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A Drink For Goa’s Hot Summer Nights And Torrential Rains


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Elsinore East



When it comes to combining the pleasures of food and travel, few destinations can rival the gastronomic delights of Goa. This small coastal state on the western shores of India is renowned for its vibrant food culture, blending flavors from Indian, Portuguese, and Southeast Asian cuisines. As you explore Goa’s unique culinary landscape, you’ll soon realize that it’s not just the food that captivates your taste buds—Goa’s traditional beverages also play a significant role in enhancing your culinary experience.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Goan beverages, uncovering the traditional concoctions that have been enjoyed for generations, as well as some modern twists that are gaining popularity. From the iconic feni to refreshing kokum sherbet, these drinks offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and natural abundance of this coastal paradise.

Whether you’re sipping a cocktail on a sunny beach or seeking respite from Goa’s hot summer nights and torrential rains, these traditional Goan beverages are sure to quench your thirst and leave you craving more. So sit back, relax, and join us as we take a sip from Goa’s eclectic beverage scene.


Traditional Goan Beverages

Goa’s traditional beverages are deeply rooted in the region’s history and cultural influences. From heritage drinks passed down through generations to refreshing concoctions made from locally grown ingredients, these beverages offer a unique taste of Goan heritage. Let’s explore some of these traditional Goan beverages:

  • Feni: Considered the unofficial spirit of Goa, feni holds a special place in the hearts of Goans. This potent liquor is made from cashew apple or coconut sap, which is fermented and distilled in traditional stills. Feni is known for its distinct aroma and flavor, and it is often enjoyed neat or in cocktails.
  • Urrak: Another popular traditional Goan beverage, urrak is a milder and fresher version of feni. It is the first distillate obtained during the feni-making process and is often consumed immediately after distillation. Urrak is particularly popular during the annual cashew harvesting season, when it is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
  • Kokum Sherbet: Made from the dark purple fruit of the kokum tree, kokum sherbet is a tangy and refreshing beverage. The kokum fruit is soaked in water, along with sugar and a pinch of salt, to create a cooling and thirst-quenching drink. Kokum sherbet is known for its digestive properties and is often served as an appetizer or after a meal.
  • Sol Kadi: A staple in Goan cuisine, sol kadi is a refreshing drink made from kokum and coconut milk. The kokum is steeped in water to extract its vibrant red color and tangy flavor. The strained kokum water is then mixed with coconut milk, spices like garlic and ginger, and seasoned with salt. Sol kadi is not only a delicious thirst quencher but also aids in digestion.

These traditional beverages showcase the culinary heritage of Goa and the importance of locally sourced ingredients. The flavors and aromas of these beverages are deeply intertwined with the cultural fabric of Goan life. So, make sure to try these traditional Goan beverages during your culinary adventures in Goa.


Feni: The Drink of Goa

When it comes to traditional Goan beverages, one name stands out above the rest—feni. Considered the quintessential drink of Goa, feni has a long and storied history in the region. This earthy and potent liquor is made from either cashew apple or coconut sap, and its production process has remained largely unchanged for centuries.

The origins of feni can be traced back to Goa’s Portuguese colonial past. The Portuguese settlers introduced cashew trees to the region in the 16th century, and the flavorful cashew fruit soon became a key ingredient in the production of feni. Today, feni is protected by a Geographic Indication status, which means it can only be called feni if it is produced in Goa.

The production of cashew feni begins with the ripe cashew apples being plucked from the trees. The apples are then de-seeded and crushed, and the resulting juice is fermented for several days. The fermented juice is then distilled in traditional earthen pot stills called “bhatti” or “copper alembics.” The distilled feni is collected and aged in earthenware pots or oak barrels, which further enhances its flavor.

Feni has a strong and distinct aroma, with flavors that can be described as fruity, tropical, and slightly nutty. When distilled from coconut sap, it is known as coconut feni and has a slightly sweeter taste. Feni is traditionally enjoyed neat in small glasses, sipped slowly to savor the unique flavors. It is also a popular ingredient in cocktails, such as the famous Goan drink, the “feni cola.”

Aside from its delightful taste, feni is also believed to possess medicinal properties. It is often used in traditional medicine to treat ailments such as toothaches and digestive issues. The locals also swear by its ability to ward off colds and fevers.

Visiting a feni distillery is a fascinating experience, where you can witness the age-old techniques and craftsmanship that go into producing this beloved beverage. Some distilleries offer guided tours, allowing visitors to learn about the feni-making process and even try their hand at grinding the cashew apples or distilling the juice.

As you explore the culinary wonders of Goa, be sure to savor a glass or two of feni. Whether you’re intrigued by its cultural significance, fascinated by its production process, or simply looking to enjoy a unique and flavorful drink, feni offers an authentic taste of Goa that you won’t soon forget.


Urrak: A Local Favorite

When it comes to traditional Goan beverages, one cannot overlook the popularity of urrak. This local favorite is often referred to as the “drink of Goa” and holds a special place in the hearts of Goans. Urrak is a unique and flavorful spirit that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, particularly during the cashew harvesting season in Goa.

Urrak is essentially the first distillate obtained during the feni-making process. As the cashew apples are crushed and the juice is extracted, it undergoes fermentation. Urrak is the result of the first distillation of this fermented juice, yielding a milder and fresher spirit compared to feni. While feni is aged and undergoes a secondary distillation, urrak is consumed immediately after distillation.

The taste of urrak is distinct, with hints of the cashew fruit and a smooth, slightly sweet flavor. It is often described as less potent and easier to drink compared to feni. The alcohol content of urrak is generally lower as well, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a lighter beverage.

One of the unique aspects of urrak is its connection to the traditional Goan festivals and celebrations. During the cashew harvesting season, which usually falls between February and May, locals gather to celebrate and participate in the traditional process of extracting the cashew juice. This festive atmosphere is accompanied by the joyful consumption of urrak, which adds to the sense of community and celebration.

Urrak is often enjoyed on its own, served neat or over ice, allowing the flavors to be fully appreciated. However, it is also a versatile spirit that can be mixed into various cocktails, adding a Goan twist to classic recipes.

If you’re interested in experiencing the authentic flavors of Goa, visiting a local distillery during the cashew harvesting season is a must. Witness the traditional process of urrak-making, from crushing the cashew fruit to distillation, and learn about the cultural significance of this beloved beverage. Some distilleries even offer tasting sessions, where you can sample different varieties of urrak and gain a deeper understanding of its nuances.

Urrak is not just a drink; it is a reflection of Goan culture, tradition, and the bounty of the region. So, raise a glass of urrak and join in the celebration of Goan spirit and flavors.


Kokum Sherbet: Refreshing and Tangy

When it comes to beating the heat and quenching your thirst in Goa, one beverage that stands out is kokum sherbet. This refreshing and tangy drink is a popular choice among locals and travelers alike, offering a unique flavor profile and a delightful burst of refreshment.

Kokum, also known as Garcinia Indica, is a small purple fruit native to the coastal regions of Goa. It has long been used in Goan cuisine and traditional medicine for its various health benefits. For the preparation of kokum sherbet, the fruit is soaked in water along with sugar and a pinch of salt. The result is a vibrant, ruby-colored beverage with a tangy and slightly sweet taste.

Kokum sherbet is known for its refreshing properties, making it an ideal choice for Goa’s hot and humid climate. With its natural cooling effect, it helps to lower body temperature and provides instant relief from the scorching heat. Many locals believe that kokum sherbet aids in digestion and helps soothe acidity as well.

Aside from its refreshing qualities, kokum sherbet is also packed with valuable nutrients. Kokum is rich in antioxidants, which are known for their ability to combat free radicals and promote overall health. It is also a good source of vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory properties.

One of the unique aspects of kokum sherbet is its versatility. It can be enjoyed on its own, chilled and served in a glass, or used as a base for other delightful creations. Some popular variations include adding flavors like mint, ginger, or cardamom to enhance the taste. Some even enjoy mixing kokum sherbet with soda water or sparkling water for a fizzy twist.

When you visit Goa, you’ll find kokum sherbet readily available at local restaurants, street food stalls, and even in households. It is a quintessential part of Goan cuisine and culture, and no Goan meal is complete without a refreshing glass of kokum sherbet.

So, whether you’re exploring Goa’s markets, indulging in spicy Goan delicacies, or simply looking to quench your thirst, don’t miss the opportunity to try kokum sherbet. Its tangy, refreshing taste and natural cooling properties make it a must-have beverage for your culinary adventures in Goa.


Sol Kadi: Cooling and Tasty

When it comes to a refreshing and tangy drink that perfectly complements the flavors of Goan cuisine, sol kadi takes center stage. This cooling and tasty beverage is a beloved part of Goan culinary traditions and offers a unique blend of flavors that tantalizes the taste buds.

Sol kadi is made from two primary ingredients—kokum and coconut milk. Kokum, a sour fruit native to Goa, is soaked in water to extract its vibrant red color and tangy flavor. The strained kokum water is then mixed with coconut milk and seasoned with spices like garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt. The result is a flavorful and refreshing beverage that is both cooling and soothing.

One of the key qualities of sol kadi is its ability to combat Goa’s warm and humid climate. The combination of kokum and coconut milk provides a cooling effect, making it an ideal drink to beat the heat. The tanginess of the kokum, combined with the creamy richness of the coconut milk, creates a harmonious balance that refreshes and invigorates the palate.

While sol kadi is often enjoyed as a standalone drink, it is also commonly served as an accompaniment to spicy Goan dishes. The tangy and slightly spicy flavors of sol kadi help to balance the spice and heat of Goan curries and seafood preparations. It is especially popular alongside the famous Goan fish curry, providing a cool and creamy contrast to the fiery flavors.

Aside from its refreshing taste, sol kadi is also known for its digestive properties. The combination of kokum and coconut milk aids in digestion and can help alleviate symptoms of indigestion. It is often recommended as a post-meal drink to promote healthy digestion and enhance overall well-being.

When visiting Goa, you can find sol kadi served in local restaurants, beach shacks, and even in the homes of Goan families. It is often served chilled in small glasses or earthenware pots for that authentic touch.

So, if you’re looking to indulge in the unique flavors of Goan cuisine and cool down while exploring the region, make sure to sample a glass of sol kadi. Its cooling, tangy, and tasty nature makes it a perfect complement to Goan dishes and a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout your culinary journey in Goa.


Goan Craft Beers: A Modern Twist

While traditional Goan beverages hold a special place in the heart of Goans, the coastal state has also embraced the craft beer revolution. In recent years, Goa has seen a surge in the popularity of craft breweries, offering locals and visitors a modern twist on the traditional drink culture.

Goan craft beers are known for their innovation, quality, and distinct flavors. Craft breweries in Goa focus on using locally sourced ingredients, such as spices, fruits, and herbs, to infuse their beers with unique and vibrant flavors that reflect the region’s rich culinary heritage.

One of the popular flavors in Goan craft beers is the use of spices. Many breweries experiment with local spices like coriander, cumin, and cardamom to create a range of flavors, from earthy and aromatic to spicy and bold. These craft beers offer a delightful fusion of traditional Goan spices with the contemporary craft beer experience.

Another trend seen in Goan craft beers is the incorporation of tropical fruits. With Goa’s abundance of fresh fruits, breweries take advantage of the local produce to add a tropical twist to their beers. Mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and jackfruit are just a few examples of the fruits that can be found in Goan craft beers, imparting a refreshing and vibrant character.

The craft beer scene in Goa is also known for its creativity in incorporating local flavors. Some breweries experiment with the use of kokum, a popular ingredient in Goan cuisine, to add a tangy and slightly sour note to their beers. Others infuse their brews with the flavors of cashew apples, adding a hint of the quintessential Goan flavor to the beer.

Visiting a craft brewery in Goa is not just about tasting delicious brews; it’s also an opportunity to witness the passion and craftsmanship that goes into creating these unique beers. Many breweries offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the brewing process and connect with the local beer community.

So, if you’re a beer enthusiast looking to explore Goa’s vibrant drink culture, make sure to savor a pint or two of Goan craft beer. With their innovative flavors and commitment to quality, these craft breweries are bringing a modern twist to the traditional beverage scene in Goa. 


Exploring the world of Goan beverages is a journey that takes you through the rich history, cultural diversity, and culinary delights of this coastal paradise. Traditional Goan beverages like feni, urrak, kokum sherbet, and sol kadi offer a glimpse into the region’s heritage, showcasing the unique flavors and techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Feni, the iconic drink of Goa, holds a special place in the hearts of Goans, with its distinct aroma and potent flavors. Urrak, the milder and fresher version of feni, is a local favorite during the cashew harvesting season, adding festivity to the air. Kokum sherbet, with its vibrant color and tangy taste, provides a refreshing respite from the heat, while sol kadi combines the flavors of kokum and coconut milk to create a cooling and tasty beverage.

But Goa’s beverage scene doesn’t stop at the traditional. The craft beer revolution has made its mark in Goa, with breweries infusing their brews with local spices, tropical fruits, and indigenous flavors. This modern twist on drinks brings a fresh perspective and exciting new options for those seeking a contemporary experience.

Whether you’re sipping on a glass of feni at a local distillery, enjoying the tanginess of kokum sherbet by the beach, or exploring the flavors of Goan craft beers at a trendy brewery, each drink is a testament to Goa’s rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources.

So, as you embark on your food travel adventure in Goa, be sure to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Goan beverages. From the traditional to the modern, these drinks not only tantalize your taste buds but also provide a deeper connection to the flavors, history, and traditions of this beautiful coastal state.

Indulge your senses, raise a glass, and toast to the captivating flavors and cultural diversity of Goa’s beverage scene. Cheers to a memorable culinary journey filled with delightful sips and unforgettable moments in the land of sun, sand, and flavorful traditions.