Fancy a tipple? Try sipping Tepache de Piña!

Mexican Fermented Pineapple Drink Recipe

I don’t know about you but this year I’m trying to cut down on the holiday drinks, and this Mexican drink fits the bill perfectly!

This quick-fermented pineapple beverage is famous throughout Mexico, and is often served over ice or used as a mixer in a wide variety of artisanal cocktails. When I first saw this made at home, I immediately felt a deep sense of internal shame for discarding my pineapple rinds for my entire life leading up to that moment.

The use of the rind of the pineapple here encourages the natural yeast and bacteria that are present on the exterior of the pineapple to thrive in the sweet fermentation environment. Note that you traditionally do not eat the pineapple rind after the fermentation is finished, since the resulting strained fermented liquid (Tepache de Piña) is the goal.

Also note that this is a slightly alcoholic fermented final product, with a final alcohol-by-volume (ABV) percentage that traditionally varies between 1.0-3.0%, depending on the amount of time that you allow the fruit to ferment. Longer fermentation times will result in a fermented beverage with a higher alcohol percentage.

The Recipe: Tepache de Piña

Prep time: 20 minutes

Fermentation duration: Approximately 4 days (3 days initial fermentation + 1 day secondary fermentation after straining)

Serves: 8

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Rind of ½ pineapple

  • Flesh of ¼ pineapple

  • 3 tablespoons raw cane sugar, or brown sugar

  • ½ cinnamon stick, roughly three inches long

  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 100g water

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half and seeds removed

Method to Make the Magic Happen:

  1. When you are ready to begin your fermentation, clean and sanitize your mason jar or fermentation vessel.

  2. Cut the top and bottom from the pineapple and discard.

  3. Remove the rind from the pineapple.

  4. Cut the pineapple rind into bite-sized chunks.

  5. Cut the core from the flesh of the remaining pineapple, and discard.

  6. Add ½ of the remaining pineapple flesh (the flesh from about ¼ of a whole pineapple) into the bottom of the jar, along with the rind from half of the pineapple.

  7. Cut the jalapeño pepper in half, and remove the seeds from the center of the jalapeño.

  8. Add the jalapeño on top of the pineapple.

  9. Add the half cinnamon stick to the jar.

  10. Squeeze the contents down into the bottom of the jar as best you can.

  11. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, water, and Kosher salt until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved.

  12. Pour the liquid over the pineapple, jalapeño, and cinnamon stick until the contents are submerged.

  13. Cover the jar with a lid.

  14. Allow the mixture to ferment around 18-22°C (60-65°F) in a dark space for roughly three days, opening the contents every day to allow the gas to escape.

  15. Each day as you open the mixture, stir and/or shake the contents gently.

  16. After roughly three days, line a fine mesh strainer with some cheesecloth, and strain the liquid from your fermentation through the cheesecloth and strainer.

  17. Discard the solids from the fermentation.

  18. Use a funnel to transfer the fermented liquid to a fermentation-safe bottle with a swing-top lid, and allow the strained mixture to ferment at room temperature for another 24 hours.

  19. Transfer the Tepache de Piña liquid to the fridge, and enjoy it at your leisure throughout the course of the next few weeks.

Time to Enjoy:

Serve your Tepache as a standalone drink or mix it with Mexican lager for a festive cocktail alternative. Perfect for the holiday season, Tepache offers a refreshing twist to traditional cocktails, making it an ideal choice for December festivities

Note: If you prefer a non-spicy version of this fermented pineapple beverage, consider omitting the Jalapeno pepper. If you want an even spicier final product, consider adding ½ of a habanero pepper, without the seeds.

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