02 June 2010

Homebrewing with the bastard.

I love me some pineapple, and eat one every week or so. I was butchering one on Friday when Beloved reminded me of my threat to make Tepache, a lightly fermented agua fresca drink also known as Mexican Prison Wine. Mmmm, prison.

Bea says I need to work on my sales pitch.

Okay, um...it's not Mexican Prison Wine, which would be equal parts ridiculous and disgusting. It's...um, tropical hard cider. Yep, that's what it is.

So anyway, I did a little innertoobs research to get a sense of the ingredients and proportions, cobbled together my own recipe inspired by several others, and whipped up a batch over the weekend.

Besides being cheap and easy, it's freaking awesome! Seriously. It's moderately sweet and astringent, and lightly effervescent like a pineapple lime soda with some vague woody, spicy bottom notes. Delightful! I first had to assure Beloved it wasn't like bathtub gin, so blindness was unlikely. After that, tastiness was conceded. However, you, dear reader, homebrew at your own risk.

The only Spanish I know is, "Tu madre tiene mucho pelo en su pinga," so the best I could do was:

Tepache del Bastardo

1 large ripe pineapple, well-rinsed
~ 8 c. water
1 1/3 brown sugar or piloncillo
1 stick canella or cinnamon
4-6 cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Crock Pot Slow Cooker
stock pot
colander
cheesecloth
funnel
bottles sufficient to contain 2 liters, clean with tight-fitting lid/s
Note: Don't scour the fruit with cleaners or boil your water — you'll destroy the microbes you need for fermentation.
Rinse and butcher a ripe pineapple. Compost the leafy top, pack up the edible parts for snacks. Chop the remaining rind and core coarsely, and chuck 'em in the Crock Pot. Dissolve the sugar into warm water, and put enough water in the Crock Pot to cover all the fruit. Add spices. Cover and turn the Crock Pot on LOW for a half-hour, just to mingle the mix so it feels sexy. Keep the Crock Pot somewhere warm, but ferchrissakes — don't leave it turned on. 

On Day 2, remove the lid, give it a stir, replace the lid. Don't panic if you think it's too sweet — the yeasts will eat most of that sugar up during fermentation. On Day 3, stir and recover again. You should be seeing the frothy evidence of fermentation. It's still going to be a bit sweet — don't flip. Put the stockpot in the sink and the colander in the stockpot. Dump the Crock Pot into the colander. Wrap the fruit inside the cheesecloth and wring out as much juice as you can, compost what's left.

Using a funnel, bottle your Tepache, leaving some headspace in each bottle, like a beer. Don't screw the lids on yet! Leave the bottles on the countertop with the bottle's mouth covered by a kitchen towel. On Day 4, cap and refrigerate. There's going to be some bottle fermentation happening (like champagne), so open the bottles sloooooowly over a sink. Apparently, if you don't drink Tepache fairly promptly, it turns into gourmet pineapple vinegar.

Heh, I reckon there's very little danger of that at Chez Bastard.

1 chimed in:

Baldwin Rose said...

At what point do I get to strain it through an old tube sock?