Feni is an Indian ancient liquor more than 400 years ago produced in India’s Beach state “GOA”. It is an important part of Goa food culture. The word feni comes from the Sanskrit word phena which means froth. It is due to bubbles comes out when liquor is shaken or poured into the glass.
Feni – Indian Liquor
The aroma of the drink is very strong that it can be smelt from a distance. Alcohol contains in the drink is 40-45% that it is very intoxicating if taken without water.
Feni received a geographical indication in 2009 that it is protected to made outside of goa like tequila and champagne. Feni has its own special fruity taste. Feni is a daily routine working-class drink but nowadays it is seen around the family dinner table, cocktail party, and social gathering.
It is free from any outside artificial flavor or material. So drinking Feni gives you great experience have never forgotten.
Feni served usually in coconut shell near beach shops and also available in taverns shop. The premium brands include Cashyo, Reals, and Big Boss. Feni is now available outside Goa too. In the US for example, it is found in cocktail menus. In Chicago, retailers serve Feni with Manhattan in a drink that is called the Long Layover.
There are various types of Feni available but according to resources Indian used to make mainly two types of Feni- Coconut Feni & Cashew Feni.
1 – Coconut Feni :-
Coconut Feni largely produced in south Goa. It is made from the flower of a coconut palm tree. The first liquid is collected from the flowers in a process called ‘toddy tapping’. An earthen pot called ‘damonem’ or ‘zamono’ is placed at the base of the coconut leaves.
Toddy collected hereafter tapping with a stick. This toddy is collected twice every day, in the morning and evening. It then flows into a second container called ‘dudhinem’ after flowing down the tree. Finally, it is poured into a clay pot. It is kept in another pot called ‘jhallo’ or ‘monn’ for 3 days for fermentation.
The Feni is prepared in a distillery called ‘soreachi bhatti’. Coconut Feni is distilled twice. The first distillate, which has 15% alcohol content, is known as ‘mollop’. It is then mixed with toddy in 4:1 ratio and distilled again.
2 – Cashew Feni :-
It is called ‘kaju feni’, this is made from ripe cashew apples. The apples are not taken from the tree, only apples which are fallen to the ground are taken. They are then de-seeded and kept in a place for stomping, which is called ‘colmbi’, make juice.
A pingre cage is now used for the stomping. The juice has been poured into a large pot and buried into the ground for three days for fermentation. But now, plastic drums are being used for storing instead of pots. Many however still use the pot. It is then boiled in an earthen pot.
Copper pots are increasingly replacing these earthen pots used for boiling. They are called ‘bhanns’. Cold water is poured continuously or a coil is immersed in the cold water for condensing the distillate. The distilling process is called ‘bhatti’. Cashew Feni is distilled thrice. The first distillate, called ‘urrack’ has 15% alcohol content.
It is then mixed with neero and distilled again to obtain ‘cajulo’. Finally, cajulo is distilled again with urrack to obtain Feni.
Feni is used as a medical precaution to cure mouth problems like tooth problems, gum issues and swelling. Feni is also useful for the problem related to cough and cold.
It heats the entire body and cleanses the respiratory system. It also helps in treating constipation and other stomach related problems. Feni has antiseptic qualities which help in curing wounds and cuts.
So next time you visit Goa do try this Indian drink!