July 28, 2010 6:30 PM
Crazy for Tepache
POSTED IN: Recipes , Cold & Hot Drinks
TAGS: beer , cinnamon , drink , fermented , Mexican , piloncillo , pineapple , tepache
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I am crazy for Tepache. Gently sweet, with an innocent hint of home brewed alcohol, a deep freshness and a gorgeous amber color.

Tepache: A home made fermented drink that comes from the state of Jalisco - also breeding ground of other Mexican symbols like Tequila, Charros and Mariachis. Tepache has a base of fresh pineapple, true cinnamon, piloncillo and water and has been drank in Mexico since Pre-Colonial times.

I have made it many times throughout my life.

First, when Daniel and I moved to Texas, to celebrate our finding piloncillo at a U.S. grocery store. Later, when we moved to DC, to soothe the heat of that first long summer and to make our new home, feel like home. A couple years ago, I brewed liters to share with a large crowd for a class I taught on foods from Jalisco.

Then, I forgot about it. Until this summer, when we moved, the heat started pumping up and I unpacked my old clay pot from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. A pot that is perfect for brewing Tepache, which is so simple to make. That is, if you can keep an eye on it.  

You need to find a ripe pineapple. Almost entirely yellow and soft to the touch.

Tepache 1b.jpg

After you rinse it, remove the top.

Tepache 2c.jpg
Do away with the bottom too...

Tepache 3b.jpg

Cut into thick slices, whichever way you want, horizontal or vertical, including the peel. The peel will help the drink ferment and give it an interesting depth of flavor.

Tepache 4b.jpg

Cut the slices into thick chunks (yeah, I do love my knife...)

Tepache 5a.jpg
There you go, the gorgeous work of a fine, loyal knife...(I so, so, so, love my knife)

Tepache 6c.jpg
Pour water into the pot. If you don't have a clay pot, use any kind of large pot...
Tepache 7.jpg
Drop in a cinnamon stick, preferably true cinnamon, if handy...

Tepache 8.jpg

Drop in the piloncillo, which gives anything it touches that rustic small Pueblo flavor. Just throw it all in there. No need to chop. No need to shred. It will dilute in the water as you bring it to a simmer.

Tepache 9.jpg
Oh..., and five or six whole cloves, for that touch of spice.

Tepache 10a.jpg
Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. You know the liquid is ready when the piloncillo has diluted and you get this lovely light brown color...

Tepache 12a.jpg
Light amber.

Here, you can see the color of the liquid better with my grandmother's glass spoon. Light amber.

Gorgeous amber.

And it gets even better after you add the pineapple... 

Tepache 12b.jpg

Turn off the heat, and add the pineapple chunks.

Tepache 13c.jpg
Cover the pot and let the mixture sit and rest, and begin to ferment, for two days, or about 48 hours. Any area of your kitchen is fine, preferably the warmest area, where you won't have to move the pot around for that period of time.

Tepache 14.jpg
After two days, the liquid will begin to show some bubbles. That's when its ready for you to pour in the beer to speed up the fermentation process. You can go the old fashioned way, and not add any beer and let it sit for another week, or more...  
Tepache 15.jpg
Any lager that you like. Dos Equis works for me.

Tepache 16b.jpg
Cover the mix, and let it sit for about 12 to 15 hours more.

Now, remember I just said Tepache is so simple to make, if you can keep an eye on it? Well, right after I poured the beer in this step above, I had to leave for New York. My husband was left in charge of keeping an eye on the Tepache, but he was too busy keeping an eye on our three monsters.

So the Tepache ended up tasting like vinegar.

The trick is, right after you pour the beer, don't let it sit for more than 12 to 15 hours. After that time, strain it and either drink it or place it in a big pitcher in the refrigerator.  

So there I went again... and this time, we were all keeping an eye on the Tepache. It went so fast!

Now we are at it again, once more... But my lesson learned: you have to watch your own Tepache.

Serves 8-10


1 ripe pineapple, or about 3 cups
4 liters water, or 16 cups
1 pound piloncillo, or dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1 cup lager beer

Using the traditional big eathenware jug (or a large pot), bring to a boil the 16 cups water along with the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves. Simmer, stirring once in a while, for about 10 minutes or until the piloncillo has dissolved.

While the water is simmering, wash the pineapple thoroughly, and remove the stem and bottom. Cut it into 2 inch cubes, without taking off its rind.

Once the flavored water is ready, add in the pineapple chunks and cover. Let rest for 2 days, or 48 hours, in a warm area of you kitchen. The mixture will begin to ferment and bubble on the surface. Add a cup of lager beer, stir well, and let it sit for up to 12 hours more. Don't let it ferment much longer, or you may end up with vinegar instead!

Strain tepache through a fine strainer or cheesecloth, and serve very cold. You can either refrigerate it or serve over ice cubes.


Sounds refreshing!

Now, how much alcohol is in it? Or is it weak?

Jennifer Leal | July 28, 2010 9:07 PM

Hi Jen,
It is very refreshing and as far as the alcohol, it is barely there! Incredibly weak...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Jennifer Leal | July 28, 2010 9:26 PM

Thanks Pati.

I'd love to try this sometime.


Jennifer Leal | July 29, 2010 2:05 AM

I love my knife, too!

Olivia | August 18, 2010 6:45 PM

Oh Olivia, I do, I do , I do!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Olivia | August 21, 2010 1:40 PM

Are you planning on doing another class on Jalisco anytime soon?
Also, do you have a cooking event scheduled during Hispanic Heritage Month?

Gwen | September 4, 2010 8:23 AM

Hi Gwen,
Yes! There is a class scheduled for September 23rd, focused on the Spanish influence in Mexican cooking. I may do another set of regionally focused sessions in 2011...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Gwen | September 4, 2010 11:42 AM

Saludos Pati!

I really enjoy your website. As a first generation Mexican-American gal I really dig your recipes! They make me reminsce of Mexico. Even though I was not born and raised there, my family usually spent 3 months out of the year there throughout my childhood. It is great to see you spin a different perspective on Mexican food and culture then what is usually put out there.

I'm commenting on this particular recipe not only because I am a lush but because it reminded me of one of the many stories my Mother shared with me. Here's how it went: My Father and my maternal Grandmother spiked my Mom's drink one Summer day with Tepache while they were out at a park. My mother remembers being so drunk that she was found hours later with her head in a pond conversing with fish! Needless to say we always have a good laugh from this story, with my Mom crying from the laughter!

Again, thanks Pati for putting together such a great site!


Janie | December 15, 2010 10:28 AM

Dear Janie,
I enjoyed so much reading your Tepache story!!! It is hilarious. I am so happy you enjoy my blog, I will keep on posting here, so let me know if you have any special cravings....

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Janie | December 17, 2010 2:10 PM

Dear Pati!
I love Tepache! I generally make it during the summer when the weather is perfect for fermenting. It takes like sunshine, and smells like a perfect summer day. By the way I just LOVE your clay pot!! It is beautiful! I am so happy I found your blog!

Catalina | January 12, 2011 7:29 PM

I agree about Tepache tasting like sunshine ; ) By the way, that clay pot comes from the state of Michoacán.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Catalina | January 13, 2011 12:05 PM

Hi Pati,

Your recipe for tepache sounds good I have tried to make it myself with a glass container and lid, I use only the left overs of the pineapple peels and I use two cones of piloncillo and then add all this to the glass container with spring water I dont even use a whole gallon of spring water then I just cover it at set it aside. But then a mold starts to grow on top! Now I have asked some people about this mold and they say its ok. My concern is, is it safe to have this mold grow or has my tepache gone bad and should not be drunk? I dont know what to do. They say the longer I leave it fermenting the stronger the brew but I dont know the mold thing just looks gross and I dont want to try it. Can you please help?


Armando | February 19, 2011 2:29 PM

Hi Armando,
As part of the fermentation process foam may start to form on the top. Just scoop it out! When Tepache is ready, just leave it for time specified in recipe, strain it and refrigerate it. You should have no problem!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Armando | March 1, 2011 1:40 PM

Hola Pati,

I was in East L.A. tonight and we happened upon a Birreria and to my great delight they had Tepache! I hadn't had it in years and it was SO good. As soon as I got home, I got online to check out how it's made. I remember my parents making it when I was young but they only used the rind. Your site is wonderful and it brings back many memories of my summers in Mexico and living in Guadalajara. We are so fortunate to have so many diverse, tasty foods in our Mexican culture.

Gracias y saludos de CA,

Marie Fignar | March 6, 2011 1:51 AM

Hi Marie,
Oh I love Birria! Haven't made it in a while... This is the perfect time to start making some Tepache... hope you enjoy the recipe ; )

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Marie Fignar | March 7, 2011 3:59 PM

Hi Pati,
Great visual tour of the tepache process! I wish more people knew about this delicious Jalisco beverage.

I am a passable home brewer, and have a few comments on the process. I have a batch going now using just the rinds, and honey rather than piloncillo. The method I found does not call for simmering, however; no heat at all in fact. You just wash (rinse) the pineapples thoroughly, then pack the rinds in a jar, cover them with water, add the honey and spices (I use a cinnamon stick and some allspice berries) and then cover the jar with plastic wrap and a rubber band. The natural yeasts in the rind do the fermenting, but there are other microbes on the rinds (like the vinegar-producing Acetobacter). This brings me to my question - if you add the rinds to boiling liquid, how does the yeast survive the heat? This method would surely be effective for discouraging Acetobacter, but I would think a no-boil method would allow yeast fermentation to occur more quickly. So perhaps, boiling the liquid first would sterilize the vessel and the liquid, then waiting until they have come down to room temp before adding the pineapple - this seems like the best of both worlds.

And by the way, adding a beer may have been a traditional part of the recipe (and provided a dose of cultured beer yeast to speed fermentation) but unfortunately Dos Equis and pretty much all big-brand bottled lagers do not contain living yeast cells. They are sterile filtered for longer shelf life. So adding a beer will only lend the tepache a bit of beer flavor, nothing more. Unless of course you can find a bottle-conditioned craft beer that contains living yeast!

Amahl | April 6, 2011 1:20 PM

Hi Amahl,
I so appreciate your comment. And most certainly think that what you are proposing offers the best of both worlds and I will try it the next time I make it... and will report right back :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Amahl | April 6, 2011 3:54 PM

Looks good, but I'd be sure that a clay pot is certified lead free before making tepache in it.

I use a food safe plastic storage container, or one of those Mexican glass "barrels" such as used for vending aguas frescas.

Don Cuevas

Don Cuevas | May 24, 2011 6:24 AM

Stumbled across this recipe and was almost brought to tears remembering my great aunt Esther who made this about once a week. She was alwayd telling us kids about Apache attacks on her family's ranch and fighting them of with an old Winchester lever action that I still have. I am first generation with lots of family still farming and ranching in the sierras of Chihuahua, Mexico. My childhood recollection (60+ years ago) is that it was just the pineapple rind, water, clove and a small amount of pilocillo. I think it was ready in about 2-3 days. There was no concern over the very small alcohol content as all the kids down to toddlers drank it. I will be making some in the next day or two and toasting Tia Esther. Thanks!

Luis B. | June 28, 2011 11:28 PM

Hey Luis, that's wonderful that you tried out my recipe for tepache! And I'm touched about the story of your grandmother. I hope it came out just as you remembered it!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Luis B. | July 1, 2011 12:26 PM

I am sorry to tell you thata this Tepache has also been made in the island of Hispaniola which is nowadays Dominican Republic, since the times of the native Tainos which would be 1492 and before.... Sorry!

ps it's called Mabi

Missskitttin | July 15, 2011 12:32 AM

Hi Pati, as someone mentioned above, I also do not heat the water when I make tepache. I found a recipie (have not been able to find it since) for tepache and it was pretty much the same as yours. Except that they added about 1 inch or 2 of fresh ginger. This gives it a great flavor.

I am a first generation mexican-american and my family did not make tepache, so there are no childhood memories. I hope I am making some for my family though.

diamindave | July 18, 2011 4:51 PM

Hi Pati,your Tepache looks good, and I always wanted to lear how to do it, and thanks to you I will. I'm allways lucking for now recipes to enjoy with my family, and yours will help me.. Thanks

Cruz | July 23, 2011 4:54 PM

I had never heard of tepache before today, but I went to a Mexican market/cafe in West St. Paul, MN just this afternoon, and with my gorditas they were offering tepache, of course I had to try it. At first, I wasn't sure I liked it, a little strong-tasting. Then I added some ice, and enjoyed it more.

Scott Jochum | August 6, 2011 10:31 PM

Scott, I'm so glad that you were adventurous and tried tepache. I'm also happy that the flavor grew on you. Keep exploring!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Scott Jochum | August 9, 2011 11:14 AM

My jar of tepache is not bubbling and does not taste fermented at all. It's been 3 days, want should i do?

Kobi | September 28, 2011 12:22 PM

Hi Kobi, the lack of bubbling may have to do with the weather. If it has been 3 days, I would wait another day to see if it bubbles. If it still doesn't, strain and will still taste delicious! :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Kobi | September 30, 2011 3:22 PM

Hi Patti,
Just happened across your sight and it sounds most interesting. I love to know about all Mexican Traditions. I would like to know what brand of knife do you have since you love it so much . One day I hope to own a great knife of my own. I just haven't found one yet.

Leslie Tighe | November 14, 2011 11:00 PM

Hola Leslie, I use Viking and Shun knives and like them both! :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Leslie Tighe | November 17, 2011 11:19 AM

Tepache has been one of those summer things in my parents house since I can remember... How does it affect the flavor when you add the beer?
I really like when chefs make a point of using real cinnamon and not cassia. Not many make that point

12parsecs | April 6, 2012 12:35 AM

Thank you for your question! The only way to describe the addition of the beer is that it adds a nice subtle beer or fermented yeast flavor. Try it with and without the beer to see which way you prefer!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from 12parsecs | April 9, 2012 2:05 PM

Hi, Paty.

I followed the recipe step by step and the Tepache hasn't fermented properly after 17 days. I found your recipe interesting because I love brown sugar and cloves, but I'm not so sure they match with this refreshing drink.

The original recipe we use in Mexico utilizes the skin of the pineapple, left in water for about three days (it's very hot here) and then we sweeten it with sugar

Monica | May 21, 2012 11:16 AM

Hi Pati,
I have just returned from a Mexico trip, and was able to sneak 2 bottles of "tepache" in progress back to Canada. I had to do quiet a lot of searching to find tepache, but am psyched to have some. I got mine from a person in Tepic, who had a 5 gallon water bottle of the stuff. He suggested that I cover the mouth of my two liqueur bottles with plastic, poke a hole in the plastic and let sit for 5 days, then try and if it was not strong enough, to add sugar, shake and let sit for 2 more days. I also have not seen any bubbling or any indication that it is doing anything; what should I be expecting this too taste like?
Thanks for any advice, I am glad to have found your site.

David | October 12, 2012 12:37 AM

David, You know, sometimes it depends on where you are located. If it's cold and dry outside, it will take longer to ferment -- wait a couple of days longer. For the taste, it only matters if you enjoy it!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from David | November 5, 2012 12:42 PM

To be authentic this recipe must use Mexican Cinnamon (also known as Ceylon Cinnamon) which is very different to the Cassia Cinnamon you get in the US. The taste if you use Cassia Cinnamon is very different.

When you use Ceylon Cinnamon it blends in to create a complex flavor. Plus its sweeter. If you use Cassia Cinnamon then it tastes overtly Cinnamony and spicy. Mexican Cinnamon is brittle and often it is broken into small pieces so the flavor comes out.

But I love the photos and instructions. Nicely done.

Cinnamon Vogue | November 15, 2012 3:23 PM

Muy cierto es receta original. aveces a
mucha gente les gusta esperimentar con lo autentico...

De guanatos replied to comment from Monica | January 1, 2013 9:35 PM