Kombucha Vinegar Flu Tonic
The best thing we can do for our health is to strengthen our immune system. Our bodies, when well cared for, can be much better at fighting off illnesses and budding diseases than pharmaceuticals. We often hand off responsibility for our health to our physicians, but being able to avoid those visits to the doctor in the first place is much better medicine. This Flu Tonic Recipe uses kombcha vinegar as it’s foundation. Being an avid kombucha maker (see recipe here), I often end up with more than I can drink, so every once in awhile I make some kombucha vinegar. You can also make this Flu Tonic/Fire Cider Recipe with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) if you prefer.
In case you haven’t accidentally discovered how to make kombucha vinegar on your own, I’ll share a quick parallel. A teacher of mine once gave some simplified instructions on how to do a certain meditation which he referred to as the “non-doing meditation.” The point of the meditation is to simply pay attention to your experience, whatever it may be, and not monkey with it in any way. His guidance couldn’t have been more simple: “Put your butt on a cushion. End of instruction.” Making kombucha vinegar is a little like that. If you want to quote me, it’s: “Put kombucha in bottle. Wait until it turns to vinegar. End of instruction.” It may take 2-3 months for your kombucha to turn to vinegar, but once it makes your mouth pucker, you’ve got vinegar! If you want to measure the pH of your kombucha vinegar, you can you use this pH tester which I have or these disposable test strips work well. After sitting a long time, my kombucha vinegar registered a pH of 2.31 which was my new record for the lowest reading of anything I’ve ever made. I have an article on pH and kombucha if interested in reading further.
Once you have this vinegar, what to do with it? Aside from using it for dressings and sauces, this particular recipe is a great way to use up a bunch of vinegar and make something healthy for your immune system in the process. Add a little honey to make it more palatable for children, or turn it into a fun contest of who can make the most twisted face after they drink it!
This recipe is for a small amount, so you can test if you like it, but there’s no reason you couldn’t make much larger batches.
Flu Tonic made from Kombucha Vinegar and other health-inspiring ingredients. Commonly referred to as Fire Cider. Can be made from Apple Cider Vinegar as well.
- 2 1/2 cups kombucha vinegar
- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated ginger
- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated fresh horseradish (warning – can be much stronger than onions when grating)
- 1 medium onion (7 oz.) diced
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) grated daikon radish
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp turmeric powder or 2 oz grated turmeric
- In a 1 quart jar, place all ingredients including kombucha vinegar
- Put lid on. Given the acidic nature of this ferment, it's best to use an airlock such as these Pickle Pipes from MasonTops. I really like using them. I can also highly recommed their Mason Tops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit. If using a jar which has exposed metal in the lid, it can be helpful to place some wax paper over the jar opening and screw the lid down over that. This can help to prevent the metal from corroding.
- Place in the refrigerator and wait about a month. If you use an airlock, you don't need to refrigeratoe this. Steep it for a longer period (I've steeped mine up to a year) and it will simply continue to get stronger.
- Strain out the solids and pour into bottles. These flip top bottles are nice.
- Drink a Tbsp or more each morning
Commonly claimed benefits of the various ingredients in this tonic are:
- kombucha vinegar – probiotic, blood sugar balance
- ginger – reduce nausea and ease digestion, fights colds and chills
- horseradish – antioxidant, sinus clearing, cough, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
- onion – colds, bronchitis, antihistamine, high in vitamin C
- daikon radish – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, respiratory aid, liver support
- garlic – immunity, cardiovascular health, antibacterial
- jalapeno pepper – sinusitis, combat infection, breaks up mucous
- cayenne pepper – circulation, mucous breakup and fever relief
- turmeric – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, liver support
If you are the kind of person who is a little more interested in the science of fermentation, the pH of this Kombucha Vinegar and thus this flu tonic is approximately 3.15. If you want to measure your pH in your ferments accurately, I use and recommend this accurate and easy to use pH tester.
Fire Cider Recipe
Some folks call this type of fermented beverage a Fire Tonic or Fire Cider and rightly so as It’s very warming on a cool winter’s day. So no matter the name you may call it, I encourage you to add whatever herb/root ingredient that your body is asking for. Ginseng and Echinacea would be nice additions to this recipe. Let me know if you have other suggestions.
And finally… “Drink a shot every morning once the chill of fall/winter sets in. End of Instruction.”
Loving all your creations! Especially anxious to start the Salsa one! All great stuff here and all your photos are great and directions simple to follow. Keep up the good work! SANDY
I make something like this called Master Tonic.. it uses all fresh raw ingredients.. onion, jalepeno, ginger, onion & horseradish with raw apple cider vinegar… BUT I never thought of using KT.. i am making some this weekend w/ reg apple cider vinegar I will make a quart using my tart sour KT.. great idea & way cheaper than raw vinegar.
This is awesome. So much cheapest than 4 pints of Apple Cider with mother.
I make a gallon at a time. I use:
1 Lg Horseradish Root
1 Lg Ginger Root
3 Lg Heads Garlic
3 Lg White Onions
5 Cayenne Peppers
5 Serranos Peppers
5 Habenero Peppers
5 Jalapeño Peppers
4 Pints Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
Make sure you wear rubber gloves.
This tonic is suppose to be made on a New moon.
I used my Vita-Mix to blend it.
When finished, I put it in a gallon jar. Then fill it to the top with the apple cider vinegar. Put lid on. It takes about 2 weeks to cure. I like to cure mine about 3 months. Keep in a cool dark place. Shake it 2 or 3 times a day. You can keep it on the counter with a towel over it to keep the light out, so you will remember to shake it. Doesn’t have to be refrigerated .
After 2 weeks you can take a piece of cheese cloth and strain it. I keep the pieces for seasoning. I also dehydrate
Thanks Susan for the tips. I’ll start my next winter batch on the next new moon. May try the vitamix trick too. In good tonic…. ted
So you can sub KV for ACV? Cure 3 months but strain all contents in 2 weeks? Just verifying I structions cause I have 2 gallons of KV.
I’d suggest leaving the ingredients in as long as you like. No need to strain them until you are ready to use it or bottle it up for more permanent storage.
Personally I use KV (Kombucha Vinegar) instead of ACV (Apple CIder Vinegar). There may be different health benefits of using one over the other, but both work fine and I think you’ll enjoy using and consuming the KV.
I made a big batch of tonic put it in a dark place and just forgot about if for several months. I just strained it tonight and it smelled good and had no mold. Do you think it’s still good to drink? I’m a little worried.
Always use your own judgment if something seems like it’s not good, but I’ve got some I’ve made a few years ago and it’s still fine. The pH should be low enough to keep any unhealthy bacteria at bay.
How long does it take for kombucha to turn to vinegar, and how can you tell if it’s turned to vinegar, i have some that i’ve kinda neglected for awhile, and If it has I’ll use it and save the acv.
Lori, as to making kombucha vinegar, I never timed it, but I’d say a couple of months or longer. The cooler the environment he longer it will take. Just taste it. If your face puckers up, you’ve made vinegar!
don’t think it was that long and it’s been cold on and off will try it, if it’s not vinegar will probably drain most off and let it get that way, as I’m sure the alcohol content is higher than I want in a drink. and start from scratch.
I’m loving this site! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! And Thank You for this recipe. If you are on a budget, like me (!) cutting costs where we can is awesome. Fortunately, I can grow ginger and tumeric and I have hawaiian chili peppers and habenero’s. Having to import Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with Mother to this island of Kaua’i…it get’s expensive for just one bottle…making Kombucha Vinegar, however, is easy peasy!!
I just love the fact that you can in a sense, make a mistake, like not get to bottling your brew in time…and yet you end up with another useful product. Frankly, I love the taste of Kombucha Vinegar, it seems less “harsh” than ACV.
You asked for any suggestions on additions…NONI is renowned for it’s healing properties, however…it can be a hard taste to get used to! I am thinking of adding noni to my next batch. I made a batch of this, following the recipe to the T except I used hawaiian chili pepper and also using the ACV cuz I am still waiting for my gallon jug of booch to turn into vinegar. And it tastes great. I’ve shared with others already.
I am going to sweeten with fresh, locally harvested honey, just to help make it easier for the kids to swallow! I LOVE it and look forward to it, but you know how kids can get. I’ve added it to fresh squeezed oranges and now that I just got handed a jar of fresh honey…
Hi Joanne, thanks for sharing your wonderful tips. Funny, I’m actually in Kauai right now on holiday but flying out today! Happy fermenting!
I too have made something like this, annually. It’s kind of addictive just left as a slurry (and never goes bad. As one Dr. Richard Schulz would say, “It’s already bad!”) Eaten like a condiment. And strained, in a shot glass it is truly medicinal; just thinking about drinking it strengthens the sick! I used to really crave it, some years back. I’ve even made it double-strength, when I didn’t like the taste one year of the garlic. Using the strained ‘liquor’ as the vinegar base for a new batch. Kombucha vinegar IS so much less expensive than buying ACV. It’s gotta be good!
You are right; it never goes bad. I make it several times a year and I never refrigerate it. But I finish the quart within 3 months.
the daikon and the turmeric would add some nice liver support…
You site is fabulous. I do not see any recent posts this year 2017.
I have made a similar “flu tonic” last year It was called a natural antibiotic and suggested that we use ACV… It also said to ferment for two weeks and then remove the items and use within 2 to 3 weeks at a teaspoon full a day… and keep in fridge and then discard after two to three weeks what you have not used. I thought that was rather wasteful as there were only three of us using it… I see from your site that it’s called a flu tonic so My question today is once you let it ferment for about a month can you just drain off a bit so you have a tonic for a couple weeks and just leave the rest in the jar to continue fermentation and then take more off as you need it. Or just bottle those whole thing and keep in a cool place The other question is about the Vitamix I have one of those so how well do you grind it up. Partially I would think. Lots of chopping by hand as I did the first time. Also I found your site as I have been making Kambucha for a few years and now I just let it go too long and have KV. So was looking for ideas in how to use up other than for salad dressings. Love you suggestions for testing the PH as well. I have been using the strips for years for testing my urine.
Thanks so much Sheryl. I appreciate your kind words. I can’t see any reason why one would throw away anything a flu tonic / fire cider0-infused in ACV or Kombucha Vinegar. In my opinion, it should likely be fine for decades! As to chopping the ingredients up in the blender, you are right, no need to fully puree. The intent is simply to better release all the flavors/nutrients. You can also make without blending at all, just layer your chopped goodies in a container and pour the vinegar over it and let it steep. Good luck and thanks for writing.
Does it taste really bad? I would hate to put all of that effort forth & then have to toss it…
Taste is very personal. I actually enjoy it, but it’s rather intense. Pure vinegar infused with lots of spicy things. Your call or course. You can make a smaller batch of course if you like.
I enjoy mixing it with cinnamon apple tea, honey, whisky or fire ball and tonic. It is so so delicious.
Thanks Cynthia, great ideas!