Tepache - Gastro Obscura



This fizzy, tropical drink has ancient roots in Mexico.

Home-brewers in central Mexico make batches of tangy tepache to sell on the street, sometimes from plastic baggies. These vendors prepare the ever-so-slightly alcoholic beverage with a mixture of pineapple, water, spices such as cinnamon, and unrefined brown sugar. After several days of fermenting in the sun, the brew’s wild yeasts give the liquid a tropical, funky fizz.

The beloved beverage may sound like a hip, new cocktail, but it has pre-colonial roots. Tepache belongs to a family of traditional fermented brews from the region, such as the maguey-based pulque and corn-based chicha de jora. When it comes to tepache, rules and recipes are irrelevant. Ancient cultures brewed the first batches, and since then, the drink has been made thousands of different ways. Recently, bartenders have begun experimenting with the fermented pineapple. Look for creative uses of tepache on cocktail menus; the results are often delicious.

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