The discovery of Arrak from palm sap is dated back to 1000 – 500 BC. It is therefore declared as the first of all distilled spirits in history and the trailblazer for most of the spirits of the new world. From the 13 th to the 19 th century Arrak was one of the most desired spirits in Europe and was by far more popular than gin & rum.
1000 - 500 BC
At the shore of the Indus river ship makers use the distilling process for the first time for their beloved palm wine. The palm wine is derived from the “areca” palm tree – the term “araca” evolves
The term Arrak for any distillate goes around the world. Arrak, Airag & Sake are discovered. Around 350 BC Aristotle writes down the distillation process for the first time.
Dschabir ibn Hayyan from Medina improves the distillation process significantly. „Araq“ from palm wine is distilled & the term „al-kuhl“ evolves.
A SPIRIT CONQUERS EUROPE
From Marco Polo passionately described and imported to Europe for the first time Arrak is becoming Europe’s first real spirit and evolves to one of the most desired import merchandise.
In western asia palm wine is traded for grape wine & anis and the term “Arrak” is turned into “Raki” – later the father of “Ouzo” and “Pastiz”
In Eastern Europe people are searching for alternatives for the much desired but very expensive Arrak. The first “Vodka” is distilled, which is still called “Aragh” in parts of Asia.
THE ARRAK RENAISSANCE
To avoid the long and expensive transportation from asia, Indonesian sugar cane is cultivated on Mediterranean islands. Due to the missing rice the farmers start making “Cachaca” & later “Rum”.
Due to high import customs for Asian products the Europeans start to substitute Arrak for the much cheaper Rum. With the start of World War I Arrak almost completely disappears from the European continent.
Punch experiences a great come back in the upper gastronomy & PALMS distills its first premium Arrak.