If the prospect of drinking something called "fiery cider" makes you nervous, you and I are going into this recipe on the same page.
And if you think about it as a cider, drinking it will be very painful; if you think of it instead as an infused vinegar, an herbal cold remedy, or an amped up version of the apple cider vinegar-honey tonic some folks take daily as a wake-up call, digestive aid, or immunity booster, then you're managing expectations—and have a better idea of what this stuff is like.
Fiery cider is a concoction sharp with angles: In a sip, you first get the vinegar, then a one-two punch of garlic and onion, and a longer burn from the turmeric, ginger, and jalapeño. Then slow sweetness—relief!—from the honey. To make it, layer fresh horseradish, ginger, turmeric, onion, garlic, jalapeño, lemon, and herbs in a jar, and then fill that jar with apple cider vinegar until it threatens to overflow. Then let it sit—at least two weeks and up to a month. After the first week mark, the jar's contents start to look less like distinct pieces of diced vegetables and more like a bizarre science experiment—which, in a way, it is.
For this reason, I do not suggest keeping the jar on your desk at the office, like I did. People will be intrigued (and bemused, and perhaps made afraid) by the powerful, dark magic happening in that jar. Best to stand back and let the magic happen in a cool, dark corner of your kitchen.
It may not surprise you that fiery cider has traditionally been a cold remedy, something to ward off whatever might be ailing you—but there are a lot of different ways to enjoy it. First, ask yourself if you're someone who likes to wade into water or dive in: If you're in the former camp, you could top it off with seltzer water (like a savory, spicy shrub) or add hot water for a tea. You could add a little whiskey to that tea for the weirdest, most wonderful toddy. Or use it as the base of a vinaigrette or marinade, or stir it into a Bloody Mary. If you're in the latter, like me, take it in the morning, just a few teaspoons at a time—two or three sips' worth in the bottom of a glass—followed by a chaser of orange juice or water (sort of like wheatgrass).
Or, be brave and take a shot of it. It will feel like a shot, but bring the color right into your cheeks.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh horseradish
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh turmeric (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 jalapeños or 1 habanero, seeded and diced
- 1 lemon, zested, thinly sliced, and quartered
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or dried) rosemary
- 2 to 3 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar with "the mother" (like Bragg's)—or as much as you can fit in the jar
- 1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste