The La Morena has a refreshing subtle sweetness that works perfectly with the earthiness of the housemade tepache.
When it comes to summertime fruit, let’s agree that pineapple is king. Sweet, juicy and tropical, it’s perfect for all kinds of sun-drenched snacking — whether in a smoothie, a fruit salad, a cocktail or ... fermented?
Yep, you read that right. Fermented. In which case, it would be tepache, a mildly alcoholic beverage made from the peel and the rind of pineapples and sweetened either with piloncillo — a dark, unrefined sugar widely used in Mexico — or brown sugar.
Traditionally seasoned with powdered cinnamon and served cold, tepache is allowed to mellow and ferment in a dark, cool place for several days. The result is a slightly carbonated drink with a tiny bit of alcohol, awesome diuretic and probiotic properties and plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Tepache recently appeared on our radar when we asked chef Rebel Mariposa, owner of vegan haven La Botanica on the St. Mary’s strip, what she and her partner had been sipping while quarantined. She told us she’d been taking advantage of local, seasonal produce.
“[My girlfriend Amanda and I] had a lot of produce the other day, so I made us some apple and carrot juice,” Mariposa said. “I made tepache and we set up date nights and sip on shots of mezcal or tequila with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.”
While cool tepache served straight up is one of Mexico’s most loved street drinks, the drink's bright and tropical earthiness tastes just as amazing when mixed with similarly earthy spirits such as mezcal or gin.
Mariposa shared her tepache recipe, which made its menu debut circa 2015 in a cocktail called La Morena. Made with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Hendrick's Gin, citrus, tepache and basil leaves, La Morena is a refreshing and subtly sweet way to use tepache as a summertime libation.
When strained and stored in a sealed container, this tepache can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks. Just remember to shake well before serving. Mariposa recommends drinking a small glass every day for optimal probiotic action.
Skin from one pineapple
1 cone of piloncillo
1 cup of cinnamon sticks
1 orange (optional)
Add all the ingredients to a glass jar and fill to the rim with water.
Cover the jar with breathable cloth and
let it sit for three days in a dark corner of your kitchen.
After three days, skim any foam off the top, strain and drink.
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