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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 8

Posted on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016



The awesome thing about making cocktails is that you just never stop learning.  I’m constantly amazed by the things I learn from the other bartenders when we’re doing research for the new Sunday School classes.  It’s pretty cool when you read about something and think, “How have I never heard of this before?”.  One of the Metropole bartenders, Travis, absolutely blew my mind when he had me taste something called Fire Cider. A fire cider is an herbal remedy that is made with vinegar, the ingredients can vary but usually the base contains apple cider vinegar, honey, horseradish, onions, garlic and cayenne or other spicy pepper. Think of it as a savory shrub, which are drinking vinegars that we use quite frequently for cocktails in Sunday School. A spicy hot deliciously sweet vinegar tonic, Fire Cider was first concocted in the kitchen of the California School of Herbal Studies in the early 1980’s by Rosemary Gladstar, who also coined the term. This was a variation on already existing vinegar remedies. Fire Cider is so fun because it has so many layers of flavor. It has all the zestiness and zing of a typical shrub syrup but has the spice and savoriness of a bloody mary mix. This is a wonderful tonic and is excellent for boosting your immunity and digestion. Aside from all the health benefits of Fire Cider it just happens to make an excellent cocktail mixer, because it’s all about balance people.  It may sound odd but I promise it’s quite delicious. Don’t just save being adventurous and trying new things for your New Year’s resolution. End the year strong by trying something unique and I think you’ll find you’ll be rewarded.


Glassware: snifter

Garnish: orange peel 

¾ oz bourbon

¾ oz Cabernet Sauvignon

¾ oz Cardamaro (an Italian Amaro made with blessed thistle and cardoons, definitely a great staple to have in your home bar. I use it as a substitute for sweet vermouth in my Manhattans, add it to hot tea or great to just enjoy neat in a snifter)

¾ oz Fire Cider

Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and shake well with ice. Strain into a snifter and garnish.


3 cups Apple cider vinegar

3 cups water

1/2 cup fresh horseradish chopped

1 cup ginger peeled and chopped

5 cinnamon sticks

2 tbsp cayenne

2 tbsp turmeric

3 tbs course ground black pepper

3 oranges sliced

2 lemons sliced

1 grapefruit sliced

1 cup maple syrup

60 oz apple juice

Add all ingredients to a container with an airtight lid. Shake well, store in a cool dark place for about 4 days to up to a month, and shake the jar daily. Once it reaches the potency you prefer, strain the liquid, squeezing the solids with a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer.

Your Traditional Fire Cider does not need to be refrigerated. Store in a cool dark place for as long as a year. Traditionally it would be taken 1 tablespoon at a time, a couple of times a day to maintain health.


Since there are four ingredients in this cocktail I would pre-batch this for a party. Turn the oz into cups and pour into large container, Add ice and whisk. Pour into glass bottles and keep on ice and guests can serve themselves.


The great thing about Fire Cider is that you can easily take away or add flavors that you prefer. Add herbs or different spices. It pairs beautifully with soda water and gin if you want a more simplified cocktail. It’s also a great addition to a hot toddy.  I wouldn’t recommend heating it up just add it to hot water or tea. And a little goes a very long way. This also makes for an excellent tonic to imbibe during your January cleanse or detox.

Cheers to always learning about new things!

Your neighborhood bar geek,

Catherine Manabat