Canning & Preserving, Herbal Recipes, Herbalism, Recipe Box, Spices and Condiment Recipes

Make your own Fire Vinegar (aka Fire Cider)

Amber Shehan November 20, 2013

Fire Cider (or fire vinegar) is an herb and veggie-infused vinegar. The spicy tonic is rich in vitamins and nutrients, and really easy to make!

Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 8.31.54 AM

The weather in western North Carolina can be a tease. We had our first freeze in early October and since then the temperatures have been leaping up into the ’70s and then back down into the ’20s at night. The plants, trees, and birds are so confused, and so are my sinuses! Even people who are quite healthy and active can still get sick as their bodies try to adapt to extreme weather patterns, so it is a good idea to boost your immune system with nourishing tonics.

Make it yours with reCap mason jar lids.

We use daily doses of echinacea tincture, vitamin D3, multi-vitamins, and lots of water to keep healthy in the fall, but we are also big fans of the “heat cure” as an ally for when you start to feel a bit icky.  When I say “heat cure,” I mean drinking hot beverages with warming herbs that get you all flushed and warm. Cinnamon, ginger, pepper, garlic…all of these common kitchen herbs are great at boosting body temperature. Wrap up tight in a few warm blankets, rest on a heating pad, and sweat it out!

When your throat is itchy and your nose feels sensitive, take a daily shot of Fire Vinegar. Depending on how you make it, it can end up being really spicy. If you are worried about the heat or the vinegar being harsh on your belly, add some orange juice or other sweet juice to the fire vinegar. The sugars make a big difference!

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

A basic recipe for Fire Vinegar:

All you need to start is a jar. I started out with a wide-mouth Ball jar, but you can make as little or as big a batch as you prefer. Vinegar will corrode metal jar lids over time, so put a bit of plastic wrap between the jar and the lid.


Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):  Use raw, live apple cider vinegar, the kind that is cloudy and unpasteurized. Not only is it delicious, but the probiotics in the live vinegar are well worth any extra cost.

Peppers: Fresh or dried peppers of any variety you prefer – I use whole, dried cayenne peppers (seeds and all). Leftover pepper pieces and seeds from prepping dinner get tossed in the jar, too.

Garlic: Oh, I could write a long love note to garlic...rhapsodize about the beneficial sulfur compounds, praise the potent antibiotic and antiviral properties, remark on how beneficial for bronchitis and other lung issues it can be.  The “stinking rose” also helps with heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and also blesses us with its anti-inflammatory properties. It is worth it to note that vinegar (or lemon juice and other acids) can lower some of the garlic’s best properties, so chop your garlic and let it sit for at least five minutes before adding it to the vinegar. This allows the enzymes in the garlic to convert to beneficial allicin.

Ginger: I have already written about wonderful ginger, an herb that I love dearly. The heat from ginger feels like sunshine peeking through the clouds!  It adds a different bite to this vinegar blend, and it eases the tummy, boosts circulation, and opens the sinuses.

Onion: Whenever I chop onions for dinner, I save a spoonful to add to the jar of fire cider. Onions are in the same family as garlic and contain many of the same properties (but not quite as strong). I’ve been taught that onions are antiviral and help boost the immune system.

Turmeric: Fresh turmeric root is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects. It adds a bright yellow color to your cider, too! To make the turmeric more effective, add black pepper to your cider. They are a dream team.

Those are the basics, friends. From there, add other herbs or veggies that you think will help!

There are a few other ingredients that I’ve seen people use in their vinegar, and I have added some to my jar as I come across them! I’ve also been known to use:

  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Burdock root
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Astragalus root
  • Fresh thyme
  • Dried & fresh nettles
  • Usnea
  • Calendula flowers
  • Carrots
  • Lemon peel
  • Horseradish
  • Wasabi

You’ll note that I did not provide exact quantities. That is because I make mine completely by instinct and personal preference.  I have a glass jar in my fridge that holds ACV and all the chunky veggies, herbs, and peppers. I strain fire vinegar from that jar into smaller bottles for serving or sharing. Otherwise, it just lives in the back of the fridge and marinates.

My jar of fire cider is heavy and half full of root and veggie chunks, some of which have dissolved into the liquid over time. I don’t pull anything out…just add more to it.

When I want some (or feel a cold coming on), I pour a tiny bit of fire cider in a shot glass, no more than a third full. I fill up the shot glass the rest of the way with orange juice and drink it down. The burn is strong but fades quickly.

Oh, and a tip for you foodies – Fire vinegar tastes GREAT on cooked greens or as the vinegar in a North Carolina-style BBQ sauce.

More recipes and resources:

Herbal Academy: How to Make Homemade Fire Cider

Free Fire Cider: Against the Trademarking of Traditional Medicine

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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. […] It has been a doozy of a winter – not just colder than usual, but wet, and with fluctuating temperatures.  This sort of combination has kept even some of my healthiest friends prone to repeated illnesses.  My dearest beloved has been sick with lung and sinus issues twice now despite our daily vitamins, herbal tea, and fire cider shots. […]

  2. […] it for washing my hair, for foot soaks to help combat fungal overgrowth, and of course, my beloved fire cider for those cold winter […]

  3. Kathie on April 21, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I don’t usually put hot peppers in my fire cider but I do use lots of horseradish and onion. I put a little citrus zest in there too (lemon or orange usually).

    • Amber Shehan on August 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Yum. I need to get some fresh horseradish to add! I love that stuff! Citrus is a good idea, too!

  4. Kirsten on April 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I do add a few more ingredients to my Fire Cider: onion, horse radish, turmeric and then after I strain it I add honey and lemon! Love it! We all take a nip if we feel cruddy!

    Have a great day!

    • Amber Shehan on August 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Oh, fresh turmeric sounds nice…and I haven’t tried sweetening mine with honey. Hmm…time to play around with my recipes!

  5. […] Fire Vinegar. I didn’t do this last week… though maybe I should have! But we–and by “we” I mean my husband who is totally into this sort of thing–will be making this toward fall! […]

  6. SivasLi on October 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    should last a few months at least but a prinfessoofal would tell you not to use it after a few weeks at best. Mold can grow around the lip of the container even if lots of vinegar. If you are going to properly bottle it then it could last much longer and won’t require refrigeration. Google canning (jars) its actually easy but be sure to follow directions.

    • Amber Shehan on October 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Thank you for your concern; however, I’ve been using mine for three years running with no mold. Perhaps due to how often I use it and add fresh garlic and onion and vinegar to it? I’ll be careful and not take it if it gets moldy.

  7. An American Homestead on February 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Yup, I was just given some of this stuff last night from our neighbor. Amazing! Very strong but good. I will share this post on my twitter and facebook account.

    • Amber Shehan on February 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I love it…and I love your Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar post. I’m saving up my cores and peels in a freezer jar to make my own. 😀

  8. […] support myself nutritionally, I ate a whole mess of garlic and took shots of my fire vinegar, as those are immune system boosters. Knowing that the spiral-shaped Lyme spirochetes were […]

  9. Aaaand we're back! ~ Pixie's Pocket on May 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    […] low grade stubborn fever, and a wet, insistent cough persisted despite repeated shots of my trusty fire cider, echinacea and elderberry tinctures, mullein and horehound tea with honey (and whisky for […]

  10. […] can make another version of cold fighting Fire Box Vinegar with this recipe from Pixie’s […]

  11. […] a cold coming on? Try some Fire Cider Vinegar from Pixies […]

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