Batavia Arrack, a molasses based spirit from Java that is steeped in colonial history. It is a textbook example of colonial times where the European explorers found new techniques and ingredients in far away lands, and then attempted to monopolize the operation to become ridiculously wealthy. The people of India had been distilling from sweet liquids (palm sugar) for centuries, the Chinese had their own unique fermentation methods, and the newly created Dutch colonies had excess molasses from their cane processing so they were all combined to create Batavia Arrack.
Batavia Arrack is made using the traditional Chinese technique of adding a cake of fermented red rice (called qu or chu) to the molasses and water to help start the fermentation of the molasses sugars. After fermenting, it is twice distilled in traditional pot-stills to a 60+ ABV before being transferred to oak casks where it is aged from anywhere to a few months to several years. This period was traditionally the time that it took to ship the casks by sea from Java to the Dutch ports where it would be blended and distributed to the rest of the world.
FLAVOR: It smells strongly of green grassiness, rum type funk, overripe fruits, and a slight salty smoke. The taste is quite similar to the smell with super ripe tropical fruit, a touch of smoke and an almost vegetal sweetness. It is fairly complex and finishes with a lingering fruity, and slightly smokey aftertaste.
GOOD FOR: Using as the base in punch recipes, or boosting the funkiness in drinks that you would think to use rum. It has a real affinity for citrus and is super fun to mess around with. Try mixing it with spices or other strong flavors too, it has the strength to stand up to a lot.
PRICE: $25 for 750ml bottle
USED IN: Head in the Clouds