Arak Attack

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A clear liquor made from fermented glutinous rice, Arak is the island’s traditional evening beverage. The drink is regarded as dangerous for tourists, as some less than honest clubs in Kuta have been known to cut their arak with methyl alcohol. On at least one occasion, the practice has resulted in deaths. Tourists are urged to never purchase a drink containing Arak from a bar or club, so we did what any curious people would do and went right to the grocery store. The bottle was sealed and imprinted with a government issued inspection sticker, so we figured it was about as safe as we would find. Time to try some arak.

Traditionally, arak is served simply over ice with lemon juice, or like a tequila sunrise with grenadine and orange juice. It’s an acquired taste, reminiscent of Sake but with a bite. A strong bite. There’s a reason you don’t see people drinking this straight… And there is a reason we won’t be bringing any home with us as souvenirs.

Arak needs a special potion of mixers to taste pleasant, and we have yet to find the secret. We’ve tried all sorts of juices and sodas but have failed at figuring out what makes this liquor so popular. This was one of those traveler’s curiosities which wasn’t worth the effort. We’ll stick to the fresh fruit juice, something Bali excels at, as our drink of choice.

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