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Feni, a typical Goan drink

25 August 2008 31 Comments

Feni or Fenny, as it is called, is a drink synonymous with Goa just as Scotch is synonymous with Scotland, Tequila with Mexico, or Champagne with France!
Feni, undoubtedly is Goa’s most famous triple or double distilled alcoholic drink.

There are two types of feni, both of which are made from local ingredients. Coconut or palm feni is made from the sap drawn from the severed shoots on a coconut tree. In Goa this is known as toddy, and the men who collect it are toddy tapers. One can see toddy tapers working all year round as it can be collected year-round, and so palm feni is in plentiful supply at all times.

Cashew or kaju feni, on the other hand is made from cashew apple and can only be made during the cashew season in March and April. The traditional method of making cashew feni is called the pot still method.

The cashew apple, when ripe, turns a yellow-orange color and the nut ripens inside it. When the fruit is harvested, the nuts are separated from the ‘apples’, and are laid out to dry in the sun. The apples meanwhile are placed in a pit and trampled by foot to collect the juice. Both palm toddy and Kaju juice can also be drunk fresh immediately after collection and are said to be delicious. They soon start to ferment if left for just a few hours.

In typical local method, the juice is placed in large terra-cotta pot over a wood fire; the vapor exits through a tube, which typically passes through an oil drum filled with water, below which the distillate is collected. The first distillate is called β€˜Uraq’, which is of a very low strength (10% to 15%), making it a pleasant and reasonably alcoholic drink. Distilling twice more results in good, potent feni.
By the time it comes out of the second distillation, Goa’s national drink has an alcoholic strength of around 30% to 35% proof and as per the locals, after third round it can go upto whooping 45% !

How to drink Feni- Although the feni is ready for drinking soon as it has been collected, traditionally it is sealed in huge terra-cotta jars and is left to mature for anything up to a number of years.
Many people enjoy drinking straight feni, but it’s also makes a very pleasant mix. Uraq goes well with a squeeze of lime, while feni tastes great mixed with Coke or Pepsi.
Goans are keen to offer advice not to drink it on an empty stomach and mix with other spirits and certainly don’t swim after a couple of fenis.

But the best you will hear is ‘you don’t realise how strong it is until you get up‘.

I haven’t tried it till now but will definitely give it a shot one day. πŸ˜‰

Here are some photos to illustrate the method with the help of these sculptures .

Location:– Loutolim, Goa
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  • Vands said:

    i had bought cashew feni from goa when i went there… for bro and dad of course but they didn’t quite like it…
    i havent tried it …
    did u like it?
    PS: also reminds me of ‘king uncle’, anu aggarwal was called Fenny in that πŸ˜›

  • anoop aka --xh-- said:

    havnt tried it, but want to try it one day… we @ kerala have our own liquor like this – the toddy which is taken from coconut trees. May be i will do a post on that one day :) thanks for the idea.

  • Abhijit said:

    Very interesting photo essay:-)

    Some more points :
    Feni stinks terribly.
    After consuming Feni, if you go out in open air/breeze, you go higher and higher :-)
    To reduce the high, eat bananas. :-)

  • Amey said:

    You are in love with Goa πŸ˜‰

  • Raghu said:

    I have tried Kaju Feni but didn’t like it. Yep it is really strong but the best thing about Feni is that i doesn’t give hang overs(Thats what the locals say and even i felt the same :) )

  • Jenny said:

    You know what, I never knew that cashew looked like that. Always thought it was just a nut.

  • N said:

    dont want to discourage you out of trying it…….but it tastes strange. And i have had some strange drinks in my lifetime.
    To survive a sip of this one though you need a strong stomach and whacked-out tastebuds!

  • Nomadic Matt said:

    wow! close to 50% alcohol. that must be a strong drink….too drink for me! I hate alcohol. Love beer though. any beer drinks?

    ps- Sorry I have been MIA. Traveling didn’t give me enough time to check blogs!!!! I’m back now though!!!

  • lakshmi said:

    i can see that you are still high on Goa :)

  • Trotter said:

    Can’t believe that you forgot to bring a bottle of Feni together with your comment to my post of 08.08.08 at 08h08 at Blogtrotter, now in Kos, Greece! ;)) Missed it… :((
    But it’s great to read you here, and learn all this for my future experience in Goa. One day…
    Take care. Wish you a great week!

  • Peter said:

    Obviously to be consumed with moderation!

  • Author said:

    We bought one bottle each of both types. I am yet to try it but looking at the comments I here hmmm… I’ll have to think. πŸ˜›

    LOL@Your Fenny πŸ˜€

    I think wherever we have palm or coconut trees, the liqour must be available in some form or the other.

    Aha !! So when are you posting ? πŸ˜€

  • Author said:

    Thank you.
    Eat bananas ??? Weird solution it is. πŸ˜›
    I hope you not kidding.

    Love ??? I think it’s called obsession. πŸ˜›

  • Author said:

    Yes, I heard that it stinks and no hangover ?? Are you sure ? It’s way too concentrated.

    Welcome to my blog. Ha Ha… it happens. We are so ignorant about certain things.

    Thanks for your visit. Keep coming.

    Hmmmm… now you are discouraging me from tasting it. πŸ˜›

    Heyy,N, keep coming. I love your comment.

    I have been reading your posts. No need to say sorry, you are nourishing us well thru your stories.

  • Author said:

    Ha Ha you bet !

    Yes, I checked your post. Thank you.

    Ha Ha you bet !

  • Amey said:

    I was being polite πŸ˜‰

  • Author said:

    Ha Ha Ha…. you always leave me clueless as what to say next. πŸ˜€

    Long time no see. How’re you doing ?

  • Celine said:

    Feni smells awful and the few drops that I’ve tasted had put me off.

    Freshly tapped toddy is delicious and sweet, and low on alcohol content. I’ve also eaten plucked-directly-from-tree juicy cashew apples when their alcohol content is almost negligible. Oh, they can be bright red in colour too.

    Encyclopedia on Goa.. lol.. Whoever said that was right. πŸ˜›

  • Shantanu said:

    Great post! I am not particularly fond of Feni though. I guess it is an acquired taste…

  • Author said:

    Yes dear, I also heard so. Now you don’t discourage me from tasting it. I have bought two bottles… one each of Kaju and coconut feni.

    LOL @ Encyclopedia. :p

    Thank you. I haven’t tasted it yet. πŸ˜€

  • Goa, an experience – XII (Food) said:

    […] to Goa tend to think that food and drink in Goa means the famous fish, curry, rice and the feni package I have already written about and I was no different. Not wrong completely as for most Goans these are indeed the three basic […]

  • P.N. Subramanian said:

    I liked your post particularly explainiong the process involved in the prepartion of fenny. We also bought few bottles but it really has a dirty smell. We did consume while in Goa together with lime, soda and salt and pretended to enjoy. Thanks.

  • Author said:

    Welcome to my blog. Hope you are enjoying your time here. :)

    Even we bought 2 bottles to be tasted after coming back but after listening to all my well-wishers I doubt if we are going to taste it any time. πŸ˜€

    All are saying it stinks and tastes bad. It has to be mixed with something. So, at present the bottles are adorning one corner of our house. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for your visit, I like when people really take time out to comment.

  • A said:

    Very nice.

    With your new site design, I am able to see earlier posts and they are lovely

  • Nisha (author) said:

    Thank you.
    That was the idea. Explore at your leisure, the site has lots of treasures hidden. :)
    .-= NishaΒ΄s last [post] ..Come and have a look =-.

  • Tweets that mention Le Monde – A Poetic Travail Β» Blog Archive Β» Feni, a typical Goan drink -- Topsy.com said:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nisha J. Nisha J said: A typical local Goan drink http://bit.ly/i80lQW

  • Janit said:

    Nice post…looking forward to try out the feni. :-)

  • NS said:

    hhmmm, interesting!

  • Saurabh Nagar said:

    Kaju (cashew) Feni is actually one of my favorite drinks, you should try it mixed with sprite and it will taste like ‘Appy Fizz’ trust me. I have some goan friends who produce it at their home, whenever I visit India they make sure i get feni drunk πŸ˜‰

    Recipe: I once mixed it with 1 part whisky and 1 part beer, in a few minutes, I was on the moon πŸ˜‰

  • Nisha said:

    Have you tried it now? πŸ˜›

  • Nisha said:

    Oh no! I am not going to try your recipe. Too dangerous.

    Though I can try the other alternative of taking it with Sprite. :)

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