This Drink Is on Fire!
The drinking-vinegar trend is booming, but for Dana St. Pierre, this hot sip is far from new
Dana St. Pierre’s foray into sipping vinegars started with his Mutti (that’s “Grandma” in German)—a stalwart tonic maker and farmer in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Battling colds in the brutal New England winters, Mutti turned to home remedies from her “make it yourself” upbringing and passed them on to her kids and grandkids. “She’d feed me spoonfuls of honey steeped with garlic and onions,” remembers St. Pierre. “It wasn’t enjoyable, but it was powerful; I always wished it were both.” So he made it his mission to accomplish that feat. After years of experimenting, he finally hit on a winning recipe with citrus, onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish, habaneros, turmeric, black pepper and another of Mutti’s favorite tonic ingredients: apple-cider vinegar. In 2010, St. Pierre and his wife, Amy Huebner, made about 80 bottles for a local festival and aptly dubbed it “Fire Cider.” It sold out. Shortly after, locals showed up at their home begging for refills. Confident of their formula, they launched their Fire Cider business, which now supplies more than 4,500 stores and restaurants. “Drinking vinegar intersects the oldtimey, Mutti-inspired view of health with a newer version, that essentially states the same thing: food is medicine,” says St. Pierre. Like most home remedies, there’s not a lot of science to support the benefits, but the tonic is a punchy way to liven up any beverage. Stir a couple of tablespoons into seltzer, mulled cider, or Earl Gray or chai tea. Or go old-school and take it as a bracing straight-up shot, just like Mutti did.