Tepache: Meet your kombucha replacement

By Enrique Gili
June 14, 2016, 12:55 p.m.
Tepache with pineapple garnishes
A sip of the tangy-sweet tepache will cool you off in the dog days of summer. (Photo: HandmadePictures/Shutterstock)

About This Dish

The fermented beverage called tepache ought to appeal everyone.

The drink — which is made from the skin or fruit of whole pineapples — hails from Mexico and is often sold by the cup on street corners by vendors hawking all manner of fruit-based "agua fresca." (That's fresh water in Anglo parlance.) And much like other food trends to sweep the United States, the tangy-sweet beverage is making inroads among health-conscious consumers, adventurous eaters and anyone on a quest to make their own version of fermented drinks like cider or kombucha at home.

Prep Time
About 3 quarts
  1. Chef's knife
  2. Small saucepan
  3. Wooden spoon or spatula
  4. Cutting board
  5. Newspaper (optional)
  6. 1 gallon-sized Mason jar with spigot and lid
  1. 10 cups filtered water
  2. 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  3. 1 cinnamon stick
  4. 6 whole cloves
  5. 1 whole organic pineapple with skin, cubed, trimmed top and bottom
  6. 8 ounces Mexican beer, optional
Cooking Directions
  1. Bring 1 cup water to a full boil. Slowly stir in brown sugar until completely dissolved. Add cinnamon and cloves. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, halve, quarter and cube pineapple into 1.5-inch sections, about 2.5 to 3 cups worth. Place sections in jar. Pour 9 cups water over pineapple almost to the neckline. Add syrup to jar. Seal and give jar a gentle shake distributing liquids evenly. Place in a warm location to ferment, shaking once or twice. Within 24 to 48 hours bubbles will begin to appear. Taste. Add beer, if needed, to hasten fermentation process, wait another 12 to 18 hours.
  3. Decant tepache into a glass pitcher and chill before serving. Serve with ice. Pour remainder into glass bottles with rubber stoppers or jars with airtight lids. Refrigerate until ready to serve.