Thursday, January 9, 2014

A summer state of mind

Those are very summery looking cocktails, aren't they?

No, I'm not in denial that it's winter. Note the fireplace in the background. And lord knows I've been wearing multiple sweaters, and even multiple pairs of pants, when I head out of doors in recent weeks. (I mean, really, it was eight degrees Fahrenheit here in the District when I woke up to the weather report on Monday morning. Eight!!) But I've been craving warm weather things lately.

Last Sunday afternoon, as I cut up a fresh pineapple -- see, I'm not a local food purist after all -- and reached for the compost bowl, I recalled a time back when I was living in sunny Mexico and my friend Maru showed me once how she saved her pineapple scraps to make booze. Didn't she just toss the rinds into a pitcher with some water and let it sit for a week? (My memory was a little hazy on the matter, more because it was nearly a decade ago, thank you, not because of overconsumption of said liquor.)

Kenton was all for the experiment, and helped me find a simple recipe and instructions online for making Tepache. Below is my slightly modified version, plus a recipe for a lovely cocktail you can make with your homemade brew.

Easy Tepache

  • Rind and core of one pineapple (those bits you were going to simply compost... until now!)
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 4 cups warm water (plus more to cover, if needed)
  • Pinch of baking yeast (optional)


Mix the sugar and water in a large container that is impervious to light and has a fitting lid. Make sure sugar is dissolved.

Coarsely chop the pineapple scraps (rind and core) and add to the sugar water, top up with water if needed to be sure pineapple is covered, add a pinch of yeast if it is winter or you are going to ferment it in a cold area, and then place the lid on.

Leave in the warmest area of your house from 3-5 days while avoiding taking the lid off too much (or else you may end up with some moldy fruit – I’m just sayin’. I kept mine in the kitchen, right in front of the warm air vent, and didn't even peek at it for a full three days before the initial taste test. What restraint! I know.)

Strain your notably pungent brew, discarding the pineapple scraps.

Taste, adjust the sugar levels, and then store the juice in the fridge for at least 24 hours until cold and fizzy, then enjoy with abandon. (The carbon dioxide being released from the sugar being converted to alcohol produces the fizziness.)

Note: The article cautioned that one should be sure NOT to leave the pineapple booze in a glass container in the fridge with a tight-fitting lid for any length of time, as there is a chance of explosion. Kenton and I aren’t sure what to do with that piece of information, so we’ll probably try to drink all of it this weekend just to be safe. On that note....

What does one use pineapple liqueur for, anyway? I'm not a big one for piña coladas, so last night I brought over a 3-day-fermented mini batch of the potent smelling pineapple beverage to my gentleman friend's, along with a can of lychees in heavy syrup from the corner market. We made some pretty stellar cocktails, reminiscent of the lychee martinis at our favorite sushi spot in the city, as follows:

Summer Anytime Cocktails
(makes 2)


4 lychees, peeled and seeded
3 shots tepache (fermented pineapple juice), chilled
2 TBSP simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, dissolved) OR syrup from canned lychees
Pellegrino or other fizzy water


In each glass, place 2 lychees, half of the tepache, 1 TBSP lychee syrup or simple syrup.

Stir well, then top off the glasses with Pellegrino or other fizzy water.

Enjoy summer anytime.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found my recipe helpful and it worked well for you! I have never had the problem of exploding bottles yet either, but there have been times where I open a bottle of this or ginger beer and 3/4 of the glass pours out in the form of intensely fizzing foam, so I think it got pretty close to the explosion stage!

    Tepache/lychee cocktails sound great!


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