There are few things that can quench your thirst the way tepache does. I know. I grew up in a semi-arid place where temperatures could reach 100 degrees in early March. So, trust me, I know hot. A frosty glass of amber colored, tepache was one of my mother’s favorite thirst quenchers. Soft drinks were not an option for us; she never bought them, and probably not because she found them unhealthy, but, rather, because we couldn’t afford them. So, I grew up addicted to a variety of aguas naturales and to this very particular summer cooler: tepache.
The word tepache apparently comes from the nahuatl, tepiatl, which means fermented corn. Fermented pineapple rind is definitely the child-friendly version, over the corn one. And, naturally, no beer was added to ours, unlike the Mexican version, although I’m certain everyone makes it slightly different. Until she passed away in February 2010, I took it for granted that I could get on the phone and ask my mother to remind me how she made something. Today I had to remember, on my own, how she made tepache. I think I got it right.
- 4 or 5 cones of piloncillo or dark brown sugar
- 1 ½ gallons water
- Rinds from 1 ripe pineapple
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 oranges cut in half
- 3 cloves
- Place all the ingredients in the water.
- Cover and let sit for 2 to 3 days.
- When it begins to bubble, it is ready.
- Strain and adjust the taste if you like it sweeter.
- Serve chilled with ice.