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Bali’s Arak Revival Gets Set For A Fresh Boost At Tourist Hotspots

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Bali’s most famous spirit liquor, arak, was given something of a PR boost over the last few years as leaders on the island sought to promote the classic drink to tourists.

While the campaign took off in many ways, the oomph did not sustain as hoped. 

Cocktails on a bar.jpg

The second wave of the Arak revival is on the horizon as leaders and trendsetters seek to put the local spirit back on the map.

One of the most impactful ways to bring arak to the mainstream is to use the spirit as an alternative for vodka in cocktails across the island’s tourism venues, as well as create new and innovative arak-orientated cocktails for drinks menus across the province.

Speaking to reporters in Bali, Bambang Britono, who is the Chair of the Indonesian Fermentation Community Movement known as Fermenusa, explained that currently, despite efforts, traditional Indonesian alcoholic drinks are still rarely used as cocktail ingredients.

According to Britono, local spirits make the perfect base for cocktails and offer mixologists and bartenders a lot to work with, especially when trying to create something new and fresh for the rapidly growing tourism sector.

He said, “Currently, local drinks such as Cap Tikus and Arak are still rarely seen.” Cap Tikus is an alcoholic liquor derived from palm sugar and originally comes from North Sulawesi. 

Later this year, Bali will host the Food, Hotel & Tourism Bali (FHTB) 2024 summit; Britono shared his hopes with reporters that visitors and tourists in Bali who can attend will be able to celebrate the “richness of the archipelago’s fermented drinks and foods.”

While tourists who choose to drink alcohol in Bali do so at their own risk, and it must be consumed responsibly, many people have little idea that Balinese arak cocktails can be super delicious.

Depending on the producer, Balinese arak is either made using palm sugar or coconut sap. Highly refined arak can be sipped over ice like whiskey or bourbon, but most people like to drink it in a cocktail. 

Cocktail bars, restaurants, and cafes serving innovative Arak cocktails include Zest Ubud, Desa Potato Head in Seminyak, and our friends at Slushy Society in Canggu. 

For tourists who want to learn more about Arak, there are some wonderful workshops and distillery tours in Bali. At Desa Potato Head in Seminyak, tourists can book for the Akademi Cocktail Masterclass.

The workshop was held in the resort’s open-air cocktail bar.

The lab and training center offers tourists the chance to learn about classic Indonesian drinks like Arak and Jamu.

The workshop costs IDR 350,000++ and has a max capacity of four people for a really intimate and enjoyable class. All participants must be of legal drinking age in Indonesia, 21 years old. 


Arak is not simply an alcoholic beverage created, it is a deeply important part of Balinese culture. As explained by Arak Bali Cocktail, the Bali Provincial Government’s campaign to promote arak around the world, there is great traditions in drinking arak.

In fact, each shot consumed has its own name in Bahasa Bali. 

The first shot is called “Eka Padmasari,” meaning ‘healthy,’ and the second shot is called “Dwi Martani,” meaning entertaining the self.

The third shot, “Tri Kawula Busana,” means self-confidence. This is where this gets interesting and is not recommended to try.

Shot number four is referred to as “Catur Wanara Rukem.” Catur means four, wanara translates to monkey, and rukem refers to the fruit of the rukem fruit; shot number four means some monkey business is about to go down. 


Shot number five (again, not recommended) is called “Panca Sura Panggah,” which means strong and confident; it’s that brazen and emboldened feeling people get when the alcohol starts to really kick in.

Number six is called “Sad Guna Wiweka,” which suggests that folks are starting to get the wrong end of the stick.

Shot number seven, “Sapta Kukila Warsa,” refers to being like a bird in the rain because the body is beginning to be saturated with alcohol, speech may be slurred, and drinkers are feeling dizzy. 


Shots eight and nine are called Astha Kacara-cara, Nawa Wagra Lupa and number ten is “Dasa Buta Mati” which means to be deadly asleep…again…not recommended.

But if a tipple of local liquor takes your fancy, tourists can look forward to more arak cocktails on drinks menus soon to be consumed responsibly. 

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Saturday 16th of March 2024

Advertisements and promotion of alcohol is not sustainable tourism!! Promotion of alcohol leads to more deadly traffic victims. You are to blame it probably doesn’t interest you at all.


Saturday 16th of March 2024

Most retail, licenced liquor outlets sell arak.

It's government approved in sealed branded bottles, commercially produced, taxes and excise paid and safe to drink. Check the alcohol % before you go on a bender!

As a tourist I wouldn't drink it from any bar or from any random social offering.

In many celebrations like weddings and other important upacara there will be arak. This is usually safe. The organisers (family or other) deal thru and with a trusted supplier. Neither want sick or dead customers.

Much comes from Karangasam as the Regency has an oversight body checking on production cooperatives.

Even so, take it easy. You've no idea of the % alcohol which can go up to 40+.


Friday 15th of March 2024

You must be out of your mind. I will never have a cocktail or liquor on Bali. Tourists have gone blind and even died after consuming the fake drinks there.

Ann Clarke

Monday 18th of March 2024

@Deep, I wouldn’t touch it. As someone who has visited Bali every year and sometimes twice a year I refuse it every time and DEMAND my adult kids don’t have it either. Only time they’ve ever listened to me! I’m surprised they’re promoting it. Should be banned.


Friday 15th of March 2024

Ah ya, arak the Balinese Moonshine. Pure killer alcohol which should be outlawed or diluted to a safe level alcohol content.

Wayan Bo

Thursday 14th of March 2024

Should be offered across worlds airports in duty&tax free shops.


Friday 15th of March 2024

@Wayan Bo, Should be force-fed to the politicians so they have an excuse for their blindness.