There are a good two dozen weekend getaways just hours from L.A. But in the last few years, there’s just nothing quite like what’s happening in hot and quirky Palm Springs. The latest desert hotspot on our radar is the Avalon Palm Springs. The Avalon fills a sweet spot between the art deco sophistication of the Parker Hotel and the nouveau kitch of The Ace, an ideal desert experience that’s both a little Old Hollywood and a lot of modern L.A.

We spent a recent weekend inside one of their bungalows for a very Chalkboardy getaway, including yoga, herbalism classes, treatments at the new Estrella Spa, and dinners at the modern, sustainable Chi Chi restaurant. By the middle of next year, the Avalon will also be completely updated with design elements from one of our favorite L.A. designers, Kelly Wearstler.

To give you a taste of our desert getaway, we asked the Avalon’s farm-to-spa guru, herbalist Jason Harler (who also built the programs at The Standard Miami and the Ace Palm Springs) to help us make this killer wellness tonic, Fire Cider – a genius blend of apple cider vinegar and other natural ingredients that will help keep your immunity up through the coming season! Here’s Jason…

Many people the world over are familiar with a version of the traditional folk remedy that boosts the immune system, stimulates digestion and warms the body on cold days. We’ve shifted it up a notch by tincturing it with both vodka and apple cider vinegar so that it’s stronger (which means more power in a smaller dose) and will last up to a couple years once it’s made. You can carry it around in a dropper bottle and use it as a tonic immune and general health booster when traveling and living your busy life.

This is a folk preparation and the ingredients can change from year to year depending on your region and the time of year. Try to use fresh organic ingredients and feel free to modify this by using herbs that you know will address certain things that are happening within your own system.The standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish and cayenne, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be thrown in for added kick or for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties (like thyme and oregano).

Fire cider is traditionally made without the vodka, but we like like it with the extra kick, as well as the extra power of the extracts that vodka brings out of the plants along with apple cider vinegar. It can be taken straight by drops or a spoonful if you feel a cold coming on or added to organic veggie juice (think health-boosting Bloody Mary!).

Immunity-Boosting Fire Cider
Yields 1 pint


1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
1 medium organic onion, chopped
10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 Tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp organic turmeric powder
1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder
organic apple cider vinegar
raw local honey to taste


Medium to fine chop on all ingredients. Combine together in a 1-quart Mason jar – add no less that 30% vodka and no more than 70% – filling the rest with apple cider vinegar.

Let it sit in a cool dark place like a cabinet for at least 1 month. For more celestial energy in the mix, start this on the new moon and end on the new moon or the next full moon (6 week tincture rather than 4 weeks). A longer tincture time will not hurt it at all.

Periodically shake well and return it to rest.

Once it’s ready, just strain and filter all plant matter. The liquid that remains is your new medicine. Enjoy!

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