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Arrack is a spirit made in Asia from sugar cane (with red rice for the premium version, among other). However there are hundreds of different spirits that will appear under that name and some have nothing to do with the sugar cane family.

The geography of Arrack

Two styles of Arrack are protected by law. Ceylon Arrack and Batavia Arrack.

Ceylon Arrack:
It may only come from the island of Sri Lanka and is always made from palm wine. This has nothing to do with the sugar cane family! We add it here for the sake of avoiding misunderstanding based on the name.

Batavia Arrack:
If the Arrack is called Batavia Arrack it must come from the island of Java. Batavia Arrack is traded until today almost only over the Netherlands. From there it is distributed all over the world. When the product is called Batavia Arrack, it is a distillate produced from sugarcane molasses, distilled exclusively on the island of Java, Indonesia. Batavia Arrack is usually stored for one year in large team barrels on Java.

How is Arrack made?

Arrack is also used for both internal and external medicinal purposes. Beyond this, it is also in use for Balinese Hindu religious ceremonies and in this case often diluted up to 70% water. 
Another note: In Indonesia, Arrack can vary widely in strength and toxicity. Poor production techniques or deliberate spiking sometimes yield methanol in the finished product.
In both Malaysia and Indonesia, the local spirit distilled from coconut palm trees is also spelled as “arak” rather than “arrack”.

Other spirits made from sugarcane


Country: Panama
Base material: sugarcane
Fermentation: nothing special
Distillation: triple distilled
Ageing: none
Taste: neutral


Country: Mexico (It’s actually a DO since 2002, can only be done in the state of Michuacan around the citiy of Uruapan.)
Base material: sugar cane juice, molasses, unrefined cane sugarFermentation: depending of producers
Distillation: depending of producers from 35 to 55 abv (not always accepted as rum in the US or EU)
Ageing styles: blanco, reposado, oro, anejo
Taste: aromatic


Country: Canary Island. It’s a DO in the EU since 2008.
Base material: sugar cane and honey
Fermentation: depending of producers
Distillation: depending of producers
Ageing: none
Taste: sweet, rum based liquor. 20% to 30% abv.

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