Feni, The Popular Drink of Goa, India
Goa is very much a way of party life. It is a paradise to drink, eat and enjoy. Liquors are cheap here and easily available. Goa has a unique drink or liquor popularly known as Feni. Let's hear that feni story.
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 spelled 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. labeling 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 to 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.
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 of 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".
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 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
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© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth