The history of Sri Lanka extends over 2,500 years and there was only one drink favoured by the great Kings of Sri Lanka. Arrack.
Today, Sri Lanka is the world's largest producer of coconut arrack.
Other than water, the entire manufacturing process is based on the fermentation and distillation of a single ingredient-the sap of unopened flowers from a coconut palm. Each morning, toddy tappers move among the tops of coconut trees using connecting ropes - not unlike tightrope walkers - collecting the flowers and a single tree may contribute up to two litres a day.
Because of its concentrated sugar and yeast content, the liquid quickly ferments into a mildly alcoholic drink called "toddy." Within a few hours the toddy is poured into large wooden vats made from Teak or Halmilla trees. Fermentation is allowed to continue in the vats until the alcohol content reaches 5-7%.
Distillation is a two-step process involving both pat stills and continuous stills and the entire process is completed within 24 hours.
Various blends of coconut arrack emerge in the processing, yet the extracted spirit may be repeatedly distilled or filtered or transferred back into Halmilla vats for maturing up to 15 years, depending on flavour, colour and fragrance requirements.
Arrack is usually sold in two strengths. A slightly weaker version containing 33.5% alcohol and the premium version that is 100% pure arrack and 34% strength.
It is the latter that we bottle after a lengthy maturation process and label as Special Reserve.