It was a gift from one of the massage therapists who helps keep my lower back from becoming more of a problem than it already is. I hadn’t seen her over the holidays, so she presented me with a late Yule present in early January: a bottle of homemade fire cider.
The label revealed an ingredients list of apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, peppers, turmeric, ginger, lemon, elderberries and honey, and she told me she steeped each batch for weeks. The idea is to take a tablespoon anytime you’re feeling under the weather.
I told her I was looking forward to trying it. She cautioned that it tasted terrible, which made sense considering what’s in it.
So, I woke up coughing one day. I had coughed on and off through the night and I had the feeling something was settling in to wreak havoc on my week. It seemed like the perfect time to try the fire cider, so I got up and measured out a tablespoon, then downed it like a shot.
It tasted fucking awful. I mean, a blast of vinegary garlic and onion just assaulted my tastebuds and then hung around even after I tried to rinse it away with some water.
But damned if it didn’t work. My cough basically said, “No thank you,” and exited, pursued by a fire-cider-flavored bear.
I was extremely impressed considering that my body likes to seize every respiratory illness that comes along and hang onto it as long as possible. I can’t remember any other occasion when I’ve been able to stop an impending sickness in its tracks like that.
The next time I felt a little under the weather, I went straight for the fire cider and once again traded one minute of disgust for a renewed grasp on health.
I don’t know the science that would back up the effect that that I’ve observed and maybe it’s just the placebo effect, but I’m not quibbling. The internet is filled with different recipes, so maybe I’ll make some of my own if I ever get through the first bottle. But I hope it lasts a long time because...blech.