Batavia Arrack van Oosten
Sugarcane Spirits Specialty
50% Alc./Vol. (100 proof)
Product of Indonesia & Netherlands
Original B.A.M. Arrack, O.G.L. & K.W.T. Distilleries

It is a taste that has traveled the world from the Dutch East Indies, unique for its ability to both add depth and lift the aromas of citrus and chocolate. From the late 17th to 19th century, in an age when “Punch” was a celebration of all things then exotic – citrus, sugar, and spice, no Punch was without a true Batavia Arrack. In pre-Prohibition America, Batavia Arrack and most notably the Swedish Punsch were essential to many now-classic cocktails. Beyond these uses, Batavia Arrack is also today found in boutique European chocolates and cocktails at Bali resorts.

Batavia Arrack has no relation nor taste similarities to spirits called Arak from Lebenon or Sri Lanka.

A Celebrated Spirit in Punch, Classic Cocktails & Dark Chocolate

Before the age of cocktails we had punch, and no spirit was more celebrated and sought for punch than Batavia Arrack. The trade of Batavia Arrack dates as far back as the early 17th century, when Dutch colonialists of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) found this alluring complement to the spice trade that brought them East, and soon found its passage with these voyageurs to Amsterdam and onward to growing demand in London and old New York. More so than rums, gins or other spirits, the Batavia Arrack had then as now the extraordinary effect of elevating the aromatics of the spices and citrus notes. While historical circumstance eventaully curtailed the availability and affordability of Batavia Arrack, it remains a highly sought ingredient for boutique chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

It's importance with classic cocktails cannot be understated. New York bartender Jerry Thomas's 1862 imprint, How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant's Companion (still considered the foundation-text for the fine art of mixing drinks) dedicates the first section of the book to Punches, with 78 recipes, many of which call for Batavia Arrack. Cocktail books still to this day highlight recipes with Batavia Arrack (or the Swedish Punch made from it), no matter the challenge of finding the spirit.

Recipes

No Relation or Similarity to Lebenese or Sri Lanka Arak

Lebenese Arak is typically a distilled grape spirit that is flavored with anise, very similar to Raki, Ouzo and Pastis

Sri Lanka Arak or Arrak is typically fermented and distilled palm wine (from coconut milk), sometime mixed with neutral spirits

Batavia Arrack comes only from the Island of Java. It is distilled from sugarcane and fermented red rice, using chinese pot stills with characteristic teak vats