In my forays into international grocery aisles, I’m constantly finding more and more fermented food and drinks we haven’t tried like canned kimchi, kombucha, and kvass (keep an eye out for a future review on that one). On one of my last visits to the Lakewood Saar’s (probably the same trip I bought the Frutiking), I spotted a bottle of tepache, below the familiar Jarritos, Mineraga and sangria. What’s tepache you say? Well I’m glad you asked, because I put way too much time on these posts doing background research on what the products we eat and drinks actually are.
Thank goodness for Wikipedia! It’s not just useful for college papers!
Tepache is “a drink made out of the flesh and rind of the pineapple, sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon and sometimes beer. Tepache does not have a high quantity of alcohol, since it is left to ferment for only about three days. The alcohol comes mostly from the addition of a small amount of beer, the most common way of serving it in Mexico. It is a drink better served cold with dry chili powder to give it a spicy taste. Tepache is commonly made by inmates in Mexican prison, because the process of creating tepache is simple and quick. However, tepache can also be found in taquerias since it is a rather cheap drink. Housewives sometimes prepare tepache. In markets, you can sometimes find a vendor with an orange barrel full of ice-cold tepache.“
Our particular tepache is non-alcoholic and made with 12% juice. Ingredients include: Purified carbonated water, fermented pineapple extract (skin and pulp), barley, spices, sugar, brown sugar, and vitamin C.
The drink is tangy, akin to the glaze on a slice of pineapple upside-down cake from last’s months work potluck or the fruit cup that you found sitting in the back of your fridge. The flavor is what you’d expect from pineapple juice that’s fermented minus the alcohol: it’s got a twang, it’s a little sour and it tastes much better chilled.
If you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain and possible flings with people who may or may not be your significant other, then maybe you’ll “love” this pineapple cider concoction I crafted with the stuff that was already in our cupboard: a glass of cider, plus some unsweetened coconut milk/coconut milk ice cubes and some simple syrup (add alcohol if desired).
But if you’d like to try something that’s probably more palatable, you could always just try it the traditional way, paired with a Mexican beer.
Have you had tepache? Should I try making my own? Did I miss the mark completely? Feel free to educate me!