It can be difficult to find Arak outside of Bali or Indonesia. If you manage to find one, make sure it is the Balinese variant you have find and not the Middle Eastern version, which tastes like anise in a way similar to pastis, raki and ouzo and won’t do anything good for your arak cocktails.
In Bali on the other hand Arak is available almost anywhere, but it comes with a warning. Many warungs – small local restaurants or shops – sell arak, often distilled locally and if you want an authentic arak experience the warungs is the place to go.
Now to the warning. There have been incidents where people have died from drinking home distilled arak, which have had methanol added to increase the alcohol percentage. Even though this is very rare, it can be a good idea to consult a local person you trust before buy arak from a local shop.
If you don’t feel like buying you arak from a warung, another option is to go to an official liquor store and buy a proper bottled arak. That is 100% safe. I cannot guarantee that you won’t end up with a minor headache though.
If you didn’t get a taste of arak while in Bali you still have the chance to grab a bottle at Denpasar airport – a great way to bring the taste of Bali back home.
Read more about Arak here: