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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
How to reach Goa, India
Getting around Goa
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