What Is Fire Cider? Everything You Need To Know

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan
7 min readNov 12, 2020


master tonic

In the famous words of literary giant Stephen King — “Sooner or later, everything old is new again”. This quote applies beautifully to Fire Cider as it makes a powerful resurgence in modern health circles around the world.

Fire Cider (also called Fire Tonic or Master Tonic) is a traditional herbal remedy that is used for a range of different health benefits — primarily to fight off colds/flu and help boost your immune system.

Its modern popularity is largely attributed to well-known herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, however, mixing vinegar and honey as a herbal remedy (called an oxymel) has been used by civilizations since the time of ancient Persia and Greece.

There are a number of variations and recipes available but traditionally speaking, it blends together garlic, onion, ginger, fresh horseradish, chilli, and other herbs with apple cider vinegar and honey for a strong sweet-sour-spicy taste. Gladstar’s recipe is widely recognised as responsible for coining the term ‘Fire Cider’

Despite what it may seem at first glance, Fire Cider is widely loved for its flavour. If you’re not a fan of the taste, there are many ways to use it to and mix it to reduce the intensity.

Read on below to find out everything you need to know about it, including where to buy it as well as a great recipe if you’d like to make a batch of your own at home!

Where To Buy Fire Cider?

fire tonic recipe

Due to its recent explosion in popularity, there are now quite a few manufacturers here in Australia and worldwide that are producing Fire Ciders.

As with anything though — not all are created equal and there are vast differences in flavour, quality and authenticity.

From the many I’ve tried, my favourite brand by a country mile is Hilbilby.

Click the banner below to head over and check out their products — or hit the links below to read our full in-depth product reviews:

hilbilby fire cider

Hilbilby have an ever-expanding range of Fire Cider products and other fermented goodies and we’ve been lucky enough to sample and review their core range! Check out our reviews below:

I do also like to make my own on occasion, so if you’d like to do the same — check out my favourite Fire Cider recipe below!

How Do You Make Fire Cider?

If you’ve got the time, Fire Cider isn’t all that hard to make.

It typically uses ingredients that are budget-friendly, available most the year-round and leaves plenty of room to substitute others when seasonal produce isn’t available.

The base ingredients for a Fire Cider tonic are garlic, onion, horseradish root, ginger, and chilli (such as cayenne pepper).

  • Garlic is a powerful antiviral and antimicrobial — traditionally used to combat colds and respiratory illnesses.
  • Onions have been used as a folk remedy for years and hold lots of quercetin, a strong anti-inflammatory.
  • Fresh ginger has antiviral properties and horseradishes do wonders for clearing your sinuses.
  • Chilli supports blood circulation through your body and has traditionally been used at the onset of cold and flu symptoms.
  • Apple cider vinegar and honey work to help digest and break down the medicinal aspects of the other ingredients and soothe your body. The honey also helps improve the taste of the drink and keep the herbs from being too overpowering.

Here’s my personal favourite Fire Cider recipe — feel free to experiment with other ingredients for yourself. You’ll love the low prep time as well!

fire cider ingredients


  • 1/2 cup ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup grated horseradish root
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic chillis, chopped (cayenne or jalapeno peppers are great)
  • 1 lemon (zest and lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder (or grated turmeric root)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey

HOT TIP: If you have any root vegetables that need using they are a great add-in and don’t be afraid to throw in any other herbs and spices that take your fancy (e.g. black pepper, star anise, rose hips etc.)


Blend and mix all the ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, chilli peppers, lemon, rosemary, turmeric, and cayenne in a quart-sized mason jar then add the apple cider vinegar until everything is fully submerged.

Either put parchment between the liquid and the metal lid or use a plastic lid on your mason jar to prevent the cider from coming into contact with the metal.

Shake the jar until it’s fully mixed then let it sit in a cool place for 4–6 weeks. Agitate the jar each day and when it’s finally ready, strain the liquid from the solids and add the honey.

This recipe is delicious, easy to prepare and will be your go-to tonic for the flu season and for helping with sinus congestion.

fire cider ingredients

What is Fire Cider Used For?

Traditionally, Fire Cider is used to boost your immune system during the winter months when colds and flus run rampant. Not only does Fire Cider boost immunity, but it also improves your digestive system and is highly nutritious.

The “mother” aspect of apple cider vinegar features proteins, enzymes, and prebiotics that can help with bloating and general digestive health. Add to that the potent nutritional value, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and other health benefits from all other ingredients and you’re dealing with a powerful tonic mix!

Fire Cider can be taken in just about any way imaginable.

If you’re feeling brave — shoot it back like a shot and power through it! Alternatively, it’s great as a base for your own salad dressing (e.g. with olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and herbs), meat marinade, an add-in for a delicious tonic tea, spicing up fruit juice (orange juice is great!) or as a seltzer.

It’s also a great addition to Bloody Mary’s for an extra kick!

buy fire cider

How Often Should You Take Fire Cider?

Since Fire Cider is a herbal tonic and not a prescribed medication, there’s really no set time or limitations for when you should take it.

Many people swear by taking at least a shot (30ml) daily for ‘general maintenance’ and to increase overall immunity and wellbeing. If you start to feel a cold or flu coming on, take 2 to 3 shots daily to give your body that extra boost it may need.

fire cider shot

Is Fire Cider Antiviral?

Great news! Fire Cider is definitely antiviral!

Almost every one of the main ingredients in Fire Cider contains antiviral and antibacterial properties so it’s a great natural antiviral combination.

Prevention is always the best cure, so using it regularly will help your body fight off nasty viruses and bacteria before they take hold and knock you over!

Does Fire Cider Need to be Refrigerated?

Fire Cider does not need to be refrigerated. One of the many great things about Fire Cider is that it is fermented, and aside from the many gut health benefits this provides, it also means that it preserves very well.

This doesn’t mean that it will last outside the fridge forever, but it will be fine for several weeks as long as it isn’t in a very hot room or direct sunlight. Your Fire Cider will be perfectly happy sitting in a dark pantry or cupboard as long as you remember to seal it tightly after each use and shake it every now and then.

Refrigeration also slows down the fermentation process so if you’re looking to stop or slow down your fermentation, the fridge will help!

fire cider
Illustration by Ash Austin, excerpted from Fire Cider!


Fire Cider is a great herbal remedy for improving your overall health and helping to keep colds and flus at bay.

Hilbilby is our go-to brand and super easy to purchase online, but if you’d prefer to make your own — it’s also an easy, cheap and fun process! Start with the base ingredients and mix it up from there each time to try out different and subtle flavour combinations.

It’s super easy to mix into meals or with other drinks, but also tastes brilliant on its own.

Grab a bottle, or start fermenting and get the master tonic in your life!

buy fire tonic



Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Head honcho at The Bircher Bar. Testing, tasting, researching and writing for many years now to explore everything health, happiness and feeling good.