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Feni, The Popular Drink of Goa, India

Updated on March 29, 2017
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A travel enthusiast, Sunil Kunnoth finds pleasure in making long train journeys with a mind to observe things around.

A Bottle of Feni
A Bottle of Feni | Source

Goa is about a way of party life. And they have a nice word to describe it beautifully: Susegad. If translated, it means 'just chill'. That is Goa, a paradise to drink, eat and enjoy. Liquors are cheap here and easily available. Goa has a unique drink or liquor. It is popularly known as Feni.


Feni is so popular in Goa that every traveler, who happened to visit this most beautiful land must have something to say or share about this country liquor. It is true that Feni is synonymous with Goa. What Tequila is to Mexico, Feni is to Goa. Feni is also spelt Fenny or Fenim.


To keep its popularity and retain its quality, the Goa government had taken steps to register a 'Geographical Indication' for Feni. And it received that prestigious certificate a couple of years back only. Do you know what is a 'geographical indication' or 'G.I.'? It is a name or sign used on certain products or which correspond to a specific geographical location of origin (a town, region or country). The benefit of getting a G.I. labelling is that the use of G.I. may act as a classification that the product possesses certain qualities or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin. Thus, quality is hundred percent guaranteed.

See the Video to understand the manufacturing process of Feni

For G.I. registration, Tequila is a good example. It belongs to Mexico. The G.I. certification has greatly benefited the Mexican liquor. Similarly, it is hoped it would help Feny too. Its sale is restricted for the state of Goa only. To give you some fine knowledge on the making of this spirit, I have added a video here. The video provides you some good lesson about its uniqueness and features in a simple way.


History


Goa was under Portuguese rule and they ruled Goa nearly four and half centuries. Thus, the whole Goa was under Portuguese influence for a long period and its impact is still there. I have done a story on the Portuguese invasion to India, which you can read for more ideas on the colonial influence and its impact in India and especially in Goa titled "Vasco-da-Gama-The-Portuguese-Navigators-Historic-Voyage-to-India".

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Feni is made of Cashew fruits. The Portuguese brought the cashew-crop from tropical America to Goa sometime between 1563 and 1578. It is also made using coconuts. The Portuguese also taught the local farmers the Feni-brewing skills. Thanks to their good cultivation method, cashew tree grew well in Goa and in the neighboring states like Karnataka and Maharashtra. Cashew-apples were going to waste everywhere in this region until the Portuguese started Feni-brewing. This business thus brought some prosperity to the poor farmers there as Feni had a decent demand and market.


Feni Facts


Feni has its own distinctive flavor and taste. In fact, it is a sort of local or country drink. Some love it, some don't. For some, its smell or taste is unbearable. For some, it is their favorite drink. It varies from person to person. Let's examine some of the unique features of Feni.


  • Feni can have up to 42 to 45% alcohol. It is strong.
  • Feni can be served neat or over ice, and can be mixed in classic cocktails or with juices. It can be served with a slice of lime, and sometimes with sugar or sugar syrup added. Popular mixers are cola and lemonade. It is often mixed with soft drinks.


  • The labeling of 'country liquor' is often believed to hamper its growth. To overcome this hurdle, now it has been classified as 'exotic spirit'.
  • 'Drinks International' classify Feni under the 'exotic spirits' category comparing it with the Mexican Tequila.
  • It is a big business in Goa and production is in large scale.
  • Almost all tourists visiting Goa buy a bottle as a souvenir.
  • There is also a school of thought that the 'country liquor' classification of Feni helps it gain a global brand position like ethnic exotic spirits like Korean Soju, Cachaca of Brazil, Champagne in the Champagne region of France and the Tequila of Mexico.
  • 'Feni' got its name from the Sanskrit-Konkan word 'fen', meaning froth. (Konkani is the language of Goa).

Benefits of Feni

Feni helps in several ways. I took this photo during my recent trip to Goa. On this plaque they have listed the health benefits.
Feni helps in several ways. I took this photo during my recent trip to Goa. On this plaque they have listed the health benefits. | Source
Cashew apples being crushed for the brewing process of Feni
Cashew apples being crushed for the brewing process of Feni | Source

© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

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    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 2 years ago

      Thos who consume liquor will surely enjoy this page and feni brand.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @DDE

      Glad to read your comments. Please do visit this wonderful country and enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Feni, The Popular Drink of Goa, India sounds good idea to try something different. A well informed hub on this drink and I had no idea of this drink

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hello Rajan Sir,

      Your visit and comment appreciated. Thanks also for the vote.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting information. Since I don't drink liquor I have not tasted feni.

      Voted up.

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