I'll admit that I bought Fire Cider because its package was so cool; it really stood out at the health food store and made me want to reach out for it. Once I read the label, I thought it sounded possibly yum, possibly gross, but I was willing to give it a try. I was already washing my hands and downing vitamin C in hopes of avoiding the flu that's making the rounds this year (I got it last year), and I thought it couldn't hurt to try this old-school preventative. 

But what hooked me was that Fire Cider is really delicious. One shot straight from the bottle and I was hooked. Later I mixed it with filtered water, added it to olive oil for salad dressing, and even mixed it with vodka. What kind of tonic mixes with alcohol and prevents sickness? One made from the traditional New England recipe (it's made in Pittsfield, Mass., by family run Shire City Herbals) that's a perfect combination of organic, raw apple cider and "local, raw, wildflower honey from Merrimack Valley Apiary in Billerica MA directly from the bee keeper," as well as: Organic Oranges, Organic Lemons, Organic Onions, Organic Ginger, Organic Horseradish, Organic Garlic, Organic Turmeric, and Organic Habanero Pepper. Yes, it's all raw, and some spicy-tangy awesomeness.

Not only are the tonic's ingredients pure and organic, but the bottles (and caps) are recyclable, and the company uses recyclable (and sometimes recycled!) cardboard boxes and wrapping paper as well as packing peanuts made from food starch. Oh, and that cool package design? That's courtesy of a comic artist, who also happens to be the brother of one of the cider company's co-founders.  

So far, so good, I've managed to avoid the flu, even though I've been traveling on the subway and going to they gym. And I've become slightly obsessed with the stuff — my first bottle's almost gone, and since I've been perusing the Fire Cider blog (which features lots of interesting recipes), I guess it's time to pick up another bottle. Here's what the stuff is good for, according to the Fire Cider site

Cold and flu fighter: Take a swig, shot (1/2 ounce) or a dose of Fire Cider in a glass of orange juice every 2 hours when a cold or flu is coming on. Keep it up until you feel better.

Sore throat soother: Take as is straight from the bottle or add more raw honey from your area; use a one to one ratio of Fire Cider to honey and take by the spoonful as a throat-soothing immune booster.

For seasonal allergies: Take a dose of Fire Cider as needed for sinus relief and lung congestion. Daily Fire Cider, in combination with eliminating allergens like dairy and wheat from your diet, plus a couple granules a day of local bee pollen can help decrease your allergies over time.

Sinus relief: Mix half just boiling water with half Fire Cider. Hold up to your stuffy nose and breathe deeply for immediate relief, just make sure to keep your eyes closed! When the mixture cools to a drinkable temperature, add fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey and drink up!

Heartburn remedy: When heartburn is caused by low stomach acid, adding more beneficial acid, like Fire Cider, will help you digest properly and avoid heartburn.

Digestive aid: After a meal a swig of Fire Cider will help you digest faster, it’s a living pro-biotic food after all! Repeat if necessary.

Hangover cure: The head-clearing, eye-opening, immune-boosting properties of a big slug of Fire Cider is a great way to shake off last night’s indulgence! Now go have a big greasy meal, followed by more Fire Cider and a much deserved nap.

Alkaline: A dose of Fire Cider a day is a great way to keep your body alkaline.

Staying awake without coffee: When Dana had a job that involved long days of driving, he would pack a bottle of Fire Cider and take shots to stay alert on the road. Bonus: No caffeine jitters!

Vocal health: Singers have long relied on apple cider vinegar to keep their vocal cords healthy and happy.

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Fire Cider medicinal tonic keeps colds away (deliciously)
New England remedy Fire Cider is made from simple ingredients and packs a punch of flavor and health benefits.