Talk:Arak (drink)

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Are absinth and arak anyway related? 04:29, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

The Dayak also have a liquor named arak. Is there a relationship between the two? It would be rather a coincidence if the names had separate origins. But it is unlikely that this arak is made of grapes. DirkvdM 10:04, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

See the arrack article for further information. Arabs had distillation and dissemenated it through trade, hence the name rather stuck for any distilled beverage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Arak and Islam[edit]

Aren't these nations predominately islamic? Doesn't islam forbit the consumption of alcohol? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:09, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you are absolutely correct. Hence, many are "Good Catholics" and go to religious service and shirk where it is a human thing to do. Welcome to the REAL world, where OBSERVANCE is variable in matters of religion. Or politics. Or even weather preference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:38, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
The region had 1000 years of Ottoman rule, and the Ottomans were generally more relaxed and tolerant on religious matters. Not to mention the region was formerly more ethnically and religiously diverse. Ottomans drank and smoked, and there are even depictions of Mohammed in Ottoman art. In a way, Islam is going through the equivalent of a Reformation right now - let's not forget early Protestants were very extreme, even violent, fundamentalists.Gymnophoria (talk) 22:34, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Sweet or sweat?[edit]

The article says arak comes from '"Arabic araq عرق" meaning sweat. Is that accurate? Moriori 09:00, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm afraid so. Delicious, no? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:41, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Remind me never to try it. ):- Moriori 21:46, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the name arak is the same as sweat, the same word may have two meanings, one of them could be sweat.. not sure though, trying it shouldn't depend on the name :-P Charbelgereige 23:20, 25 March 2006 (UTC) (Charbel)

My friend, a native-born Lebanese by the name of Ferris Fawaz, tells me that the meaning "sweat" is quite natural since during distillation, the equipment forms condensate in the form of droplets--it sweats. So it doesn't refer to human sweat, but to the condensate.Darylchris (talk) 00:46, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, Arak is a same word, but has two meanings. The drink and the sweat. We sometimes joke about that in Lebanon. Cheers

All the more for me... --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:25, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

I think I've ironed out the kinks in the language of the entry, and accordingly I have removed the 'clean-up' template. If anyone thinks it needs more work, by all means, have at.

Is it still necessary to keep the 'clean-up' tag? I'm considering removing it, any one disagree? Charbelgereige 12:27, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

It is mentionned in the Preparation section that alcohol is called 'spirtou' in arabic. It is actually called 'sbirtou'. The letter P does not exist in the Arabic alphabet.

Read this discussion after (re)inserting 'meaning sweat'. The article states, "The word comes from Arabic ˤaraq" and the edit relies on this statement. The edit adds insight since 'to sweat' is a metaphoric reference to the distillation process. Ideally, an editor with strong knowledge of Lebanese culture or language should confirm that arak actually derives from the noun 'sweat' (or vice versa). (The informed post above by Darylchris advises only that the word currently has two meanings and does not refer the history of the word.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pololei (talkcontribs) 09:19, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

OK, real simple, you'll sweat when drinking a volume of it, over 100 proof. It's also INTENSE. It's also, TYPICALLY, sweet. It's also a GREAT anise extract for cooking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


There seems to be a bit ot contoversy about where this drink actually came from, Zahle or Syria or Both.... Can anyone in the know correct these bits (or just remove them) --Dean Earley 10:03, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

It came from Lebanon.--N-G-50 (talk) 15:58, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

References? Let me guess, you're Lebanese. If you don't have credible references, don't make up things. The simple fact is that it's the main traditional alcoholic beverage in both countries and it's been so for a very long time. Trying to go deeper than this fact makes it a silly political debate. Cheers to all Lebanese and Syrian Wikipedians :) (talk) 01:36, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

AND MAYBE FROM GEORGIA? In Georgia we have the same drink called 'ARAKI' made the same way as it is described here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:04, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


Since it's made iin Arab countries...and they are Islamic countries...don't you see the connection? Islam forbides any consumption of alcohol and yet it is produced in countries which claim to implement Sharia Law. It is Legal or illegal? LOTRrules (talk) 18:36, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

It is perfectly legal. Most poeple who make/drink it are christians anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

That is a very ignorant question.Alcohol is leagal in most arab countries just because they have a majority of muslims does not mean that alcohol is illeagal.Besides there are many christians in these arab countries and even muslims drink it my aunt and father do too.They love it.--N-G-50 (talk) 15:56, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Not all arab countries implement Sharia Law and alcohol is legal there in most arab countries. traditionally it is prepared by Christians but there is no rule about that. --Histolo2 (talk) 20:50, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd hazard that if Christians didn't make it, :gasp: Jews would. Don't buy into the hysteria of Sharia law and Islam. People are people, regardless of WHERE in the world you meet them. My best drinking buddy when I was deployed was a rather devout, otherwise, Saudi man. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:42, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I've heard some Muslims allow alcoholic beverages that are made from anything which is neither grape nor grain. You would have to check that, though. . Like the people above said, Sharia isn't enforced in all Arab/majority Muslim countries. People are people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:39, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Recent reverts by Zlerman and George Al-Shami[edit]

You have twice reverted my edit of this article without explanation. You have made reference to WP:LEAD and WP:MOS.

I re-read WP:LEAD and found my edit to be in full compliance with it.

If you have specific points to make concerning WP:MOS, please state them here, and I will address them. But I am not going to respond to vague references to unspecified deviations from MOS. Wahrmund (talk) 19:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I apologize in advance for the length of my reply to Wahrmund's comment, but I did not want to be accused again of "vagueness". First I should note that the onus of explanation and justification is on the editor who makes bold changes in an established version, such as Wahrmund made on 29 December 2008, not on the editors who subsequently revert the unexplained changes. Having said that, I will give some examples of what I consider to be inconsistent with Wikipedia style and practice in Wahrmund’s version. I will start with purely technical issues, and leave the substantive question of what arak is until later.
  1. There is a Wikipedia article for Raki. Therefore raki should not be used as an alternative name to arak (bolded in parentheses immediately after arak), but wiki-linked (like ouzo) later in the lead.
  2. Alternative names (such as the Arabic araq, including Arabic script and pronunciation) should immediately follow (in bold face) the main name, and not appear on a separate line later.
  3. References to sources are usually not given in the first sentence of the lead: they belong in the body of the text or, in exceptional cases, may appear in subsequent sentences of the lead.
  4. Quotations should be given in the text, not in the lead.
  5. The lead is a compact one or two paragraph summary/introduction to the whole article. It should not be laid out as a sequence of one-line sentences.
  6. According to the main article Ouzo, this is a Greek drink, not a Turkish/Greek drink. Dictionary definitions generally seem to agree with this view (including the problematic Oxford dictionary). Raki is the equivalent drink in Turkey (despite what Oxford dictionary says: consult other dictionaries).
  7. It is always helpful to the reader to give homonyms: that is why we mention arrack (despite the total confusion that reigns in all dictionaries on the subject of arak/arrack), and that is why we should mention the Armenian ‘’aragh’’ (instead of throwing it out).
  8. As I am writing this, it suddenly occurs to me that absinthe is not mentioned in the article in connection with aniseed. This should probably be rectified, although Pastis and Absinthe appear under “See also” and in the “Alcoholic beverages” template at the bottom of the article.
Now to the substantive definition of arak. The Wikipedia article defines arak as “a clear, colourless, unsweetened aniseed-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink, produced and consumed in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, and Jordan.” In my view, this sharp and precise definition is the main achievement of Wikipedia, given the hopelessly garbled definitions in all dictionaries (and even in Britannica), where for some reason arak is always confused with arrack. Now, Wahrmund disagrees with this definition and quotes Walton, Stuart; Miller, Norma (2002). An Encyclopedia of Spirits & Liqueurs and How to Cook with Them. New York: Hermes House (p. 15) in support of the alternative view (he also adds Eastern Europe to the geographical origins of arak). Now, this is an alternative view, not necessarily a universally accepted view. Instead of making such a bold substantive change in the original article arak, Wahrmund should have raised the issue for discussion on the talk page. In parallel, this alternative view could have been worked into the main article as a separate section, quotation and all. This would have only enriched the existing text, without throwing overboard the earlier contributions of other editors. --Zlerman (talk) 02:53, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Most of the technical points cited above by Zlerman are of no great consequence and cold easily be accommodated. I note Zlerman's repeated use of "should," "should not," and "usually" without providing any support from WP:MOS, which he cited in his edit summaries. It is clear that he should have simply re-edited the article instead of undertaking a mass revert.
Now to the definition of arak. Zlerman states that "Wahrmund disagrees with this definition and quotes Walton, . . . ." I have not disagreed, I have merely cited pertinent, authoritative references in an article which had not had even a single one.
Please read WP:NOTLEX, the gist of which is that editors are not allowed to invent new meanings of words and then insert these in Wikipedia. But Zlerman states that the dictionary definitions are "hopelessly garbled" (including Britannica) and dismisses NOAD2 as "problematic."
Local usage of a word, whether in the Middle East or any other region, does not trump the definitions in the major English-language dictionaries, which are relied upon by a world-wide readership.
If Zlerman wishes to adduce conflicting definitions of arak, he should do so -- a new section could be added with definitions and usage.
I will re-edit this article at a later date. Wahrmund (talk) 22:56, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I would like to call everybody's attention to the fact that standard print dictionaries (at the least the five that I have consulted) do not define arak at all: they all define arrack, without distinguishing between the Levantine grape-based spirit (arak in Wikipedia) and the Southeast Asian spirit distilled from other ingredients (arrack in Wikipedia). The same applies to Britannica, where only arrack is found, again without distinguishing between the two varieties or even mentioning arak. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary lists arak, but only to say that this is "var. of ARRACK" (1993, vol. I, p. 106). So it seems to me we have two options: (a) let Wikipedia innovate by keeping the article arak for the Levantine grape-based spirit (in parallel with arrack for the Southeast Asian spirit); or (b) follow the usage of the standard dictionaries, focus on arrack, and transform arak into a simple redirect to arrack (much less desirable in my view). Keeping arak as the main article and inserting definitions other than Levantine grape-based spirit seems unacceptable to me. Perhaps this should be discussed by the community before we take further action. --Zlerman (talk) 02:49, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
The article distinguishes between arak and arrack, so that is not a problem for Wikipedia. It remains to clearly distinguish between arak and raki if the two articles are to kept separate (not merged). Obviously, there is a widespread belief (at least outside the Middle East) that the two spirits are same thing.
A redirect from arak to arrack would not be a good idea. Wahrmund (talk) 20:46, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Merging 'Arak' with 'Arrack'[edit]

These both speak about virtually the same beverage with arab/persian origins. It would be best to try to incorporate the points in the latter (referring specifically to South Asian 'Arrack' with this one. My two cents. (talk) 00:16, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Merge is out of the question. Totally different beverages with different ingredients, different tastes, different colors, and different origins. Please read the respective articles carefully. --Zlerman (talk) 03:14, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


Its an arabic name, so that should be the only translation. Other languages are not relevant. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 14:03, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Also this reliable BBC source say its an Arabic drink: [1], so therefor we cant say that its a "traditional drink" in a non-Arab country. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 14:24, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

As an American Jew I feel compelled to point out that Arak is a very common drink among Jews during passover as it is one of the few varieties of alcoholic beverage that can regularly be found hechshered as Kosher for Passover. I will attempt to find some reputable sources, but a pass through any Kosher liquor section can confirm at least that much. Bigbald (talk) 01:11, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I've also been quite a few nations that are NOT native Arabic speakers who drink the same arak, but have very little else in common with Arabic culture, foods, drinks or much else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:45, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


This source [2] is about the Government of Palestine, not Israel. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 09:19, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Too much arrack in lede[edit]

The lede currently includes this partial-paragraph:

Given that we have a hat saying "not to be confused with arrack, this seems to be just taking it right back into confusion. I submit that we just say somthing like "a similar term, arrack applies to a variety of East Asian liquors made from coconut palm, or rice." Objections? MatthewVanitas (talk) 16:22, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

JUST enough Arrack in the lede, to dispurse confusion of the literate reader. We cannot do much for either the semi-illiterate or the inexperienced in the vast numbers of similar sounding beverages, save to point them at the Arrack article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Matthew. It's quite clear from the pressence of the hatnote, and the other three mentions in the text, that the similarly named Indonesian drink is covered at the arrack article. This article is specifically about the anise-flavored, grape-based distilled liquor common in the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia. Not to mention the utterly unencyclopedic nature of quoting a price. I have removed it. And the IP is acting in an extremely uncivil and insulting manner by questioning the literacy of anyone who can clearly see that the addition made the issue more, not less, confusing. Plus he can't spell disperse. oknazevad (talk) 05:59, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Palestine vs. Israel labeling[edit]

In the history of this article, there seems to be some back and forth between labeling things as "Palestine" vs. "Israel". I have reverted the last several submissions because they (a) removed "Israel" from a list of countries without providing a reason, and (b) replaced "Israel" with "Occupied Palestine" in another location where the reference clearly cited Israel. However, I know that in the past these revisions have gone the other way, as per the "Source" discussion on this page. I think we need to be vigilant in checking these revisions and making sure that changes are not inflammatory or incorrect in either direction. Metromoxie (talk) 22:45, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Controversy part[edit]

I'm going to remove the part where they talk about a case of methanol poisoning because the source was actually talking about an Asian Arrack (or Arrak as has been discussed before) from Bali, it has nothing to do with Middle-Eastern Arak. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RamiTounsi (talkcontribs) 22:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Replace Kewar image with a better one[edit]

The current image is a bit blurry and hard to see.mI happen to have three bottles of Kewar 53, which is a stronger arak that also has black text so it should be easier to see. I can also give it a better background. Anyone object? Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 25 Shevat 5775 18:36, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

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