How coconut sap becomes Arrack

Two men walk in to a bar. They're in Ceylon and the year is 1924. It was the Prohibition Era in much of Europe and the United States. Manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors was forbidden by law. The two friends had just set up a new company. It was the Rockland Distillery. One of the founders JBM Perera had accepted a contract from the British government, which was ruling Ceylon as the country was called at the time, to produce Arrack on a commercial scale. Rockland was the first European style distillery on the island. 

Fast forward four generations to the present day and the founders' families still produce Arrack in Sri Lanka. The process is the same as it was in 1924 which accounts for the consistency in its taste. The distillery has remained a family business and today distributes Arrack around the world delivering a taste that is uniquely Sri Lankan. Ceylon Arrack is only one of the many brands produced by the distillery. Yet most of the production centres around the coconut tree.

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Arrack contains just two ingredients: coconut flower sap (locally known as toddy) and water. Ceylon Arrack, unlike the traditional drink, is also aged in barrels for a smoother taste to appeal to its newer international market. When you visit Sri Lanka head out of Colombo and you may spot toddy-tappers walking on tight ropes tied between coconut trees. To collect the toddy the coconut flower is first beaten for three days. Then a small cut is made allowing the sap to drain. The tapper climbs the tree and ties a container to the flower to collect the sap. Remarkably the mildly intoxicating and sweet sap begins fermenting naturally and immediately because of the yeasts and sugar in it. It's then distilled to around 60% alcohol before water is added to lower the alcohol content to around 40%. The higher the toddy content better quality of the Arrack. 

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We are proud to champion Ceylon Arrack at The Coconut Tree. It feels the most natural collaboration after all. So, we've come up with a whole host of ways that you can enjoy our Arrack from home. The Drunken Sri Lankan, TCT Old Fashioned, Sri-presso Martini, Coco Passion and Ruby's Mum all contain Sri Lanka's beloved Ceylon Arrack. We'll let you in to a little secret too. Give our Drunken Sri Lankan made of Arrack with all the flavours of Sri Lanka and served in a very special Ruby (check her out in the image below), a try. It's our most popular cocotail in that it's ordered more than any other. We are certain that one taste of it would be enough to make anyone understand the diligent process that goes in to making Arrack. It's all in the taste.  


Bringing us all things Sri Lanka, straight from the elephant's mouth, is travel blogger and all-round island girl Demi Perera. Demi is the creator and editor of her own popular e-zine Girl Travels World. In her spare time she loves to recline on her hammock under a coconut tree. What we have here is a match made in heaven... 👏👏👏