A funky and fruity fermented pineapple drink that you can easily make at home. Delicious as a substitute for a sour beer in the summertime.
Tepache is really fun to make.
The simple ingredients morph into a mildly sweet and funky fermented pineapple beer with a light carbonation and a background of spice. You get plenty of pineapple flavor with the earthy funk of fermentation that you could compare to a sour style beer if you've ever tasted one.
Great for sipping chilled on a hot summer day!
Water, sugar, pineapple, and spices are all that you need for making your own Tepcache.
Usually there is a stick of cinnamon thrown in for some additional spice, but also try adding cloves, anise, chilies or some ginger. I like the extra spice that ginger gives and it will also help out with the fermentation process, which leads to the question...
Is tepache alcoholic?
Barely. Whenever there is fermentation alcohol is created but in Tepache there is almost none. It is comparable to the amount in other fermented beverages such as Kombucha.
Choosing your Tepache ingredients
When picking a pineapple grab one that is isn't green and firm. It should have dark orange and brown colors and have a little bit of give when you push the center of one of the little hexagons.
Keep in mind you will be using the rind for making Tepache so do your best to find an organic fruit, and be sure to give it a thorough rinse when you get home.
For the sugar, a hard Mexican brown sugar called Piloncillo is traditionally used. Pilocillo is made by cooking down sugarcane juices to create a rich and flavor cone of firm brown sugar.
You can find it at Hispanic grocery stores or order some on Amazon, but if you can't get your hands on some use brown sugar instead.
The best way to cut a pineapple
Cutting a pineapple is easy as long as you know how to do it.
1. Lay the pineapple on its side and cut off the top and bottom.
2. Stand it on its now flat bottom and carefully cut off the rind in strips all the way from top to bottom.
3. keeping the fruit standing up cut it in half lengthwise. Then lay each half flat on its face and cut in half lengthwise again.
4. Last stand each quarter vertically and cut off the inner most part of the triangle where the rind is.
For making Tepache we will use the rind (and all the little prickly eyes that you cut off the fruit) as well as the core. This way you get to enjoy all the most delicious parts of the fruit without wasting anything.
TIP: pluck out a few of the best looking pineapple fronds and store in a glass of water in the fridge for up to two days for garnishing.
Ways to enjoy Tepache
Tepache's sweet fermented flavor makes it delicious to sip chilled or over ice, but you can also serve it mixed in drinks.
Try pouring it together with beer (like a New England style IPA) to add some funky fruitiness to your life.
Or mix Tepache into a cocktail for some flavors that you don't often find in mixed drinks. It pairs really well with rum and tequila, but also try experimenting with whiskey, gin, or brandy.
You could even serve it with some fresh fruit juice. Pour in a little lime, lemon or grapefruit juice to give it a bit of sour balance.
Some quick fermentation tips
What's actually happening when you make Tepache is that the cultures from the pineapple are eating the sugar. When they do they create alcohol (just a little) and gas which carbonates it.
The drink becomes fizzy because the gas bubbles get trapped and forced back into the liquid which is important to remember if you want your Tepache to be bubbly.
If you don't put a lid on your Tepache soon enough it will not have enough time to carbonate itself. I found it best to wait 48 hours before straining into an air tight container that you're sure can withstand the added pressure from fermentation!
Be sure to leave some "head room" at the top of the bottle to avoid fridge explosions, we don't need any of that.
- 1 pineapple
- 200 grams Piloncillo or Brown Sugar
- 10 Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 5 Ginger Slices - optional
- Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple, stand it up to remove the rind, then cut off the inner core and save the fruit for eating.
- Add the pineapple rinds to a 1/2 gallon jar that will fit them all nicely.
- Add the ginger (optional), cinnamon, cloves and sugar.
- Pour in enough water to over all the ingredients.
- Cover with a clean cloth and let sit at room temperature for 48 hours.
- Strain the liquid into a strong tightly sealed glass bottle and let rest in the refrigerator for several days to get slightly carbonated.
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