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Pati Jinich

I am crazy for Tepache. Gently sweet, with an innocent hint of home brewed alcohol, a deep freshness and a gorgeous amber color.

Tepache: A home made fermented drink that comes from the state of Jalisco – also breeding ground of other Mexican symbols like Tequila, Charros and Mariachis. Tepache has a base of fresh pineapple, true cinnamon, piloncillo and water and has been drank in Mexico since Pre-Colonial times.

I have made it many times throughout my life.

First, when Daniel and I moved to Texas, to celebrate our finding piloncillo at a U.S. grocery store. Later, when we moved to DC, to soothe the heat of that first long summer and to make our new home, feel like home. A couple years ago, I brewed liters to share with a large crowd for a class I taught on foods from Jalisco.

Then, I forgot about it. Until this summer, when we moved, the heat started pumping up and I unpacked my old clay pot from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. A pot that is perfect for brewing Tepache, which is so simple to make. That is, if you can keep an eye on it.

 You need to find a ripe pineapple. Almost entirely yellow and soft to the touch.
Tepache 1b.jpg

After you rinse it, remove the top.

Tepache 2c.jpg Do away with the bottom too…

Tepache 3b.jpg

Cut into thick slices, whichever way you want, horizontal or vertical, including the peel. The peel will help the drink ferment and give it an interesting depth of flavor.

Tepache 4b.jpg

Cut the slices into thick chunks (yeah, I do love my knife…)

Tepache 5a.jpgThere you go, the gorgeous work of a fine, loyal knife…(I so, so, so, love my knife)

Tepache 6c.jpg Pour water into the pot. If you don’t have a clay pot, use any kind of large pot…

Tepache 7.jpg Drop in a cinnamon stick, preferably true cinnamon, if handy…

Tepache 8.jpg

Drop in the piloncillo, which gives anything it touches that rustic small Pueblo flavor. Just throw it all in there. No need to chop. No need to shred. It will dilute in the water as you bring it to a simmer.

Tepache 9.jpg Oh…, and five or six whole cloves, for that touch of spice.

Tepache 10a.jpg Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. You know the liquid is ready when the piloncillo has diluted and you get this lovely light brown color…

Tepache 12a.jpg Light amber.

Here, you can see the color of the liquid better with my grandmother’s glass spoon. Light amber.

Gorgeous amber.

And it gets even better after you add the pineapple…

Tepache 12b.jpg

Turn off the heat, and add the pineapple chunks.

Tepache 13c.jpg Cover the pot and let the mixture sit and rest, and begin to ferment, for two days, or about 48 hours. Any area of your kitchen is fine, preferably the warmest area, where you won’t have to move the pot around for that period of time.

Tepache 14.jpg After two days, the liquid will begin to show some bubbles. That’s when its ready for you to pour in the beer to speed up the fermentation process. You can go the old fashioned way, and not add any beer and let it sit for another week, or more…

Tepache 15.jpg Any lager that you like. Dos Equis works for me.

Tepache 16b.jpg Cover the mix, and let it sit for about 12 to 15 hours more.

Now, remember I just said Tepache is so simple to make, if you can keep an eye on it? Well, right after I poured the beer in this step above, I had to leave for New York. My husband was left in charge of keeping an eye on the Tepache, but he was too busy keeping an eye on our three monsters.

So the Tepache ended up tasting like vinegar.

The trick is, right after you pour the beer, don’t let it sit for more than 12 to 15 hours. After that time, strain it and either drink it or place it in a big pitcher in the refrigerator.

Tepache2.jpg So there I went again… and this time, we were all keeping an eye on the Tepache. It went so fast!

Now we are at it again, once more… But my lesson learned: you have to watch your own Tepache.

Tepache

Serves: 8 to 10

Tepache

Ingredients

1 ripe pineapple, or about 3 cups

4 liters water, or 16 cups

1 pound piloncillo, or dark brown sugar

1 cinnamon stick

5 whole cloves

1 cup lager beer

To Prepare

Using the traditional big eathenware jug (or a large pot), bring to a boil the 16 cups water along with the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves. Simmer, stirring once in a while, for about 10 minutes or until the piloncillo has dissolved.

While the water is simmering, wash the pineapple thoroughly, and remove the stem and bottom. Cut it into 2 inch cubes, without taking off its rind.

Once the flavored water is ready, add in the pineapple chunks and cover. Let rest for 2 days, or 48 hours, in a warm area of you kitchen. The mixture will begin to ferment and bubble on the surface. Add a cup of lager beer, stir well, and let it sit for up to 12 hours more. Don't let it ferment much longer, or you may end up with vinegar instead!

Strain tepache through a fine strainer or cheesecloth, and serve very cold. You can either refrigerate it or serve over ice cubes.

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Comments

Sounds refreshing!
Now, how much alcohol is in it? Or is it weak?

Hi Jen,
It is very refreshing and as far as the alcohol, it is barely there! Incredibly weak…

use tequila

Gracias, Matt!





Thanks Pati.
I’d love to try this sometime.
:o)


I love my knife, too!

Oh Olivia, I do, I do , I do!



Are you planning on doing another class on Jalisco anytime soon?
Also, do you have a cooking event scheduled during Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hi Gwen,
Yes! There is a class scheduled for September 23rd, focused on the Spanish influence in Mexican cooking. I may do another set of regionally focused sessions in 2011…



Saludos Pati!
I really enjoy your website. As a first generation Mexican-American gal I really dig your recipes! They make me reminsce of Mexico. Even though I was not born and raised there, my family usually spent 3 months out of the year there throughout my childhood. It is great to see you spin a different perspective on Mexican food and culture then what is usually put out there.
I’m commenting on this particular recipe not only because I am a lush but because it reminded me of one of the many stories my Mother shared with me. Here’s how it went: My Father and my maternal Grandmother spiked my Mom’s drink one Summer day with Tepache while they were out at a park. My mother remembers being so drunk that she was found hours later with her head in a pond conversing with fish! Needless to say we always have a good laugh from this story, with my Mom crying from the laughter!
Again, thanks Pati for putting together such a great site!
Janie

Dear Janie,
I enjoyed so much reading your Tepache story!!! It is hilarious. I am so happy you enjoy my blog, I will keep on posting here, so let me know if you have any special cravings….



Dear Pati!
I love Tepache! I generally make it during the summer when the weather is perfect for fermenting. It takes like sunshine, and smells like a perfect summer day. By the way I just LOVE your clay pot!! It is beautiful! I am so happy I found your blog!

I agree about Tepache tasting like sunshine ; ) By the way, that clay pot comes from the state of Michoacán.



Hi Pati,
Your recipe for tepache sounds good I have tried to make it myself with a glass container and lid, I use only the left overs of the pineapple peels and I use two cones of piloncillo and then add all this to the glass container with spring water I dont even use a whole gallon of spring water then I just cover it at set it aside. But then a mold starts to grow on top! Now I have asked some people about this mold and they say its ok. My concern is, is it safe to have this mold grow or has my tepache gone bad and should not be drunk? I dont know what to do. They say the longer I leave it fermenting the stronger the brew but I dont know the mold thing just looks gross and I dont want to try it. Can you please help?
Armando

Hi Armando,
As part of the fermentation process foam may start to form on the top. Just scoop it out! When Tepache is ready, just leave it for time specified in recipe, strain it and refrigerate it. You should have no problem!



Hola Pati,
I was in East L.A. tonight and we happened upon a Birreria and to my great delight they had Tepache! I hadn’t had it in years and it was SO good. As soon as I got home, I got online to check out how it’s made. I remember my parents making it when I was young but they only used the rind. Your site is wonderful and it brings back many memories of my summers in Mexico and living in Guadalajara. We are so fortunate to have so many diverse, tasty foods in our Mexican culture.
Gracias y saludos de CA,
Marie

Hi Marie,
Oh I love Birria! Haven’t made it in a while… This is the perfect time to start making some Tepache… hope you enjoy the recipe ; )



Hi Pati,
Great visual tour of the tepache process! I wish more people knew about this delicious Jalisco beverage.
I am a passable home brewer, and have a few comments on the process. I have a batch going now using just the rinds, and honey rather than piloncillo. The method I found does not call for simmering, however; no heat at all in fact. You just wash (rinse) the pineapples thoroughly, then pack the rinds in a jar, cover them with water, add the honey and spices (I use a cinnamon stick and some allspice berries) and then cover the jar with plastic wrap and a rubber band. The natural yeasts in the rind do the fermenting, but there are other microbes on the rinds (like the vinegar-producing Acetobacter). This brings me to my question – if you add the rinds to boiling liquid, how does the yeast survive the heat? This method would surely be effective for discouraging Acetobacter, but I would think a no-boil method would allow yeast fermentation to occur more quickly. So perhaps, boiling the liquid first would sterilize the vessel and the liquid, then waiting until they have come down to room temp before adding the pineapple – this seems like the best of both worlds.
And by the way, adding a beer may have been a traditional part of the recipe (and provided a dose of cultured beer yeast to speed fermentation) but unfortunately Dos Equis and pretty much all big-brand bottled lagers do not contain living yeast cells. They are sterile filtered for longer shelf life. So adding a beer will only lend the tepache a bit of beer flavor, nothing more. Unless of course you can find a bottle-conditioned craft beer that contains living yeast!

Hi Amahl,
I so appreciate your comment. And most certainly think that what you are proposing offers the best of both worlds and I will try it the next time I make it… and will report right back :)



Looks good, but I’d be sure that a clay pot is certified lead free before making tepache in it.
I use a food safe plastic storage container, or one of those Mexican glass “barrels” such as used for vending aguas frescas.
Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Don, you’ll probably never see this since you posted in 2011 but wish you could because there is no such thing as safe plastic. Food safe plastic is a joke, albeit a bad one that makes me very sad; plastic is everywhere and poisoning us to death, esp. little children. Pay attention to how much their lives are saturated in plastic. Do some evidence based research and do yourself a favor by getting rid of your food safe plastic bucket that contains lead too, probably as much or more than the Mexican pot if it is not lead free. Plastic also contains cadmium and mercury, (you know, that stuff they poison us with in our teeth fillings and root canals? Do some evidence based research again even tho dentists swear it’s not enough to hurt you. Really. Not enough???)plus many other deadly ingredients. That’s why there is no such thing as true organic food if they water with plastic tubing and cover with black (plastic) mulch, which most organic growers do. You can’t live plastic free (I tried) but you can control somewhat by reducing the amount you are exposed to by using glass, stainless steel, natural wax paper and even giving up things you love to eat or drink because it’s been soaked in plastic, like juices, canned goods (lined in plastic,)etc.



Stumbled across this recipe and was almost brought to tears remembering my great aunt Esther who made this about once a week. She was alwayd telling us kids about Apache attacks on her family’s ranch and fighting them of with an old Winchester lever action that I still have. I am first generation with lots of family still farming and ranching in the sierras of Chihuahua, Mexico. My childhood recollection (60+ years ago) is that it was just the pineapple rind, water, clove and a small amount of pilocillo. I think it was ready in about 2-3 days. There was no concern over the very small alcohol content as all the kids down to toddlers drank it. I will be making some in the next day or two and toasting Tia Esther. Thanks!

Hey Luis, that’s wonderful that you tried out my recipe for tepache! And I’m touched about the story of your grandmother. I hope it came out just as you remembered it!



I am sorry to tell you thata this Tepache has also been made in the island of Hispaniola which is nowadays Dominican Republic, since the times of the native Tainos which would be 1492 and before…. Sorry!
ps it’s called Mabi


Hi Pati, as someone mentioned above, I also do not heat the water when I make tepache. I found a recipie (have not been able to find it since) for tepache and it was pretty much the same as yours. Except that they added about 1 inch or 2 of fresh ginger. This gives it a great flavor.
I am a first generation mexican-american and my family did not make tepache, so there are no childhood memories. I hope I am making some for my family though.


Hi Pati,your Tepache looks good, and I always wanted to lear how to do it, and thanks to you I will. I’m allways lucking for now recipes to enjoy with my family, and yours will help me.. Thanks


I had never heard of tepache before today, but I went to a Mexican market/cafe in West St. Paul, MN just this afternoon, and with my gorditas they were offering tepache, of course I had to try it. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it, a little strong-tasting. Then I added some ice, and enjoyed it more.

Scott, I’m so glad that you were adventurous and tried tepache. I’m also happy that the flavor grew on you. Keep exploring!



My jar of tepache is not bubbling and does not taste fermented at all. It’s been 3 days, want should i do?

Hi Kobi, the lack of bubbling may have to do with the weather. If it has been 3 days, I would wait another day to see if it bubbles. If it still doesn’t, strain and drink..it will still taste delicious! :)



Hi Patti,
Just happened across your sight and it sounds most interesting. I love to know about all Mexican Traditions. I would like to know what brand of knife do you have since you love it so much . One day I hope to own a great knife of my own. I just haven’t found one yet.

Hola Leslie, I use Viking and Shun knives and like them both! :)



Tepache has been one of those summer things in my parents house since I can remember… How does it affect the flavor when you add the beer?
I really like when chefs make a point of using real cinnamon and not cassia. Not many make that point

Thank you for your question! The only way to describe the addition of the beer is that it adds a nice subtle beer or fermented yeast flavor. Try it with and without the beer to see which way you prefer!



Hi, Paty.
I followed the recipe step by step and the Tepache hasn’t fermented properly after 17 days. I found your recipe interesting because I love brown sugar and cloves, but I’m not so sure they match with this refreshing drink.
The original recipe we use in Mexico utilizes the skin of the pineapple, left in water for about three days (it’s very hot here) and then we sweeten it with sugar

Muy cierto es receta original. aveces a
mucha gente les gusta esperimentar con lo autentico…



Hi Pati,
I have just returned from a Mexico trip, and was able to sneak 2 bottles of “tepache” in progress back to Canada. I had to do quiet a lot of searching to find tepache, but am psyched to have some. I got mine from a person in Tepic, who had a 5 gallon water bottle of the stuff. He suggested that I cover the mouth of my two liqueur bottles with plastic, poke a hole in the plastic and let sit for 5 days, then try and if it was not strong enough, to add sugar, shake and let sit for 2 more days. I also have not seen any bubbling or any indication that it is doing anything; what should I be expecting this too taste like?
Thanks for any advice, I am glad to have found your site.
David

David, You know, sometimes it depends on where you are located. If it’s cold and dry outside, it will take longer to ferment — wait a couple of days longer. For the taste, it only matters if you enjoy it!



To be authentic this recipe must use Mexican Cinnamon (also known as Ceylon Cinnamon) which is very different to the Cassia Cinnamon you get in the US. The taste if you use Cassia Cinnamon is very different.
When you use Ceylon Cinnamon it blends in to create a complex flavor. Plus its sweeter. If you use Cassia Cinnamon then it tastes overtly Cinnamony and spicy. Mexican Cinnamon is brittle and often it is broken into small pieces so the flavor comes out.
But I love the photos and instructions. Nicely done.


The reason the tepache tasted like vinegar is because more oxygen got inside of it, if oxygen enter then the fermentation turns to vinegar, if very little to no oxygen enters then
It will turn to alcohol


Me and my wife really like your show ,,,, and I was wandering if u have any kind of ivent in colorado anytime soon ,,,,,, grasias ,,,

Hola Tony, I really appreciate you watching the show with your wife! Thank you!! I don’t have anything scheduled in Colorado at this time, but I would love to do something in Colorado.



Si kiero aser lo doble de tepache ,,,, tengo ke dejarlo fermentar por lo doble de tiempo???

No Tony, el mismo tiempo….



Hello Patti! I highly enjoy your show and learning all these new things im from Jalisico but have never had it. I am attempting to make it but there is a lot of blue white green mold growing on top so as long as I just scoop it out its safe to drink? Thanks Patti!

Yes!! Just scoop it out, no worries. As soon as it is ready, keep it in the fridge.



I LOVE your recipes and tried many of them. I came across this one after doing a search for tepache to answer a friends question.( I’m already into day 2 of making a batch) I’ve made it many times for my husband who is from Michoacan. My recipe is very similar to yours except I have never boiled the water. I just put it all in a bowl and cover and let sit outside ( I should note we live in Florida and its 90+ degrees out) I have always used beer but last time I didn’t have any, I forgot about it and it sat an extra day or two. When my husband tried it, he said it tasted like he remembered in Mexico. This was the first time he said that. It’s funny how sometimes mistakes create new recipes that bring back old memories.

Hola Lisa, Thank you for taking time to write me & sharing your experiences making tepache! Soo funny about the mistake leading you to perfect your recipe. Happens to me too! :)



con este frio se antoja ese tepache y lo voy hacer que se antoja

Qué bueno!



how is the actual alcohol content though?

Extremely light.



Que rico justo y cuando se me antoja! Ahora no tendras una receta de pulque?

La trato de poner pronto!



tengo que decir que usando piloncillo molido pulpa de pina molida y no usar calor mas que el necesario para la fermentacion lo hace mucho mejor y acelera la fermentacion.


Pati,
I love your show. It is so nice to get to see authentic Mexican food being made.
Your tepache Recipe looks great, but I wonder what would happen if you added a teaspoon of baker’s yeast to bump up the fermentation process.

Thank you again.

Regards
Joe

Thank you Joe! Have never thought about that option. Tell you what: would love to hear what happens if you decide to experiment with it!



Hi Pati,

My husband and I really love watching your show–we agree that you are adorable and so much fun to watch. I recently bought your cookbook and can’t wait to try some of the recipes. I did make the flourless chocolate cake I saw on an episode, and it was so easy and delicious.

I am going to try the tepache, your ribs, and the potato salad with poblanos. I have company coming in early June and those look like something I’d love to serve. I will report back to you when I do!

Love seeing you and your family, too.

Thanks for everything–it’s great to have new things to try!

Connie

Thank you, Connie! Please do report back!



Hi Pati,

I tried the tepache recipe, but there really weren’t many bubbles in the liquid after 2 days and 12 hours. I then added the beer, but still there wasn’t anything I could see. I imagine that I should see discernible, obvious bubbles and foaming, yes? I was a afraid to get vinegar, so I went ahead and strained it. I tastes pretty good, like pineapple cinnamon juice, but I don’t think it’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Is it still too cold to make it? It was snowing here in Illinois this morning! Also, if you make it in the summer, does the air conditioning affect the fermentation process? Do you ever leave it outside to ferment? Many questions, but I am determined to get it right! Is there an ideal temperature?

We tried your ribs tonight–they are so tasty!

Thanks,

Connie


I am very interested in fermented foods of all cultures, and was recently told about this beverage. I love Pati’s tv show, so was glad to find this recipe of hers. I am going to try making this, but I’m wondering if the amount of sugar used here is essential for the fermenting process, or if it might work with less sugar?

Thanks, Cindy

Hola Cindy, So excited you are interested in this recipe. You may try it with less sugar, but the sugar helps the fermentation process. You may also try with any kind of sugar you like such as piloncillo, brown sugar, honey, etc.




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