Arak – Indonesia’s traditional and iconic alcoholic drink has earned quite a reputation over the years. Whether your first encounter with this popular drink was in the 90s after getting a headache from too many ‘Jungle Juices’ from Bounty nightclub or after hearing stories of Bali holiday anecdotes from relatives? and friends? There’s no denying that there have been plenty of Bali travelers who have had their own run-in with this locally-made spirit!

But did you know that arak is more than just an ingredient to add a kick to your cocktail? For the Balinese, arak plays a very important role in their culture. For centuries, this clear, odorless liquor has traditionally been made from the fermented sap of rice or coconut palm, and its alcohol content typically ranges from 20-50% (sometimes even higher!). with a mixer, it can certainly pack a punch and put some real fire in your stomach.

How is Arak made?

Courtesy of NOW Bali

Arak is still made in a very traditional method in many of the villages in rural Bali. These ancient rituals have been passed down by ancestors, with palm-based arak using the sap of the coconut tree (tuak). The sap is harvested from the coconut blossoms and then poured into a barrel where it is left to ferment and mixed with coconut shells. The liquid is then distilled by pouring it into a coconut tree stump and heated over an open fire. Afterwards, you are left with the clear liquid nectar called arak!

The important role that Arak plays in Balinese culture

Courtesy of

The Balinese believe that arak has many health benefits and often use it as a remedy to treat rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. You may also see it used to sprinkle on offerings and as part of religious ceremonies, where it is poured on the ground as a gift to appease demons. Sometimes it is even mixed with authentic spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and lime to give it a distinctive flavor and is often enjoyed by Indonesians young and old alike, catching up on the daily gossip with their peers. Traditionally, rice workers would make sure to have a drink or two to warm up their bodies before heading out to the fields for a long day of work!

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been easy for this local rice wine, which has had a harsh press over the years, with many keen travelers finding themselves on the other end of an ‘Arak Attack’ after consuming too many shots in a Kuta night. But after a makeover, it looks like this much-loved booze is making a comeback. The island has seen a rise in the production and demand for high-end arak and we couldn’t wait to find out more!

Safe and delicious Arak brands to try!


“ARAKÉ” is how the locals pronounce the traditional drink as a gesture of warmth and welcome. Using production methods passed down through the generations, ARAKÉ is meticulously processed from the finest palm sap, found only in eastern Bali, to create this premium arak. Whether you prefer your arak in a creamy Espresso Martini or a fruity Negroni, we’ve found it to be the perfect accompaniment to raise a glass to celebrate good friends and good times!

Instagram: @arake.bali

Arak Bali Dewi Sri

For those looking to enjoy it in a cocktail, or just neat, Arak Bali Dewi Sri is renowned for its high quality and authentically pure flavor. This artisan arak is made from fermented glutinous white rice and its hint of sweetness is guaranteed to warm you from head to toe. If you are looking for a truly genuine Balinese Arak experience, be sure to check this one out!

Instagram: @arakbalidewisri


Made from fermented salak, this premium natural arak is harvested directly from the local Karangasem villages. Using traditional methods and twice distilled, Selaka Ning arak is a smooth and aromatic delight that is sure to be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite cocktail. With its medium-sweet finish and a hint of honey, this artisanal arak is certainly one to try!


Arak for everyone

From Arak beginners to those looking to give this hard-hitting little liquor another try, we hope this article has shown you that there are certainly premium, high-end Arak options out there for you to enjoy. And what better souvenir of your time on the island than taking a bottle (or two) back home with you? It’s the ideal keepsake for having fun at the next family barbecue or catching up with your friends, while reminiscing about your amazing Bali vacation!

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