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Jan 12, 2011 09:56 AM

Substitute for Batavia Arrack?

Contemplating some classic punch recipes, I was curious whether something like cachaca or rhum agricole blanc (esp. Neisson) would work instead of Batavia Arrack. I have tasted Arrack before, and I don't really enjoy the flavor compared with my possible substitutes, and would prefer not to throw down $ on the Van Oosten. I appreciate that Arrack includes rice in its genesis.


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  1. I think a mix of cachaca and agricole would get you into the general region. But if you don't like it, I don't see why you'd attempt to replicate it. Just make brandy punch or rum punch instead. It will still be perfectly historically accurate.

    1. It's definitely an aquired taste. When I first tasted it I thought it was nasty. Now it's my favorite thing to mix! I would say just go for it and mix it in the punch recipes. It will add a great highlight flavor.
      I don't think agricoles or cachaca are a good sub. If you really hate the idea of buying the arrack, then try to get a hold of Banks 5 Island rum. It has a small amount of arrack in it and is a very delicious rum. Banks reminds me of a lighter Smith & Cross and will be the closest thing to the arrack.

      1. Just sampled Batavia Arrack and Smith & Cross and I agree it would be a good substitute. Similar general flavor profile, but without the funkiness. I also tried Mehkong, but it is completely different.

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        5 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan

          With regard to "funk," I'm thinking that a Trinidad rum might be a bit closer to arrack. I don't know what to call the kind of funkiness those rums have but they're different -- sharper, more back of the throat -- than Jamaican rums' more molasses-tasting funkiness.

          ... if that makes any sense :-)

          I still think some cachaca in the mix would help. Not a premium brand, but something cheap and on the harsher end of the spectrum, like 51.

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Would your opinions change if I only needed something to use in place of Arrack in a homemade Swedish punsch recipe?

          2. re: EvergreenDan

            Dan, can you please describe the flavor of the Mekhong? I have been very curious abouth this bottle for some time and can't seem to find much info on it. Is it like rum like I have read? Does it have a rice flavor? I have a big rum collection and wonder if this would add anything special to the collection?

            1. re: pb n foie

              Mehkong is quite dry, without the sweetness found in molasses rums (even white ones). It has an rum-like cane-based flavor, but with a somewhat funky complexity that reminds me a bit of blended whiskey, but without any grain flavors. The bottle I have has an alcohol bite. It is interesting stuff. It is not so refined that I would be anxious to pour a glass and sip it neat, in the same way that I wouldn't with Cachaca 51, even if I'd happily mix with it. In truth I haven't played with it as much as I need to. I used it last in a Daiquiri-type drink.

              If you have a big rum collection, this would add something different to it. I would characterize it as fun, rather than a must-have bottle. It would not be a mistake bottle.

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Thanks a lot Dan! This really helps.