New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia: Warning against drinking Arak (distilled palm wine)
Recent cases of severe illness (including permanent blindness), and death have been reported in Indonesia following consumption of arak. Travellers to Bali, Lombok and other parts of southeast Asia need to be cautious about drinking arak, a distilled palm wine.
Arak is often mixed with fruit juice as part of a cocktail. The illnesses and deaths have resulted from contamination of arak with toxic chemicals like methanol. The safest option for travellers would be to avoid drinking arak, or any cocktails which contain it, but if you do choose to drink it, make sure it comes from a sealed bottle from a commercial distillery.
A warning reviewed by www.safetravel.govt.nz in January 2013.