Tepache is a pre-Columbian drink from Mexico that is best described as lightly fermented pineapple water. Pineapple and spices such as cloves and cinnamon are left to soak in water while added sugar and natural yeast cause the drink to ferment slightly. Tepache is normally consumed before it has time to ferment enough to become alcoholic. The result is a change in taste without becoming too boozy.
In order to make their homemade tepache into a true cocktail, the bar team at Qui adds Balcones Rumble, a unique Texas liquor, along with honey and lemon juice.
Students at our Austin culinary arts school have the opportunity to try the drink themselves at Qui on East 6th street. For those that would like to try to make the drink themselves, tepache is easy to make at home.
To make tepache at home, simply take a whole pineapple, slice off the peels and dice the flesh. Place all the pineapple pieces in a large, preferably clay, dutch oven. Add a cup of raw sugar, a cinnamon stick and a couple cloves, and then top it all off with warm water. Place the lid on the dutch oven and let sit in a warm place for 24-36 hours – any longer and you risk turning the mixture into vinegar. After the time is up, strain your tepache into a glass and add sugar to taste.
Your homemade tepache can either be enjoyed as is or made into Qui’s award-winning cocktail. Simply add 1.5 oz of Balcones Rumble to .75 oz of lemon juice and .75 oz of honey and top off with your tepache in a Collins glass over ice.