Fantastic feni

Oh! Monsoons make me think of Goa and Goa, feni. There’s nothing like enjoying a glass of feni in this weather at home or in a shack by the beach. Pure bliss.

The first time I ever tasted feni, many aeons ago, I simply gulped it. My host looked askance. And then began my ordeal. I was out of sorts for the entire next day.

Feni gets its name from the Konkani word, fena, which means “froth”.  This twice-distilled “unofficial state drink”, Feni can be made from two sources – sap of coconut palm (coconut feni) or juice of cashew apple (cashew or “kaju” feni).  And Goa has both these in abundance. Goans generally prefer Cashew feni over Coconut feni, at least those with a sophisticated taste. The longer the feni matures, the better it tastes. A three-year old Feni is considered good. The true test of a good feni is the colour of the flame. Yes, when burnt, the flame should be blue. That indicates its’ purity.

It is not as if only we Goans are fond of our feni. Otehrs swear by it too. Bartenders love it for its versatililty.It is heady. The aroma is distinct and you can sniff it a mile away. If used cleverly, great cocktails can be created. Kazkar Feni is typically used in cocktails.

As if drinking feni is not enough, we Goans use it in our coking too. Goans usually spike their Sorpotel (a Goan delicacy made of pork) with Feni and it is also used to  cure ham. It gives it a special flavour.

Be careful if you are having it fir the first time. Don’t go overboard like I did. Go slow. You may not even enjoy it. It gorws on you. But the best way to experience feni is at the roadside stalls that line the coastal highways when it is pouring. Ooh ! that experience is unparalleled.

I can go on and on about feni till the monsoons end, but don’t worry. I will not. Instead, I shall head to Goa soon to enjoy a glass. You too must try it when you’re in Goa next. No liquor in the world can give you the enjoyment, this rustic drink does. It has gone the world over already.


2 responses »

  1. Ah! feni!! It was sometime in 2001 that Tarique, my husband, tired after running around while working as a volunteer for Linux Bangalore conference (now called FOSS.IN) thought he’d should take a few huge gulps of water kept in large coke bottles before carrying some more computers and he did just that. It is only after the third or fourth gulp he realised he drank feni brought for the conference party by one of our friends from Goa and by that time it was too late – he just sat in a corner for the rest of the evening 😀

    As for me, the best feni I tasted had a subtle black currant flavour… totally loved it.

    • Hey Swati, I know everyone has interesting anecdotes to share about feni. I think that’s the charm of that drink.I have never tasted the black currant flavour. wow. Not even aware that you get one.

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