Text the neighbors and drag your chairs into the driveway– We’re kicking off a three day weekend and it’s time for a cocktail. Today on Driveway Drinks: Reba experiments with at-home fermentation and makes tepache! It’s ALIVE!
I have recently become a real fan of the Bon Appetit test kitchen manager Brad Leone’s short series of youtube tutorials on fermentation. I stumbled across his most recent episode on tepache while scrolling through Facebook. Tepache was totally new to me– so I pushed play (Go on, I’ll wait. It’s worth it).
With my interest sufficiently piqued, I might or might not have made an impulse buy of the necessary equipment (read: bottles and a giant jar) to create this intriguing beverage. For those new to the word tepache, it’s a fermented pineapple drink commonly sold on the street in Mexico. It has pineapple, brown sugar, hot peppers (Brad uses a habanero but I was a little wimpy and went jalapeño….next time I would definitely go habanero. Much of the heat is lost over the time in the jar) ginger, and cinnamon.
It’s at-home fermentation probably at its easiest. You combine the ingredients, and let time do the rest. The result is a yeasty, funky, kind of sour, slightly alcoholic, carbonated (have I used enough adjectives?) pineapple drink. I wanted a little more brightness in my final drink so I mixed it with some fresh pineapple puree and a squeeze of lime juice– and it turned into the perfect cocktail for a Friday afternoon. If you didn’t want to play Bill Nye at home– I would recommend swapping the tepache for a ginger/citrus kombucha, which would also be delicious. Happy Friday friends!!
Slightly Adapted from the recipe by Brad Leone’s Its Alive (ep. 7)
1 pineapple, unwashed, quartered, core removed, top and bottom cut off, cut into large 2-3 inch chunks
1 habanero pepper, stemmed and quartered
1 knob of ginger, about 3-4 inches long, crushed with the side of your knife
1 C brown sugar
In a large 5 qt jar with an airtight seal (I used this one)
3 fermentation safe bottles
For the cocktail:
Fresh pineapple cut into chunks and blended and strained or 100% pineapple juice
Mexican Lager (Around here– I’ve been into Sun King’s Pachanga, but a Pacifico or Corona or Dos Equis will work well too!)
For the tepache: combine all ingredients in large jar. Cover with tap water until just covering and stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside (go on, call it your Fermentation Station) for 2-3 days. You’ll see bubbles on the side when you give it a good look.
After 2-3 days, strain mixture through a cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer into a large container. Split up the liquid among fermentation bottles, being sure to leave 2 inches of headroom to allow for natural carbonation.
Set aside for another two days. After two days, pop the top (do this outside or over a sink– I waited 3 days and it foamed over after I opened the bottle).
For the cocktail (makes 2):
In a cocktail shaker, combine 3 oz tepache, 2 oz pineapple puree or juice, and the juice of half a lime. Fill with ice and shake well (use caution, as the tepache is slightly carbonated). Pour into a salted rimmed old fashioned glass and fill to the top with Mexican lager. Garnish with fresh pineapple, pineapple leaves, or limes. Enjoy!!