Arak Attack!

I have to write this quick, before I sober up and refuse to admit that I’m subject to such excess. Tonight I ordered a glass of Balinese rice wine. Brem. It comes in red or white. “I sorry, no have,” the wait staff was apologetic. I perused the menu, searching for an alternative. Beet juice, turmeric and ginger, lime fizz…nothing quite does it when all you really want is Brem.

Bali has another alcoholic drink. It’s notoriously potent. As I scanned the options I saw that Arak was one of the offerings in the extensive list. “Well, why not,” I said to myself. “No Brem…I’ll try Arak.” For the sake of the story, you need to know that I ate papaya for breakfast. Later in the day I had a slice of whole grain bread and a cup of coffee. So when I started sipping my glass of Arak with a little lime juice squeezed into it, the time was about 5:00 p.m. After two swallows I knew I had alcohol in my system. I was there to discuss joint business opportunities with a new contact.

Within 15 minutes a stunning young woman wearing a scarf that identically matched her crystalline blue eyes, arrived. She ordered the beet juice so I distinctly had the advantage. I was far wittier, more brilliant, and knowledgeable about life, love, (or is that liberty?) and the pursuit of happiness than anyone else she could ever have possibly met. However, I’ve been around awhile and I know my limitations. When my lips go numb it’s time to shut my mouth. So I did, and listened. Over the next two hours I sipped, listened, nodded, and sipped a bit more. She was delightful. We exchanged cards and she departed to keep a dinner date with her husband.

I sat as dusk gathered. The wait staff brought out candles and the tables flickered in the evening glow. I ordered a Greek salad. It arrived, neatly wrapped to take out, and I stood to leave. My eyes crossed. I took a step, stopped, focused, and took another step. I felt like two people, one of whom was stone cold sober, observing and aware of what needed to be done, and the other quite decidedly fuzzle headed and not firing on all cylinders. The two of us had a quick pow-wow and it was agreed that the stone cold sober one would walk us home. Thankfully it wasn’t far and she did a good job. Once inside the house, the full Arak attack took over and fuzzle head wasted no time. She fumbled with the knot securing the bag of salad, tried to remember where the forks were kept, and settled for a soup spoon.

I don’t drink much. One beer, one glass of wine, and I’m good. But all alcohol is not created equal, and let’s just say, Arak is in a league of its own. I’m glad I tried it. The closest thing to it, in my limited experience, is Scandinavian Aquavit…nasty stuff that should be outlawed or just used in place of diesel fuel. Arak doesn’t bite. Arak just slips down with a cozy burn. But it should come with one of those cautionary FDA labels…take only with meals…do not drive or operate heavy machinery. And I would add, WARNING: may cause temporary fuzzle-headedness!


Arak Production

Arak Production


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    May 23, 2013 @ 09:20:25

    Hehehe!! You are a hoot Sherry. What you like eh?! You should know by now that I am the most terrible lush, I’m quite open and honest about it. You’d be horrified if you saw my stash of empty wine boxes out the back. Actually even I am horrified!

    Anyway I’m really quite in awe of you because Arak is something that I’ve not yet tried. Nothing to do with the alcohol content, oh no! it’s more to do with the fact that I’ve read one to many horror stories about what gets added to it. I’m sure that the one you had was from a reputable supplier but out in the boonies there are some real rascals making it and adding methanol which as you will know is lethal. 30 mls and you are dead. End of, Finito. So, that’s why I’ve decided to give it a very wide berth. I’m told that it’s delicious and helps make men strong in the bedroom department…..;)



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      May 23, 2013 @ 09:54:55

      I’ve read the horror stories, too! But what’s a woman to do when the Brem supply dries up?! The sorry excuse for wine that they import from Australia is not an option. And I have to be in the proper mood for beer. It isn’t a natural affinity. Arak really was a pleasant surprise…smooth…and as I said, a cozy burn, not the flame-throwing scorch of Aquavit! But next time I’ll know to dilute it with an enormous meal.



      • Lottie Nevin
        May 23, 2013 @ 10:00:58

        There is no other option!! I agree with you about the wine, it’s simply foul. I have to dilute it with soda water and ice. Vodka with lots of lime juice, soda and ice is good too. I’m going to have to try this Brem, you’ve got me quite interested in it now! 😀



  2. pat grimsbo
    May 23, 2013 @ 10:39:14

    OK Daughter! This reminded me of an episode years ago with my brother Marv. It sounds as tho’ you managed your crisis fairly well, but I suggest you skip the Arak in the future – Mothers advice! Much love, Mom



  3. Sharon
    May 24, 2013 @ 10:39:22

    Good story sherry. I heard arak was pretty powerful. Good you got to watch and experience simultaneously. Likely a while before you replicate.



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