Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Visitors to the Island of Bali, Indonesia will likely find themselves sampling the local 'fun sauce' during their stay.   Bali's local liquor is called Arak, a name that has it's origins in the middle east.  Arak means 'sweat' in Arabic and in the middle east it widely refers to an aniseed flavoured spirit. The Arak found in Bali differs greatly from its middle eastern cousin.

Arak in Bali refers to a distilled spirit from palm sap or rice, with a 20 to 50 percent alcohol content. Arak can be found at most corner stores in Bali and, while I strongly recommend against it, can be bought on the street in in its bootlegged form (may contain methanol).

Western tourists have given rise to the term ‘Arak Attack’ (referring to the quick onset of drunkeness) and a drink of Arak and orange juice has taken on this namesake.Variation of the drink, such as 'Energy Attack' (Arak and Redbull) can be found at bars in the Kuta beach area.

As the origins of the drinks name suggest, this 'sweat' is not the finest or the smoothest alcohol around. It's prime selling point is it's price (far lower than anything else available), and it is the main reason it remains a favourite of budget travellers and surfers .

Drinking Arak can be considered as part experiencing the local cuisine, although most will simply see it as the cheapest way to get drunk.
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