Reuben, my 11 year old son, has been studying hard for his upcoming school exams. To give him a break, my wife suggested that I take him on my morning ride. Little did she know that the kid was going to get a different kind of an education altogether.
I took Blackbird out of the garage and the three of us rumbled north on NH 17. We stopped on the bridge across the Tiracol river near Pernem and took a few pictures.
Thereafter, like I do on every morning ride, we took a random exit off the national highway to explore a part of Goa that we had never seen before. We rode through and past Pernem and stopped on the banks of the Tiracol river to watch people dredge sand from the river bed.
We came across a local fisherman trying to catch fish on the river bank using a net.
After taking some more pictures I turned to Reuben and said to him, “Son, today you are going to learn something that they will never teach you in school. Follow me.”
Turns out we had parked Blackbird right next to a distillery manufacturing Urrack and Feni, the local seasonal liquors. The distillery was a temporary structure and would last as long as the cashew season did.
We met the owner and I asked him if I could show my son around. He smiled and offered to give us a tour himself.
The cashews are stripped off their seeds and placed in a big juicer run by a motor.
The juice flows over the floor and into a pit where it is collected and transferred to cans.
I know it looks gross and it may not help if I tell you that in the good old days people used to stamp on the cashews with their bare feet. However, it really doesn’t matter how you arrive at the juice because the next step ensures that you are not consuming someone’s foot extract.
The juice is heated to a boil in a bit earthen pot.
The vapor is collected and passed through a pipe which curls around inside a large water tank.
The vapor condenses in the pipe and the resulting liquid is collected on the other side of the tank into a large can. This first distill is Urrack.
Cashew Feni is the second distill. The Urrack is aged for a few days and fresh cashew juice is added to it. The mixture undergoes the same process and the result is Cashew Feni which is much stronger and more potent.
A bottle of Urrack costs Rs 70, that just a little over a dollar. I’d say its a damn good deal because you can get quite happy with a bottle. Trust me, I know. I also think I know what topic Reuben is going to choose for the essay in his upcoming English exam. 😉