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Cashew Feni, the Most Popular Goan drink

feni goa

Feni or Fenny, is believed to have originated in the state of Goa, and it is thought to have been invented by the Portuguese and is now a traditional drink synonymous with Goa just as Scotch is synonymous with Scotland, Tequila with Mexico, or Champagne with France! Cashew Feni, undoubtedly is Goa’s most famous triple or double distilled alcoholic drink and depending on the process used, feni may have even 40% v/v alcohol. 

This article has been updated with more contents on 25th February 2022

Feni Goas most popular alcoholic drink
Cashew Apple with the cashew nut outside the fruit

There are two types of non cashew 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. This is known as toddy, in Goa and many other places in India and the men who collect the sap are toddy tappers. One can see toddy tappers working all year round. So palm feni is in plentiful supply at all times.

The more popular cashew feni is a spirit made mostly from the fermentation of cashew apple juice. It is served in restaurants and bars, and is also available for purchase in liquor stores.

The taste of feni varies, depending on the main ingredient, cashew apple ,  coconut sap, or  palm sap which are then mixed with spices.  Coconut feni is smoother and has a nutty flavor, while palm feni is stronger and has a more bitter taste. Cashew feni on the other hand has a fruity and strong flavor.  

Feni is served in a variety of ways. It can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed with other drinks. It can also be used to make cocktails.It is affordable and easy to find. It is also a flavorful drink that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

So what is cashew feni and how is it made?

The Process of Making Cashew Feni

Cashew or kaju feni is made from cashew apples and can only be made during the cashew season in March and April, making it a seasonal activity. The traditional method of making cashew feni is called the pot still method. The process of making Cashew Feni is a lengthy one that takes about two weeks to complete.

Feni Goas most popular alcoholic drink
Selecting and crushing (trampling), the cashew apples

The cashew apple, when ripe, turns a yellow-orange color and the nut ripens outside it. Yes cashew is one of the very few fruits where the nut grows outside the fruit.!  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 or crushed by juicer, 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.. The extracted juice is then transferred to a fermentation vessel and left to ferment for about 10 days.

In a typical local method, the juice is placed in a large terra-cotta pot over a wood fire; the vapour 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 ‘Uraq’ or ‘Urak’, which is of a very low strength (10% to 15%), making it a pleasant alcoholic drink. Distilling twice more results in a good, potent feni.

Crushing spices to add to the liqueur
addning spices to the cashew feni

Goan Feni is often flavoured with spices like cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. 

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 whopping 45% ! Beware how you consume it now! 

It is said that Cashew Feni will continue to ferment in bottles over time, so it’s best if it’s consumed within a few months of being made.

cashew Feni Goas most popular alcoholic drink
Bottling the cashew feni

How to drink Cashew 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 also makes a very pleasant mix with other juices. Uraq goes well with a squeeze of lime, while feni tastes great mixed with cola drinks.

Goans often advice not to drink it on an empty stomach and mix with other spirits and certainly not to swim after a couple of fenis.

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

cashew Feni Goas most popular alcoholic drink
Cashew Feni, the Most Popular Goan drink 15

Cashew Feni Cocktails 

Mixing Cashew Feni with other cocktails is a great way to add a touch of Indian flavor to your drinks.

Cashew Feni cocktails are a delicious and unique way to enjoy this traditional Indian liquor. You may combine it with other flavors to create a unique and delicious cocktails. Some of the flavors that work well with Feni include citrus, ginger, and coconut.

The cocktails are perfect for a party or any other gathering and they are sure to be a hit with everyone. They are easy to make, and the ingredients can be easily found at most stores. If you are looking for a unique and delicious drink to enjoy, then be sure to try a Cashew Feni. Here are some recipes for you to try. 

Feni Mojito

Crush the apple slices with the sugar in the bottom of a highball glass. Stir thoroughly and top with ice. Add the Kazkar Feni cashew apple liqueur, top off with apple juice and stir. Garnish with an apple wheel and lime wedge, and serve.

Ginger Feni

Add 60ml Feni to a tall glass and squeeze the ginger juice using a strainer.Drop in the ice cubes. Pour the lemonade into the glass from a height in short bursts

Urak or Uraq

Even Urak may be used to create innovative cocktails with Limca or Sprite and a wedge of lemon. 🙂 

We will be happy if you share here your own recipes of cashew feni cocktails! 😀

Some Dos and Don’ts about Feni

  • Do not swim after consuming feni.
  • Do not drink it on an empty stomach.
  • Mix feni with other alcoholic drinks at your own risk.
  • Urak is milder and fruitier than Cashew feni.
  • If you can handle it, drink neat!

Useful Information about Goa

Goa Weather

The weather in Goa is sultry, tropical, with a wet and a dry season. The temperature is usually around 30 degrees Celsius, with a fair amount of humidity. The rainy season is from June to September, and the rest of the year is mostly dry. While December to February is the best time to visit, as it is not as hot and the rains have stopped, Goa in rains has its own charm.

Where to stay in Goa, India

There are accommodations available in Goa for every budget and preference. You may check out the following links as per your choice.

For best deals in Luxury hotels, Click here

For best deals in Midrange hotels, Click here

For best deals in budget hotels, Click here

How to reach Goa, India

Getting around Goa

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35 thoughts on “Cashew Feni, the Most Popular Goan drink”

  1. 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 😛

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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 🙂 )

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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!

  8. Vandita,
    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. 😛

    LOL@Your Fenny 😀

    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 ? 😀

  9. Abhijit,
    Thank you.
    Eat bananas ??? Weird solution it is. 😛
    I hope you not kidding.

    Love ??? I think it’s called obsession. 😛

  10. Raghu,
    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. 😛

    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.

  11. 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. 😛

  12. Celine,
    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. 😀

  13. 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.

  14. PNS,
    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. 😀

    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. 😀

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

  15. 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 😉

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

  16. Urrack and feni are not mass produced and are made using traditional methods of distilling the cashew juice over a fire in mud sealed drums. There’s no preservative or artificial flavor in the drink which makes it an organic drink.

  17. I quite enjoy cashew feni… infact, when I’m in Goa, I drink either cashew feni or beer.
    If it is a good, matured feni, I sip it on the rocks… else, I drink feni with half Lemonade & half water (cuts the sweetness of the lemonade).
    I have once been in Goa in May and have been lucky to taste fresh Uraak – the product of the first distillation in the feni distillation process. Fresh Urqak is available during the cashew season – around May, June. It is different from feni, with a slightly sourish tinge and a very fresh favour.

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