When we first opened Bodriggy Brewing Co in Melbourne, we really wanted to showcase the kitchen. Johny Dominguez being the head chef with the whole Latin American cuisine, we did a bit of research and found out about tepache. And because we’re a brewery, we thought it was a no-brainer to do something fermented, using those nice tropical flavours that are often heroed in Mexican and Latin American food.
Most tepache recipes are just spiced with cinnamon, which is fine. But if you really want to stand out these days, you have to push the boat out. There are so many talented bartenders and chefs out there, and the things they come up with are phenomenal. So our tepache includes ginger, peppercorns and different types of sugar.
Tepache by Mikey Braun, bar manager at Bodriggy Brewing Co
Prep time: 10 minutes
Ferment time: 5–12 days, to taste
1 pineapple, whole
100g brown sugar
100g raw sugar
100ml agave syrup
25g ginger, finely chopped
10g cinnamon quills, broken up by hand
5g pink peppercorns, crushed
450ml pineapple juice
1 sachet dry lager yeast (available online or at home brew shops – don’t be tempted to use instant or baker’s yeast) or champagne yeast, for a drier finish
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
Wash the pineapple thoroughly and roast for 40 minutes. Allow to cool, then trim off the skin and discard. Roughly chop the roasted flesh.
Meanwhile, heat 1 cup (250ml) of water in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add the raw and brown sugars and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the roasted pineapple, sugar syrup, agave syrup, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns and pineapple juice into a pre-sterilised plastic or glass vessel, or vessels, of at least 3.3L capacity (this Ikea jar is ideal). Add enough tap water to fill the vessel(s) to the 3L mark (you may need to do some maths and measuring beforehand and make a mark on the outside of the vessel) and stir to combine all the ingredients.
Add 2.25g of lager yeast to the top of the vessel and stir gently again.
Leave to ferment in a cool dark place, such as a kitchen cupboard for five or six days, depending on the weather and humidity. (Lager yeast works best around 10–13°C, but these low temperatures are hard to maintain without special equipment and drag the fermentation time out to 3–4 weeks.) Crack open the vessel every 24 hours to release any built carbon dioxide and prevent unwanted and dangerous explosions. Some harmless mould may form on the surface. If so, gently skim off and discard.
Remove the solids from the tepache using a fine mesh strainer and/or muslin cloth. Rinse the fermenting vessel and return the tepache to it. At this point you can refrigerate and drink straight away, but I recommend leaving the tepache to ferment outside the fridge for a further 5–6 days and develop more flavour before chilling. In the final few days, periodically taste it for readiness using a clean, sterilised spoon. The end result should have a subtle fizz to the tongue, with hints of sweetness and a dry back palate to finish off.
The fully fermented tepache will have an alcohol content of 3–5 per cent. Enjoy by itself, or in the cocktail below.
Loaded Tepache cocktail
10ml yellow chatreuse
10ml agave syrup
10ml lime juice
1 dash Bittermens hopped grapefruit bitters (optional – available at Dan Murphys if you want to use it)
Build all the ingredients in a highball (tall) glass with ice and serve.