fill with cider vinegar. Put some parchment paper on the top, screw on the lid and store in a cool dark place for a month. Shake daily.
After a month strain the contents and get as much juice out of the solids as possible. Using cheesecloth and wringing it like a rag helps. Add honey to taste. The directions say to start with a 1/4 cup but I think I'm going to try cutting that in half this year. Adding more is easy if necessary. And a little hot water, especially if using raw honey, will make stirring it in a little easier.
* for hot toddys with this stuff I usually mix 1 1/2 oz of base spirit with 3/4 oz Fire Cider. Put that in a large tin and some boiling water in a small tin. Rest the large tin inside the small to heat everything up a bit. When the booze mixture is warm add it to a mug along with a few ounces of boiling water and a couple teaspoons of demerara sugar.
** doubled should read more like 'doubled-ish'. After each item went through the food processor I opted to use it all if it was relatively close to the amount specified.