Goa can leave you highly spirited in no time, and mind you, we are not speaking of the enlivening beaches here!
The local drink called Cashew Feni has grown widely global with its popularity, making it equally famous to (or may be even more than) the exotic Goan dishes. Still not legally available in other parts of India, the distilled beverage is only unique to the smallest Indian state. It is one of the Indian spirits definitely worth trying. The Goa Cashew Feni, which is also spelled as ‘fenny’, derives its name from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘broth’. The state has the lowest liquor taxes in India, and the so-called ‘country liquor’ is available cheap for this reason.
While the Cashew Feni is derived from cashew apples, which essentially are the nuts or seeds of a fruit, there is another variation of feni available. You can try this as well during your Goa tour. Distilled from coconut sap, the Coconut Feni is also a strong smelling liquid that is usually drunk in undiluted form. The feni, which is pale yellow in color, tastes best when consumed straight and has a fruity and nutty flavor. It is also used as flavoring agent in cocktails and combined with sodas to subdue the smell of the liquor in its raw form.
Being unique to Goa, the Feni is also made at homes apart from the numerous breweries and distilleries. However, to have a taste of the local brew in its pure and genuine form when you travel to Goa to view The Golden Palms, you have to visit the decent restaurants. The random taverns or bars sell it mostly in adulterated form. The spice plantations and a few local taverns however can offer you top-notch, non-branded cashew feni, only if you are willing to look for it. A bottle of the drink by Big Boss can set your mood in Goa, as it is the most popular branded form of cashew feni preferred by the Goans.
Being one of the most highlighted and a precious asset of the state, the drink adds to Goa’s identity and can add to your experiences. What comes as a warning from all Goans though is that, ‘You should never go swimming after having a few sips of the famous feni!’