White Lion VSOA Review and a Brief History of Arrack


Marco Polo commented on the production of arrack in his 13th century travelogue II Milione. It has remained essentially unchanged all these years. He wrote:

“Nor have they any wine except such as I shall now describe. You must know that they derive it from a certain kind of tree that they have. When they want wine they cut a branch of this, and attach a great pot to the stem of the tree at the place where the branch was cut; in a day and a night they will find the pot filled. This wine is excellent drink, and is got both white and red. It is of such surpassing virtue that it cures dropsy and sick and spleen.”
The Travels of Marco Polo, 1292

This spirit is not to be confused with Arak or Batavia Arrack as they are completely different spirits. Arak is from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, and flavored with aniseed. Batavia Arrack is from Indonesia and is distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice. Lastly we have Coconut Arrack which is from Sri Lanka and is distilled from the naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers. VSOA cannot be referred to arrack in the US. This is because in the US, the alcohol laws strictly define this word and related spellings (arak, arack, araka, raki, etc) to apply only to aniseed spirits.

VSOA is distilled from naturally fermented coconut nectar before being mellowed for 2 years in barrels of Halmilla Wood.

It is a rich golden amber color. It has a very sweet aroma that is slightly nutty with hints of vanilla and tropical fruits with a slight vegetal note in the background.

On the palate it reminds be of a sweeter rum and a fruiter whiskey all rolled into one with a slight vegetal funk (in a good way). The notes of vanilla and tropical fruits are present in the taste with a nutty finish.

Overall this is an excellent and unique product. Give it a try ad it’s one not to be missed.

White Lion VSOA retails for around $26/750ml and comes in at 36.8% alcohol per volume.

VSOA Old Fashioned
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
.25 oz All spice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1 tsp of Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Fee’s Old Fashioned Bitters Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass.

Passion fruit Daiquiri

2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Passion fruit Syrup
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Ceylon Swizzle
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Ginger Liqueur (Domaine De Canton)
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass. Garnish with orange wheel. I prefer to garnish it with a lemon. Notes: The drink has a nice honeyed tropical taste to it. It was a touch sweet for my tastes and I would cut down on the simple syrup to .75 oz. Adding a couple dashes of orange flower water adds a subtle floral touch and is a nice match for the honey like notes in the drink.

Review sample was provided by White Lion VSOA.

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Mixology Monday – Tiki

Ever since I started blogging I have waited for Mixology Monday to arrive. February is Tiki Month and it is only fitting that this Mixology Monday be Tiki themed. This time it is hosted by the Pegu Blog.

My first drink for MxMo is a riff on Rum Dood’s Improved Rum Fizz which is a variation of Trader Vics Rum Fizz. After reading up on both drinks I decided to take Rum Dood’s advice and offer my own variation on the drink. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was mix orange soda with International Delight French Vanilla Coffee Creamer which produced an awesome orange cream soda. I used this as inspiration for my Improved Rum Fizz #2

Improved Rum Fizz #2
2oz Banks 5 Island Rum
.5oz Curacao
.5oz Lemon juice
.5oz Lime juice
2tsps Vanilla Syrup
.75oz Heavy Whipping Cream
.5oz egg white
2dashes of orange bitters
1oz Virgil’s Orange Cream Soda
Pour all ingredients except for the soda into a cocktail shaker and dry shake for approximately 20 seconds. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake for close to 1 minute. Pour the orange cream soda in the bottom of a glass then strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Express a orange twist over the top of the drink and discard.

The rum comes through and makes itself known without overpowering the drink. The bitters, curacao, and soda dance along your taste buds providing them with an array of orange notes that awaken the senses. This combines wonderfully with orange aroma from the essential oils that are sitting on the egg white cloud. The dryness of the curacao and bitters help to cut down on the sweetness. The drink has a silky smooth texture with all the flavors playing in harmony.

My second drink was originally created for a friend of mine who really loves coffee. So I gave her the honor of naming of it and out came the Starbuck (named after the character from Battlestar Galactica, not the famed coffee spot).

2oz Gold Jamaican Rum
.5oz White Rum (10 Cane)
.5oz Coco Lopez (coconut cream)
.5oz Fresh Brewed Coffee (Yemen Mocha)
.25 Allspice Dram
1oz Banana Liqueur
1oz Lemon juice
2dashes of Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime shell filled with coconut. Torch the coconut with a light flame to toast.

The frutiness of the coconut cream and banana liquer combine well with flavor provile of the Blackwell Rum that I used. The coffee keeps it from being too sweet and adds a hint of chocolate in the background. The Angostura and the Allspice dram add a hint of spiceness throughout.