Derived from the Arabic araq, meaning sweat and juice, arrack is the name for a wide range of strong, rough spirits which are distilled from whatever in- gredients are widely and cheaply available. In Asia these ingredients include fermented rice, dates, palm sap, molasses, grapes or grain.

In the Middle East and the Balkans, arrack is known under many names- raki in Turkey, ouzo in Greece, mastika in Bulgaria, zibib in Egypt and arrack in the Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Jordan. In these regions the drink is flavoured with aniseed and is superior to the fiery brews of the Far East.

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