The term ‘Arrack “etymology has also given space for some scepticism, partially because it’s been around for a long time. Moreover, in various parts of South and Southeast Asia, the term is often used to identify local drinks produced from fermented sap from specific sources berries, sugar cane, grain, etc depending on the country concerned. Throughout Sri Lanka, ‘arrack’ is the much-loved popular cocktail, made from the coconut flower water.
Some claim that Sri Lankans were the makers of arrack, found while tapping for toddy; hence, it was assumed that the term arrack came from the Sinhalese term “arrakku”. The difference between arrack and toddy is in the manufacturing process, as toddy is converted to arrack when they undergo distillation. Whatever the roots of this cocktail, Sri Lanka has a long tradition of tapping for toddy and today Sri Lanka is the world’s largest palm sap-based arrack exporter. With a rich history and creative art of production, Ceylon arrack is now loved internationally. It is fascinating indeed, how a beverage of ancient times has remained popular to this day. The Sri Lankan coconut arrack is considered to be one of the world’s purest, naturally produced alcoholic drinks extracted by natural fermentation. The technique of producing coconut arrack has been mastered in Sri Lanka over the years. Today, as the country’s alcoholic product of choice, it has achieved the right blend for the discerning palate and coco arrack reigns. Coconut arrack is traditionally consumed by itself or with ginger beer, a popular soda in Sri Lanka. It also may be mixed in cocktails as a substitute for the required portions of either rum or whiskey. Arrack is often combined with popular mixers such as cola, soda water, and lime juice.
The initial step in the cycle of making coconut arrack is toddy tapping, an age-old vocation that is handed down lovingly from father to family. Toddy Tapping is almost as dynamic an art as it is a study. Toddy tappers harvest the kitten manually from coconut trees that are coupled and girdled by deftly rappelling from tree to tree. Coconut sap or Toddy is collected by tapping the nectar on the unopened coconut pod. The toddy is then collected in earthenware bowls. This toddy when fresh contains a lot of sugar, but soon yeasts, microscopic vegetable organisms find their way into it, act on the present sugar and produce alcohol. This method of turning sugar into alcohol is called fermentation. Eventually, spirits of various ages and tastes are combined together to produce the specific types. Sri Lanka has the biggest coconut arrack distilleries, perhaps also in the world, this golden brew remains our signature commodity and our pride.