Etymology: Ultimately Arabic, ʿaraq sweat, juice, especially in ʿaraq at-tamr ‘the (fermented) juice of the date,’ whence extended to all sorts of fermented beverages.
A name applied in Eastern countries to any spirituous liquor of native manufacture; especially, that distilled from the fermented sap of the coco-palm, or from rice and sugar, fermented with the coco-nut juice. (OED)
"The expo was as much a social affair as a scientific endeavor: as patrons wandered through exhibits about sanitation and sewers, they gulped mint juleps and spiked arrack punch and kumiss (fermented mare's milk produced by horses on-site) and generally had a gay old time."
- Sam Kean, The Violinist's Thumb and Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by our Genetic Code