[Sca-cooks] Sugar Cane

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Jan 5 16:30:17 PST 2007

Arrack was originally a wine fermented from date palm sap that later in its 
long life was distilled to produce a brandy.  More recently it has been 
fermented from other palm sap, rice and molasses.  The word derives from the 
Arabic "araq," meaning sweet juice.  The date palm brandy would be "araq 
at-tamr," according to the quick ref.

Sugarcane and palm sap wines are fairly common across Southern Asia, but 
there is not much out there on when they started being produced.  I would 
bet on the Neolithic.

Distillation is a trickier matter.  The earliest you would likely see it is 
around 800 CE due to Arab improvements in the still.  The earliest evidence 
for distillation of high proof alcohol is linked to the University of 
Montpellier about 1300.


> Are we talking about what we know as rum or are we talking more widely 
> about
> distilled spirits based on fermented cane syrups.  These may not be the 
> same
> thing.  Does anyone know what is fermented and then distilled to create 
> arak
> from Turkey and Lebanon and ouzo from Greece?  They are clear spirits that
> cloud when water is added.  Are there any early Indian/ 
> subcontinent/Ceylon
> distilled spirits based in fermented cane syrups?
> Daniel

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