Batavia Arrack van Oosten

$$ — 50% ABV — No Age Stated

For those whom traditional Jamaican rum still isn't funky enough, look no further. Van Oosten had the jazz back when rum was but a twinkle in the eye of some British sailor.

While it is made almost entirely from molasses, the difference between arrack and rum is the difference between Mariah Carey and Jim Carey. Why? A very small percentage of red rice is included in the wash, which adds a tanginess not found in Caribbean rum. It's that tang that lets this pair so well with limes.

This arrack is distilled in pot stills on Java, Indonesia's most populous island. When the Dutch East Indies controlled the spice Islands, Jakarta was called Batavia. And Batavia arrack was a major export, along with nutmeg, peppercorn, coffee and many other luxuries we now take for granted as staples of the modern diet.

Crazes for other drinks left arrack by the wayside. But the modern bartender, on a rededicated quest for the authentic cocktail, was happy to find arrack's main producer E&A Scheer never stopped making arrack. Nor have their methods changed much since they were first described by 1820s Batavian courtiers. Once in Amsterdam, this Javan spirit is aged in teakwood barrels for around two months before being blended and bottled.

The OGL and KWT distilleries are located in Java, Indonesia. E&A Scheer is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Established in 1712, it remains an independent producer. Van Oosten is imported to the USA by Hauz-Alpenz.