Tim Wiggins, co-owner and beverage director of Yellowbelly, created a bar program focused on well-balanced drinks and exciting new cocktails.
He started in the hospitality industry as an ice cream scooper which he says was, “still the hardest job I have ever had to date.”
He later moved up to become a server and bartender, where he worked his way through the industry. Tim now owns three restaurant/bar concepts with his business partner.
“Our approach to the restaurants is different than most and is centered around professionalism. We have an amazing staff of restaurant professionals who are talented, take their jobs seriously and respect the people they work for. That goes a long way in this industry.”
– Tim Wiggins
Have you ever heard of Tepache? Yellowbelly uses this fermented beverage made from the peel and rind of pineapples and sweetened with piloncillo or brown sugar. Not only is it a great way to use up left-over scraps, but it makes a great mixer for cocktails.
We sat down with Tim to learn a little bit more about this trendy ingredient.
Talk to us about the Tepache Mimosa. Why a mimosa?
When we started making the tepache, we wanted to utilize it in a way that showcased the delicate and refreshing pineapple flavor without adding too many other components. Honestly, orange juice creates a bit of waste for us and is delicious but is also fairly sweet. I saw an opportunity to have a more acidic and refreshing version of a mimosa by swapping the orange juice for tepache. The fermented and lightly funky flavor of the tepache, much like natural wine, works really well with sparkling ingredients, so the pairing was obvious to me.
How do you make homemade Tepache?
We juice a lot of pineapples at Yellowbelly. We take the skins and scraps from the pineapple and add Mexican cane sugar, cinnamon, and water and let it sit for a few days to ferment.
Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share?
- We kick start fermentation with our own barley aspergillus. Our chef creates this by inoculating grains of barley to create Koji. This is not traditional or necessary to make tepache, but it creates a unique flavor that we are partial to.
- Temperate control and patience. It is ideal to find a warm place to store your tepache while it ferments that is roughly 75-85 degrees. It is also key to just let it do its thing. It is tempting to want to stir or mess with it while it is fermenting, but it’s best to just sit back and wait.
Why do you like to mix with Tepache?
We have done tepache mojitos, mai tai’s, daiquiris and margaritas. Anything light cocktail with lime as the sour component usually works well with tepache. The flavor of tepache is usually light and very refreshing, so simple cocktails without bold flavor components often work best.
Tell us something bartenders should know about mixing with Tepache.
I like to tell people that it’s fun to use as a base as well as a mixer. It does contain alcohol and can be used in a larger portion (2oz-3oz) per cocktail as the main alcoholic component. It’s a natural fit with rum and agave spirits and LOVES to be paired with dry sherry.
What other types of flavors/ingredients go with Tepache?
Nutty and dry sherry pair very well with tepache. We also found that red Amari such as Campari & Aperol work really well to balance the tepache.
Here is the recipe Tim uses for his Tepache
Yellowbelly Tepache De Pina
- 30 oz. Pineapple Skins and Scraps from juicing
- 1.8 oz. Oryzae Barley (our house koji barley)
- 2.5 oz. Piloncillo, Chopped
- 42 oz. Water
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick, Toasted
- 2 Cloves, toasted
Preparation: Combine and mix together to partially dissolve the piloncillo. Cover with a permeable barrier and allow to ferment for 80 hours at room temperature. Stir once each day. Strain and refrigerate. Serve cold.
Check out this easy cocktail that utilizes the probiotic beverage.
Yellowbelly Tepache De Pina Mimosa
By Co-Owner and Beverage Director, Tim Wiggins
- 3 oz. Tepache de Pina
- 4 oz. Cava (or preferred sparkling wine)
Preparation: Pour 3 oz. fermented Tepache De Pina and mix with 4 oz Cava or sparkling wine.