Arrack is one of those drinks I was warned about while growing up, the way you’re warned about a river with a strong undercurrent. It may look like all the others but if you saw people go under, you’d stay away. To put it bluntly, my mom saw a lot of people get crazy-drunk off arrack and regaled the tales to instil her fear of it in me at every opportunity she had. To be fair, she wasn’t wrong. It’s boozy, but no more than many spirits. It’s made from unopened coconut tree flowers, and it’s taste is likened to whiskey or rum or something in between. When I brought my first bottle home from Sri Lanka, where it’s made, I used it in place of both to try it out and you should try to do the same if you can get your hands on some. It makes a fantastic sour, for instance.
At this very moment, you may have trouble finding Sri Lankan arrack depending on what part of the world you live in. But I’ve read that it’s going to be exported to America and other points west imminently. If you can’t find it, replace it with whiskey here for a classic sour.
2 oz Sri Lankan (coconut) arrack
1 oz simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, dissolved over moderate heat)
1 oz lemon juice
1 large egg white
Add arrack, simple syrup and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker and shake (dry shake). Add egg white and shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass and serve.