Workation in Goa, the local way
Unforgettable local getaways complete every Goan workation! Trust us, we know. Every chance we get, we at NomadGao try planning fun things to do for you digital nomads! Since it’s summer and we’re in Goa, we believe that an excursion was way overdue! So come Sunday, we gathered our community and drove to a wonderful distillery in Torxem!
Wedged quietly somewhere along Goa’s northern border, a quiet green draped the place! The owner Mr Bharnav Fernandes gladly took us around his distillery. A welcome change from our everyday chaos, the quiet of the distillery felt surreal. Meanwhile, the aroma of ripe cashew apples made us giddy with intoxication. The distillery in general exuded a sense of dedication to its heritage craft that has lived over centuries!
Feni and Urrak are the two primary, local alcoholic drinks made in Goa and here’s how they are made-
Extracting the cashew juice
Firstly, the workers begin by plucking ripe, plump and juicy cashew apples. They pile them up on a stone floor made specially for the purpose of stomping. Furthermore, they use their feet to squash the juice from the fruits. It has a very distinct sweet yet pungent aroma that makes you want to drink it! But beware, the fruits tend to create an itchy sensation in your throat and hence are recommended to consume salted. They taste better that way anyway!
A large vessel collects this juice. The fruit pulp that remains is piled again, tied together in a pile and pressed under a stone. The juice extracted is known as Niro which is a rare find, popular amongst the non alcoholic drinks, makes for a super refreshing summer beverage, and is best consumed fresh!
Distilling the spirit!
If you’re looking for the best alcoholic drinks in Goa, this is where you find them. The juice that is collected is heated. What we know as urrak are the condensed vapours that collect in a separate vessel. It is a milder alcoholic beverage and has a shelf life of a fortnight! It’s best consumed fresh when it’s still doused in the cashew fruit aroma.
A tip from the locals – squeeze a little time and drop in a slit chilli along with soda and/or limca as mixers! It will blow your mind!
After Urrak comes Feni. It is a stronger alcoholic beverage with about 40% alcohol content. We loved watching the workers mix Urrak and more cashew juice to distill it all over again! The process requires so much patience and you cannot see it through without unconditional love for your craft! This double distilled drink is not yet Feni until it’s fermented in clay pots. These delicate pots are kept buried in the earth with their mouths outside. Here the alcohol ferments for a week or two and voila! You have your feni.
Urrak tastes best fresh, Feni on the other hand, like wine, gets better as it ages.
Cheers to Susegaad life!
Moreover, the life of the manufacturers is another thing worth experiencing! They await summer eagerly to embark on their distillation mission! As summer fades, their work gradually comes to a stop and they take a long well deserved break up until November when they again begin preparing for the Cashew season. The initial tasks are gathering enough wood to fire up their distillation again. It’s hard work but if you look closely, it’s balanced well with good rest. Just like it should be. For anyone who might have misunderstood the word susegaad, this life is a living example of it.
If you like experimenting, we’d recommend hunting down the Niro and concocting wonderful non alcoholic cocktails from it! If not, Urrak never disappoints, no matter how you mix it!
At NomadGao, we are building a diverse community of digital nomads. If you are a digital nomad or yearning for a workation in Goa, we’d be happy to help!