From the late 17th to 19th century, in an age when “Punch” was a celebration of all things then exotic—citrus, sugar, and spice—no Punch was without a true Batavia Arrack. Made from sugar cane and fermented red rice, and bottled at elevated proof without aging, Batavia Arrack van Oosten combines smoky fruitiness with a vegetal funk that soaks up tea, lemon, and sugar in the punch bowl. Beyond these uses, Batavia Arrack is also today found in boutique European chocolates and cocktails at Bali resorts and bars across the USA.
“Punch,” the book by David Wondrich about all things served from a bowl, tells the story of Batavia Arrack in London and gives several recipes for its use in classic punches. More generally, Batavia Arrack adds depth to anything it touches, whether in small amounts in combination with sweeter fortified wines (such as Byrrh or oloroso sherry), or as the base of a long drink with ginger beer or tonic. Try Batavia Arrack, tonic and a touch of Génépy for an exotic, herbal refresher.