Fermented pineapple beverage tepache in glasses with ice and glass pitcher on light gray background
Food - Drink
Tepache: Mexico's Traditional Fermented Drink
Kombucha and kefir may have gotten most of the praise for gut-friendly drinks, but Mexico’s Tepache deserves its share of attention. The fermented pineapple drink is sweet and sour on the first sip with a bit of bitterness, but ultimately, the aftertaste is fruity like an offbrand Jolly Rancher.
Tepache is an indigenous beverage native to Mexico and has been around since the pre-Colombian era. The Mayans used Tepache as a sacred drink, and while it was originally made from the fermented corn native to Central Mexico, pineapple became common as a sweeter alternative to corn mash as trade routes opened.
How it’s Made
One of the best things about Tepache is that it's zero-waste since its ingredients are pineapple peel and rinds. To make it, simply bring water to a simmer, add piloncillo or panela, stir, and let cool; then add it to a jar with your pineapple peels, water, and cinnamon, cover with breathable material, and after about three days, enjoy.
How it’s Served
In Mexico, Tepache is commonly sold in street markets and by street vendors in clay mugs or a clear plastic bag with a straw poked into it. The drink can also be served with a chili-lime Tajín rim or spiked with alcohol, and it is often flavored with fruits like prickly pear, mango, and tamarind, making it an excellent complement to spicy foods.
Alcohol Levels
Similar to other fermented beverages, Tepache is lightly alcoholic, but it's not enough to get you buzzed. When the yeast in the Tepache solution processes sugar, it releases CO2 and alcohol as byproducts, resulting in an ABV of approximately 0.5 to 2%, while most light beers fall between 3.5 to 5%.
Touted as a healthy alternative to sodas loaded with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, Tepache is, in fact, pretty good for you. The sweeteners used are unprocessed and unrefined, and the drink contains magnesium, and vitamins C, A, and B, along with probiotics and good bacteria to support overall gut health.