Arrack, or arak, is a potent alcoholic spirit distilled in the Far East, and also in the Middle East, from fermented rice and molasses, to which is often added the fermented sap of the coconut palm. Aficionados claim that Indonesia makes the best arrack. Its name came via various unspecifiable Indian languages from Arabic ʿaraq, ‘juice’. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries an abbreviated form rack was often used in English (‘I would take refuge in weak punch, but rack wakes me next morning with its synonym,’ Byron, Don Juan, 1821).
Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.