Justin’s KAT - Easy Steps for a great winter time tonic

Greetings folks! It’s been a minute since I’ve personally had a chance to sit and write. It’s that time of the year where seasonal colds and flus make their rounds, especially since schools recently started back up. Then add in the stress of the holidays, a lack of adequate sunlight and you have a recipe for feeling less than stellar.

About 10 years ago or so I started making a tonic that I originally called “Super Virus Destroyer” … I later renamed it Justin’s Kick Ass Tonic.

I want to show you how I make it and in the process of doing that, save you a lot of money over store bought versions (actually, I only know of two places that sell it online and a 2oz version of this tonic is often sold for anywhere from $25-35). I’m going to show you how to make half a gallon or so for less than $20 roughly.

And because it is preserved with Apple Cider Vinegar and Alcohol, it will be good for a LONG time. I have used my tonic a couple years after the making without problem.

So why would you want to make this?

It’s great for all manner of things, from colds to flus and other conditions. It’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasite and anti-fungal. In another blog post I will cover my cold and flu protocol along with other formulas that I either make or purchase during winter. I wanted to release this post first as it will be mentioned in the next blog on this topic!

Let’s get started.

Things you will need:

1) 1 gallon jar (you can get 1/2 gallon if you want to have a smaller proportion however this stores just fine with some alcohol).
2) tincture bottles, Boston amber or blue, not clear – 2oz, 4oz, 8oz, 16oz or 32oz depends on how much you want to make and how you want to store it.
3) At least 1 pair of sterile, non-powdered plastic kitchen gloves
4) An N95 face mask (to protect your nose from chopping peppers/horseradish)
5) Funnel – with a spout that is small enough to fit into the tincture jars, I have an assortment of funnels from very small to very large. The very large funnels can be found at a beer supply store.
6) Vodka (or grain alcohol such as Everclear)
7) Food grade cheesecloth (or beer strainer from beer supply store)

You can scroll down to see the ingredient list as well as the original instructions, or just read on. This is not an exact science. It’s technically a food so proportions can vary!

___ Start here after you’ve procured items above___

First step is to procure all of the necessary food ingredients, and some of these are optional so if you don’t have them all, don’t worry. Get them or if you don’t tolerate any of the ingredients, don’t add them. The more the better though!

Organic Ingredients: Ginger, Garlic, Horseradish root, serrano peppers (I usually use Habanero, Ghost or the like but these are hard to find in winter, especially organic), White onion (must be white), unfiltered, unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), grain alcohol, and my dropper bottle of pure limonene.

Optional ingredients: Oregano leaf (I sometimes make this formula with Oregano because of it’s special properties vs invading pathogens, etc.), liquid Zinc, other immune boosting herbs.

Some of the optional ingredients require more knowledge on how much to add, but we’re going to keep this one simple because as it is right now, it’s very potent without the addition of anything else! Also adding in such things as zinc, etc tends to limit how much you can dose and therefore I like to take my zinc by itself and then have this tonic several times throughout the day.

Clean, disinfect and sanitize all working surfaces, containers and the like. This is the first step in all my tincture/tonic making processes.

Garlic prep tip:

On removing the outer layer of garlic, break the bulbs apart and put them into a larger stock pot, put the lid on, and shake, shake, shake as roughly as you can getting the garlic to hit the sides. When I do it, I try to shake it and accompany something like this. Either way, most of the outer layer will be removed or loose when you are done. Back in the day, before I learned this trick, I would remove each clove of garlic’s skin, one at a time. Hundreds of them!

Clean the peppers with water, cut off the stems, remove the outer skin off the white onion.

Ginger prep tip:

Another tip that I learned about removing ginger skin, is to do it with a spoon as pictured. I used to slice it up with a sharp knife but you end up loosing a little. This method preserves more of the ginger. Removing the skin is optional. Cleaning it is not. If you leave the skin, break the ginger apart and use a vegetable brush to clean the crevices of the root from any remaining dirt.

Put on an N95 mask if you have one. It’s optional, but grating horseradish will make you cry. Sometimes crying is good. Sometimes, it’s appropriate.

I bought this super duper deluxe food processor a couple years ago. I really need to learn how to use it more because it made this process very simple. In the past I would juice these items, I like the food processor more though. There is no heat and thus more of the good stuff is preserved. You of course don’t need anything fancy. You can simply chop up all of your ingredients as finely as possible and put them into your 1 gallon glass wide mouthed jar. The advantage of a food processor is that more of the surface area of each ingredient is exposed to the ACV and alcohol and thus you get better extraction of the nutrients.

With the food processor method, it turns into a paste. I added some ACV into the mix just to help it along with the whole chopping, cutting, mixing process.

Then after it’s in the 1 gallon glass jar, I top it off with ACV and then add roughly 5-10oz of grain alcohol. This is just to preserve it.

Finally I put a paper towel over it with a rubber band. I don’t like using metal lids because of the interaction of metal with the alcohol, ACV and other ingredients. The rubber band keeps it sealed from dust and other things. I then put this in a cabinet away from light for a couple weeks or a month, and try to remember to shake it up everyday.

When it comes time to strain this stuff it will still look like a paste because the horseradish root will have sucked up some liquid. That’s fine. I use a large strainer that you can purchase from a beer brewing supply store (and likely other such kitchen type stores). I simply wrap this over my glass bowl, and pour the contents of the 1 gallon jar into the strainer. I use a clean unused cooking glove to squeeze out the liquid. You can also use an herb press or any sort of press if you have that. It’s not necessary but you will yield more liquid return than squeezing by hand.

All the goodness! Okay so, at this point because I was alone in doing this and because half a gallon of liquid is hard to pour into a funnel and then into a 32 oz Boston Amber jar, I poured this into a sterilized 1/2 gallon glass container which made it much easier to pour. However you want to do it, the object is to get it into your Boston Amber jars for storage.

As you can see, I made 2 32oz jars of this and in this photo I am about to pour some into a 4oz boston amber jar so that I can have it with me or take it conveniently instead of pouring a shot from the big jars. It’s also at this time that I will usually add the limonene to each big jar. Roughly 2 droppers full.

The final product. My dosage is dependent on how I feel. But typically, it’s 2 half droppers (as pictured) every hour or two. Sometimes I will pour a shot, but I only recommend this if you can tolerate it. It may make you sweat.

For maintenance, just a few droppers full 3-4 times a day. This is food, so really you can have lots of it safely – use your judgment. Remember to give the bottle a good shake before using, including the big bottles, before transferring into smaller bottles. This is because of settling.

Below is my original formula and writing. As you can see, you can make this is larger or smaller dosages and you can mix up the ingredients some by adding more of one thing and less than another. That’s up to you.

Original formula: 

Based on a 1 gallon batch of tincture which makes approximately 32 4oz bottles


2 part Organic Garlic bulbs
1 part Organic Habanero (and/or African Bird Seed, Cayenne)
1 part Organic Horserdish Root
1 part Organic Ginger Root
1 part Organic White Onion (do not use Yellow or Red)
3 32ounce bottles or gallon of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (unfiltered, unbleached, unpasteurized, organic)
5% or less of overall liquid. Organic grain alcohol – 100% is best, you can also use Everclear or 50% vodka

Original directions (with the old school method of chopping up ingredients instead of juicing/food processor):

0) Get out some spare paper towels, spare tissue for your eyes/nose, put on your N95 mask if you have one and gloves – this is for handling the habanero (or whatever hot pepper you are using).
1) Clean all counter space and chopping boards with a few sprays of the vodka/water cleaner to sterilize the work area. Includes cleaning your hands.
2) Sterilize inside of jar with vodka, a couple sprays, do not rinse out with tap water, use distilled or purified water only in cleaning anything as you don’t want to contaminate your organic tincture with the chemicals in city water.
3) Pour in one of the 32 oz Apple Cider Vinegars into the jar
4) Cut up onions into smaller blocks and put into gallon jar
5) Grate horseradish and put into jar
6) De-skin ginger root, cut up and put into jar
7) Peel garlic, at least 50-75 cloves, you can crush them and drop them into the 1 gallon jar as you go.
8) Finally you should wear gloves for handling the Habanero, if you didn’t put them on earlier, put them on now. I used a dicer to dice the habanero but you can just slice each habanero a couple of times, discard the stem at the top. Don’t worry about the seeds you can throw them out or leave them in.
9) Next pour in more apple cider vinegar until you are about 90% full in your gallon jar. Then add alcohol which should compromise roughly 5-10% of the liquid by volume.
10) You will want to then close the lid securely and store in a cool, dark place. Out of the light and definitely out of the sunlight. At least once a day, but ideally 3x a day you are going to lift your gallon jar and give it a good shake similar to shaking a paint can. You must do this daily. It’s important.

When you’re ready to bottle:

11) Get out your cheesecloth and gloves, sterilize the area, sterilize your dropper bottles, caps and droppers with the vodka/water solution or boiling water.
12) You want to now pour your contents into another container through the cheesecloth. When the cheesecloth gets full, give it a good squeeze to get any extra juices out, then discard the contents.
13) Once you have just liquid you will want to pour it into the dropper bottles via funnel – this works best with two people as the liquid pouring can cause the smaller dropper bottles to fall over. Remember your funnel should fit into the top part of the dropper bottle.
14) Store these in a cool dark place or your refrigerator. Shelf life should be at least a couple of years since the alcohol preserves them. You now have enough to drink this every day. Shake bottle to stir up contents as needed.