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Go Goa, Drink FENI

Whenever we think of a vacation where we just want to let loose or just go crazy with your friends; what is the first place in India which comes to your mind? Yes! You’re right I am talking about the party capital of India! Goa. Goa is famous for a hell lot of reasons, the culture there, the beach, the people and the amazing environment which relives all your stress for a while. Goa is famous for one more very important thing, a thing which many people around the whole world travel to get a taste of it. If you haven’t guessed it by now then the thing, I am talking about is Feni. Feni is a local alcoholic drink which you can find in Goa. Many places in India have their own specialties, Well Goa has Feni to boast of. Feni is one particular drink which is free from synthetic and artificial flavors. So, it won’t be wrong to say that it is basically like an apple drink just a little sour than the usual one.

One more good thing about Feni is that it doesn’t give you a hangover (But that doesn’t mean you go and drink a liter of it). So, people who are afraid of the hangover issue can give it a try the next time they go to Goa. Feni had originated around 400 years back so it has a hell lot of history. In this article, I would be telling you about 7 things you need to know about Goa’s Feni

7 Interesting Things About Goa’s Feni

feni goa photo
“Photo of Mapusa Carnival floats” by joegoauk69 under CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Feni, what is it? 

The first thing you need to know about this drink that its name is influenced from the word “phena”; i.e. when any liquor filled bottle is shaken you will see foam forming inside it probably that is the reason why it was named Feni. This is a kind of brandy, but a local brandy which is available only in the state of Goa. One cannot just make it anywhere because it is legally protected. It is made from the fruits of cashew tree, apples (only those are used which have fallen to ground on its own) and then they are crushed by foot in batches. The best part about Fenny is that unlike many alcohols where water is added; It boats of a distillation of 46 %. So it ensures you that you’re not drinking water in the name of alcohol.

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2. What are the different types?

The second thing that I will like to mention in this article is that this drink has many different types of varieties. If you go to a wine shop and ask for this drink then they would probably show you a lot of varieties but the original ones are the cashew feni (which has become really popular in the last several years) and the coconut feni. The coconut varient is considered to be much other than the cashew one as coconut was widely available in the region at the time when it was introduced. It is said that when the Portuguese came to India, they had introduced cashew trees which were later used to make Feni.

3. How is it made?

Like I mentioned before it is one of the few drinks which doesn’t have water mixed to maintain the purity of the drink. It goes through a very thorough distillation process due to which only 4-8% of the fermented juice becomes alcohol. First cashew apples are crushed (In this case I am taking about cashew feni) and the juices obtained from crushing are allowed to flow out of a basin to a pot that is made of mud/clay. It is then placed deep inside the ground for its fermentation process to take place. The liquid is then further distilled by placing it on fire and letting it boil. This entire process of distillation is done three times. The juice obtained from the first distillation process is known as “Urrack”, the second is called “Cazulo” (which is not available in the market due to high intoxicating properties) and the final product is “Feni”.

4. The price and where will you get it?

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Another thing that I would like to talk about Goa’s Feni is the price and where can you find it. Honestly, Feni is widely available throughout Goa, I mean if you go to any local wine shop in Goa and ask for Feni they will give it to you. The prices of Feni vary from season to season, if you go to Goa in the month of April and ask for a bottle of Feni it should cost you like Rs. 50 – 100 while the prices can go up in the offseason.

5. Does it have medicinal properties?

In my previous article, I had mentioned about Bhang and the medicinal properties it has; well coincidently Feni has medicinal properties too. The reason why Feni has medicinal properties is that it is totally natural and there no artificial flavours or synthetic materials added to it. Feni is known to get rid of cough and cold, helps to reduce fat, helps in combating constipation and has healing properties. It can be used to treat wounds and it can also be used as a cure for tooth problems and gum issues.

6. How to drink Feni?

Honestly, if you are planning on drinking Feni raw then I don’t think you will like it but people have it raw like tequila/vodka shots. Feni is generally served at room temperature and the drink would give you a hot sensation in your throat. It is said if you have it regularly then your throat gets used to it. I will have to agree that nobody is a fan of the smell of Feni; So, I will personally advise you not to smell it before you drink it.

7. Bottomline

Let’s get thing one thing straight that drinking is injurious to health, if you take it occasionally then you might benefit from it but if you take it as an addiction then it would never do you good. Make sure you get a hold of Feni the next time you visit Goa.

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These were the 7 things you need to know about Goa’s Fenni. So next time you Go Goa – Do Drink FENI!

Featured “Photo of New urrak” by Joegoauk Goa under CC BY-SA 2.0

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