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.