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9 strange brews from around the world

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 4, 2014, 10:48 a.m.
Distilling feni

Photo: Nagarjun Kandukuru/flickr

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The Goan specialty feni (also spelled fenny or fenim) is unusual simply because it is not often seen outside of the northwestern Indian state where it was invented. Made using cashew apples or coconuts, this drink is produced by hundreds of part-time distillers. Most distilling takes place during the cashew season. The nuts, eaten throughout the world, are harvested and exported, but the apples, which have a very short shelf life, must be used locally.

Traditionally, the apples are prepared for distillation by being stomped to release the juices. This practice still occurs, though it has largely been replaced by specialized presses. Likewise, the tradition of using clay pots buried partially underground has been replaced by more-modern methods and equipment. In some parts of the state, however, the clay-pot method is still used. Feni is either double or triple distilled, and the end product is quite strong, with an alcohol content ranging from 40 percent to 45 percent.