Sunday, April 1, 2012

Further Adventures with Arrack

Batavia arrack is a rather peculiar spirit that I first talked about last spring. While it can be a bit hard to use to good effect in cocktails due to its strong flavors, with the right combinations of ingredients it can be harnessed to produce delicious drinks.


1 oz Batavia Arrack
1 oz Laird's Bonded applejack
0.25 oz St. Elizabeth's allspice dram
0.75 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz demerara syrup
1 pinch nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and pour unstrained into a chilled glass.

For a drink that looks both very stiff (the arrack and applejack are both 100 proof) and with lots of strong, potentially clashing flavors, this drink turns out to be quite pleasant and almost subdued. Don't shake too hard, because you don't want this kind of deliciousness to get tepid. The nose and initial tastes are mostly the arrack's funk, though it's not beating you about the head. The applejack provides a pleasant, whiskey-like base and subdued fruitiness. The lemon and grapefruit juices give the drink a bit of snap and bitterness to counteract the rich sweetness of the demerara syrup. Finally, the allspice dram gives the drink a delightful spiciness that wraps around the other flavors in the drink. As is, this is a great drink to sit and sip over the course of a warm evening. Minus the fruit juices, it could even become a pretty good hot winter drink.

Javanese Crusta
1.5 oz Batavia arrack
0.35 oz lime juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz orgeat
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a large strip of lime peel.

This drink is a variant of the classic Brandy Crusta from Frederic over at Cocktail Virgin Slut. The nose of this drink blends a hefty dose of lime oil from the peel with a touch of hogo from the arrack, the subtle nuttiness of the orgeat and the spice notes of the bitters and cinnamon syrup. The taste reprises these elements, but with a definite order. Less sweet up front than I would have expected, the arrack and lime attack mid-palate, fading into the nut/spice interplay of the syrups and bitters. The gentleness of this drink is rather surprising given the robust hate it/love it nature of Batavia arrack, but the other ingredients do a good job of tying it down into something quite enjoyable.


  1. Excellent and thorough exposition on the cocktail possibilities of this challenging spirit. Creative, inventive, and interesting. Plus the photos are lovely and the drinks look fantastic. Kudos.

  2. Thanks, Josh. I really enjoy playing around with arrack, especially for punch-style drinks.