Feni - Drink of Goa
One of the most commonly spoken word in Goa countryside is feni. And the reason is not difficult to understand because feni is the name of the most popular
local drink among hard drinks.
There are two types of feni’s - Cashew feni and Coconut feni. Cashew feni is made out of the juice of cashew apples whereas coconut feni is made from the toddy collected by toddy tappers. While coconut feni has it’s own charm, cashew feni is preferred by many because of it’s flavour, between the two, cashew feni costs more.
In the traditional method of making cashew fenny, the cashew apples are manually crushed in a rock on the hill which is carved or shaped like a basin with an outlet for the juice, called a Coimbi. The juice is collected in a huge earthen pot called a Kodem, which is buried in the ground. The juice is then distilled in earthen or copper pots.
When the cashew apples are crushed, the pulp is arranged in the shape of a cake in the coimbi and tied with a string. A huge boulder is then placed on top of it. The final quota of juice which trickles out in a clean form is called Neero. Many people like to drink Neero since it helps bowel movement and provides relief from constipation.
The traditional method of distilling cashew fenny takes place on the hill. The cashew juice is put in a big pot called a Bhann. The Bhann serves as a closed boiler. It is connected to a smaller pot called Launni by means of a conduit. The Launni serves as a receiver or collector.
The juice in the big pot is then boiled by burning firewood under it. As the process of vaporisation and distillation goes on and the concentrated liquid collects in the smaller pot, the pressure in the receiver is kept in check by pouring cold water on it, typically with a wooden ladle. The first stage of processing may be done on big fire but the later stage of distillation has to be done on slow fire to keep the pressure and heat under control. The process of distilling fenny with such apparatus takes about 8 hours and is locally called Bhatti.
It is possible tell from a distance that fenny is being distilled since the surrounding area is filled with its aroma.
The liquor produced from cashew is of three grades: Urrac, Cazulo and Feni. The Urrac (Arrack) is the product of first distillation. It is light and can be consumed neat. Its strength ranges between 14 and 16 grao. However, when consumed in excess, Urrac intoxicates the mind like any other hard liquor. The Urrac is often consumed with orange or lemon.
The Cazulo is the product of second distillation. It is moderately strong. The Cazulo can be consumed either neat or in a diluted form depending upon the constitution of the drinker. It is no longer seen on the market today.
Fenny is the product of the third distillation. Its strength ranges between 20 and 24 grao. It has a long shelf life. Now that the Cazulo is not made, fenny is produced after the second distillation itself. The second or third-hand fenny is a product par excellence.
The most unique characteristic of Feni is its distinct smell that can be detected from quite a distance when Feni is being distilled. The quality of genuine Feni is determined by its aroma. The Feni that is produced after the third distillation is a product that is known for its excellence and high quality. This Feni is quite strong and one gets carried away by the aroma itself when the bottle is opened and Feni is poured in a glass. Fenny can be enjoyed neat as well as a cocktail since it has a versatile base. So when you do visit Goa, make sure you enjoy the beauty of the place with this intoxicating drink in your hand to add to the fun.
Some of the common cocktails in Goa:
55ml cashew feni
juice of 1 lemon
2 cardamon pods
a dash of ginger
1 cashew nut for garnishing
Stir all the ingredients in a pitcher and strain and pour into glass. Garnish with a piece of cashew nut.
Put ice in a tall glass. Add 1 measure of Coconut Feni, 1 measure of rum, juice of half a lemon, two dashes of Angostura Bitters, 1 tsp of sugar. Stir and top with 2 measures of orange juice, a sprinkling of nutmeg. Decorate with a slice of orange and a sprig of mint.
GOA DE SUSEGADO
50ml cococnut feni ( madd)
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp sugar
250 ml soda + ice cubes
Garnishing: coconut piece
Place all the ingredients in a blender, blend well and pour into a narrow glass. Decorate with a round slice of coconut and an ice cube floating in it to catch a bit of this liquid sunshine.
SOL DE ORANGE
Pour 1 measure of Coconut Feni into a tall glass with plenty of ice. Top with two measures of orange juice. Garnish with a slice of orange. For a longer drink ... Top with lemonade or soda-water.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK TODAY??????????????