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A bottle of arrack from Sri Lanka

Arrack is an alcoholic beverage that is distilled mainly in South Asia and South East Asia from fermented fruit, grain, sugarcane, or the sap of coconut palms. Arrack typically has golden amber color, which distinguishes it from the colorless and transparent Middle Eastern arak.



The word itself is derived from the Arabic word arak (عرق, ‛araq), which means "sweat" or "strong liquor" (and in the Middle East is usually made from grapes).

Coconut arrack

Milky sap is taken from the flowers of coconut palm trees before the flowers bloom. The sap quickly ferments to become a mildly alcoholic drink called "tuak", “toddy” or “palm wine,” which is then distilled in vats made of wood (usually halmilla or teak). The end product is a spirit whose taste is usually described as “somewhere between whiskey and rum.” It is generally distilled to between 33% and 50% alcohol by volume (66 to 100 proof).

Coconut arrack is traditionally drunk either straight or with water, but it is also taken with ginger ale, cola, soda water, and in cocktails.

Arrack in different countries


Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, arrack is the most popular local alcoholic beverage. Most of the less expensive brands are a blend of coconut arrack and neutral spirits. Some of the brands are

  • V.S.O.A. ("Very Special Old Arrack")
  • Old Reserve
  • Extra Special
  • Double Distilled

Main alcohol production Companies

  • Mendis
  • IDL
  • DCSL
  • Rockland

Sri Lankan arrack is now being bottled in the UK for a European launch. [1]

A bubblegum-flavored lambanog.


Batavia Arrack is distilled in Indonesia. It is the "rum" of Indonesia, because--like rum--it is distilled from sugar cane. It is a pot still distillation, a type of still which was influenced by the Chinese, who brought the distillation process to Indonesia.

To start the fermentation, local fermented red rice is combined with local yeast to give a unique flavour and smell of the distillate. It is distilled to approx. 70% alc. vol. Like rum, Batavia Arrack is often a blend of different original parcels.

Batavia Arrack is used as a component in liqueurs and punsch, and also in the confectionery and flavour industries. It is said to enhance the flavour when used as a component in other products, as in the herb and bitter liqueurs.

Arrack is often created as a form of moonshine in Indonesia.


Lambanog is distilled in the Philippines, commonly described as coconut wine or coconut vodka. The drink is distilled from the sap of the unopened coconut flower and is particularly potent, having a typical alcohol content of 80 to 90 proof after a single distillation, but may go as high as 166 proof after the second distillation.

As with coconut arrack, the process begins with the sap from the flower of the coconut palm trees. The sap is harvested into bamboo receptacles similar to rubber tree tapping. The collected sap is then put through a cooking or fermentation process to produce a coconut toddy called tuba which can then be distilled to produce Lambanog. Until recent years, Lambanog was considered a local drink comparable to moonshine or other home-brewed alcoholic beverages due to its long history as a cottage industry product.

In the country, Lambanog has recently been marketed in several flavors such as mango, blueberry, bubblegum, and cinnamon among others in an effort to appeal to all age groups.[2]

See also


Cloetta Polly 'Original' and 'Milkchoco' chocolates contain "a taste of Arrack".


  1. ^ Ceylor Arrack Bottled in UK Retrieved 18 September 2009
  2. ^ Lambanog: A Philippine Drink, TED Case Studies #782, 2005


  • 1828 Webster's Dictionary


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