Fermenting, our hearts content: fire tonic, ginger beer and other frothy goodness

It’s a wet windy morning today. Difficult day to work outside but the perfect opportunity to catch up on some blogging. In light of the weather I thought I’d blog on some of the fermenting and other things bubbly we’ve been up.

Fire Tonic (fire cider, master tonic)

A hot ginger chilly apply drink. Perfect little shots to warm you up. Fire tonic the appropriate name. This has been part of our morning routine the last few weeks. We’re hoping it’ll fight off any cold for the coming months. I’ll let you know in Spring how affective that is.

In terms of fermenting it’s surprisingly easy to make. The ingredients being some apple cider vinegar with active mother, some onion, some ginger, some garlic and some chilli. All organic to ensure the are active. We made our using adopting recipe from milkwood permaculture.



500ml bottle of Willie Smith Organic Apple Cider

3-4 red chillies

1 big onion

3-4 gloves of garlic

5cm piece of organic ginger


  1. Cut all your fresh ingredients into largish chunks and add to a jar.
  2. Add cider vinegar to jar of chilli, ginger, onion and garlic. Put on lid and leave for 2-3 weeks shaking the jar or so. Taste the connocotion after 2 weeks to see if it has the heat you need.
  3. When deemed ready pour the jar content through a strainer and store in a jar. We used an old bourbon jar we’d got from a former neighbour for ours. You can also then use the discard ginger, chilli, garlic and onion to make a dahl.
  4. Drink each day. We take probably a tablespoon in the morning. the first few were hot but it’s easier now to swallow. Still hot but a good kickstarter.

Master tonics brewing. The back bottle is the first batch, in front our next batch brewing away.


Our winter elixir in all it’s beauty.


Another thing we’ve been busy brewing is some ginger beer. This is based on a recipe from Sandor Katz The Art of Fermentation. In terms of homemade ginger beer it’s one of the more easier recipes I’ve made and worked surprisingly well. The process is a little long but worth the effort as the ginger beer has a warm ginger heat to it. It’s all based on a ginger bug. (Sorry for the lack of photos of the ginger beer I’m not the best documenter.)

Ginger Bug

To make this bug it takes around a week. You need some good organic ginger (we got ours on discount from Woolies), some caster sugar, a small jar and water. Begin by grating some ginger into the jar. Add a teaspoon of sugar and some water. For the next week grate some more ginger and add some more sugar. By the end of the week you should have abour 200-250 ml of gingery sugary water. This is your bug.

Ginger Beer (4 litres)

To make you ginger beer follow the recipe below.

  1. Cut up a 5-15 cm ginger root into small slithers*. Add to pot.
  2. Add 2 litres of water to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiled gently simmer for 15 minutes. Taste as you go til the water becomes gingery enough.
  3. Strain liquid into large open fermentation vessel (jar, crock). At tis point you can discard the ginger piece. Or leave them which is what we did discarding them when we put them in the bottles.
  4. Add sugar to this- 2 cups per 4 litres.
  5. Once sugar is dissolved in hot ginger water add the remaining 2 litres of water.
  6. When the ginger concotion is cool enough add you ginger bug (lukewarm is best any hotter will kill the natural yeasts)
  7. Stir and cover with cloth to protect from flies. Leave in vessel for a few days stirring everyday.
  8. Once the ginger beer is bubbly enough strain the liquid and bottle. As the ginger beer will still expand in the bottles it’s best to use plastic bottle to save mess.

Ginger beer raging. Beside are some of the veggie ferment Deirdre’s been making.


Recently Deirdre had the opportunity to attend a fermentation workshop in woodbridge. She came home with some kefir, some kombucha and a jar of fermented veggies. Since then she’s made some fermented carrot, garlic, celery and beetroot. The first batch of veggies has been eaten and we are halfway through the last jar of beetroot. They are a nice condiment to any meal and work particularly in salads and on roasted potatoes. I’ll post a more detail recipe in a later blog but there’s plenty online at nourished kitchen to get started.


Some of ferments on our bench.




One thought on “Fermenting, our hearts content: fire tonic, ginger beer and other frothy goodness

  1. Excellent shares and very pertinent to most Tasmanian’s falling prey to the dreaded lurgy. Steve has had it for almost a month now and I think I might be tinkering with it so I might have to start brewing a batch of your fire tonic STAT. Cheers for the shares 🙂


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