Mexican-Style Fermented Pineapple Drink

(Tepache)
This recipe for tepache is an adaptation of one in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy (Clarkson otter⁄Publishers, 2000).

Mexican-Style Fermented Pineapple Drink
A refreshing beverage of sweet, sour and spice.
Yield: makes About 3 Quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe pineapple (about 4 lbs.), crown and base removed, outside scrubbed and rinsed
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 (4"-long) piece canela (Mexican cinnamon) or cinnamon stick
  • 1 lb. piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar), crushed, or 1 lb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 12 cups light beer

Instructions

  1. Cut the pineapple (unpeeled) into 1 1⁄2" cubes. Put the cloves, allspice, and canela into a mortar and crush roughly with a pestle. Transfer the spices to a large 4- to 5-quart earthenware or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the pineapple cubes and 8 cups of water and stir to combine. Cover the jar with a lid and set in a location that receives plenty of sun (or in a warm spot) and let sit until mixture begins to ferment and become bubbly on top, about 3 days, depending on the temperature.
  2. Put the piloncillo and 1 1⁄2 cups water into a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved, 4–5 minutes. Remove from heat, let the sugar syrup cool slightly, and then add with the beer to the fermenting pineapple mixture. Stir well, cover, and leave in a warm place for 2–3 days longer, until it smells strongly fermented and appears bubbly throughout. Strain the mixture through a few layers of cheesecloth lining a fine-mesh sieve into a clean jar; discard the solids. Serve the tepache chilled or poured over ice. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.