Feni (sometimes spelt fenny or fenim) is a spirit produced exclusively in Goa, India. There are two types of feni: cashew feni and coconut feni, depending on the original ingredient. The small batch distillation of feni has a fundamental effect on its final character; still retaining some of the delicate aromatics, congeners and flavour elements of the juice from which it was produced. As a thumb rule, the aroma is indicative of a carefully crafted feni.
Feni is classified as a “country liquor”, and is therefore not allowed to be sold outside the state of Goa.
The word feni is derived from the Sanskrit word phena (“froth”); this is thought to be because of the bubbles that form a light froth when the liquor is shaken in a bottle or poured into a glass. It is generally accepted that coconut feni was produced before and then followed to adapt the same procedure for distilling the exotic cashew fruit. Coconut palms are abundant along the coastline of Western India and Goa, whereas the cashew tree was an exotic species brought by the Portuguese to India. There is ambiguity about when and who started distilling fermented juice into a spirit.
The feni consumed in South Goa is generally of a higher alcohol content (43-45% abv) as compared to the feni produced in North Goa. Commercially packaged feni is available at 42.8% abv.