Goa is synonymous with the intoxicating locally brewed Feni, a clear and potent drink that surely deserves is fame. There are two kinds of Feni, one which is made from palm sap drawn from shoots of coconut trees and the other, which is made from the fruit of the cashew tree. The former is known as Toddy in Goa and can be found in plenty through out the year since coconut tree shoots can yield sap all the year around. Caju or cashew feni can only be prepared around late March, during the cashew harvest season. Though other forms of liquor are available throughout the state, Feni is the best loved Goan drink.
The cashew and coconut extract are left to ferment for a couple of days and then are distilled. The first distillation yields ‘Uraq’ and further distillations yield Feni, which has 30% to 35% alcohol. This Feni is then left to mature in earthen jars, though it can also be had immediately. Feni makes for a good cocktail ingredient, and can be mixed with any number of cold drinks.
The distillation of cashew into Feni is carried out in three parts. After the cashew fruit is plucked from the tree, the nut is separated from the cashew apple. The cashew is squeezed and the juice called ‘Niro’ is procured. The niro is fermented and poured into a big earthen pots and distillation.
Despite seeming innocuous, Feni is a heady and potent drink and should not be consumed on an empty stomach.