It is a taste that has traveled the world from the Dutch East Indies, unique for its ability to both add depth and lift the aromas of citrus and chocolate. 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. In pre-Prohibition America, Batavia Arrack and most notably the Swedish Punsch were essential to many now-classic cocktails. Beyond these uses, Batavia Arrack is also today found in boutique European chocolates and cocktails at Bali resorts. Before the age of cocktails we had punch, and no spirit was more celebrated and sought for punch than Batavia Arrack. The trade of Batavia Arrack dates as far back as the early 17th century, when Dutch colonialists of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) found this alluring complement to the spice trade that brought them East, and soon found its passage with these voyageurs to Amsterdam and onward to growing demand in London and old New York. More so than rums, gins or other spirits, the Batavia Arrack had then as now the extraordinary effect of elevating the aromatics of the spices and citrus notes. While historical circumstance eventually curtailed the availability and affordability of Batavia Arrack, it remains a highly sought ingredient for boutique chocolatiers and pastry chefs.
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