Not Feni, Cashew-Based Urrak Is The Seasonal Goan Spirit To Have

The concern of where to find decent Urrak is the one that keeps popping up in Goan households throughout the summer months. There is a cult following for the beverage, which has been a prominent element of Goan culture for many decades. But What is Urrak? It is the first distilled cashew juice, made from fermented cashews and apples. The fruit juice is collected and fermented to make a wine with bold flavours. Nevertheless, it is not consumed in its natural state. The alcohol is then subjected to a secondary distillation process, which results in the creation of Urraca, an alcohol that is delicious and exquisitely light. The name, which is pronounced "Urrack," is a reflection of the linguistic impact of Portuguese and Konkani, languages in which the last "A" and "O" consonants are frequently dropped. The transition from juice to wine to refined spirit covers the essence of Urrak, a beverage that is both distinctive and very significant to the culture of its source. 


Urrak, with its light and flavourful profile, typically contains around 25 to 30% alcohol, though variations exist. Unlike mass-produced beverages, Urrak is not found in stores but is instead directly sold from distilleries or enjoyed in bars. Its consumption resembles that of a refreshing beverage, akin to beer. In Goa, especially during the summer, Urrak is a popular choice, often preferred over beer for its unique taste and mild flavour. 

Difference Between Feni and Urrak 

To put it another way, this is the primary distinction between Urrak and Feni. Feni is fairly strong, but Urrak is lighter and more refreshing; thus, it is not a good idea to consume something that is robust and has a high proportion of alcohol during the summer. 

Best Time To Have    

Hansel Vaz, founder of the brand Cazulo Premium Feni and Fazenda Cazulo, a pioneering Feni distillery shares that Urrack is exclusively savoured during the summer months. When the scorching heat calls for a refreshing beverage. Unlike heavy liquors such as brandy or whiskey, which can feel overwhelming in hot weather due to their high alcohol content, Urrak offers a lighter alternative with its alcohol content ranging between 15% to 20%. The initial batch, known as pochek, emerges around February, lacking the full-bodied flavour desired, often sold to tourists. By March or April, the true essence of Urrack blossoms, boasting a pleasant cashew aroma and fruity notes. This peak flavour period coincides perfectly with the onset of summer, making it an ideal time to enjoy. The moderate alcohol level provides a pleasant buzz without the risk of overindulgence and subsequent hangovers. Urrak is renowned for its sessionable nature, meaning it can be comfortably enjoyed over an extended period, typically allowing for 4-5 glasses in a single sitting. Its unhurried drinking pace encourages savouring each sip, eschewing the hurried shots common with other spirits. Traditionally, Urrak is savoured simply, either neat or mixed with soda, water, or a splash of lime juice. Some prefer to add a kick by pairing it with Limca and a hint of chili. Regardless of the accompaniment, Urrak embodies a leisurely drinking experience, best enjoyed slowly to fully appreciate its nuanced flavours and smooth character. However, as the monsoon season arrives, a symbolic shift occurs. The first heavy rain marks the ceremonial transition from Urrak to Feni. Consequently, Urrack consumption ceases, signifying the end of one season's drink and the beginning of another, entrenched in Goan tradition and culture. 

Food Pairing  

Urrack is typically enjoyed with simple accompaniments like smoked or dried fish, raw mango, or snacks. It's not paired with elaborate meals as it's savoured leisurely, not as a primary beverage. Unlike wine, it's not treated as a serious drink but rather as a laid-back indulgence, best enjoyed in a relaxed setting with light fare. 


When questioned about the byproduct of distilled Urrak, Hansel explains that there's minimal waste from the fruit. Leftover fruit is composted and returned to the farm soil. Cashew remnants, too acidic for animal consumption, are repurposed as compost, enriching the soil. This sustainable practice ensures nothing goes to waste, benefiting both the environment and agricultural productivity. 

The culture surrounding Feni and Urrak is inherently sustainable, boasting a minimal carbon footprint. Practices such as avoiding pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers ensure environmental integrity. Even the ash residue from distillation returns to the soil, enriching it with minerals. Complete fruit remains are composted, further enhancing sustainability. These eco-conscious approaches highlight the commitment to preserving the land and its resources, making Feni and Urrack production an exemplary model of sustainability. 

He adds that various NGOs have approached him with ideas for repurposing the leftover fruit. Due to its high sugar content, the residual sugars burn efficiently, producing a clean, blue flame with minimal smoke. Some propose using it to create briquettes for burning, while others suggest utilizing it in paper production. While these projects are still in the conceptual stage, they reflect innovative thinking towards sustainability and resource utilization in the Feni and Urrack industry. 

The Climate Impact 

Climate change is now a global concern, affecting not only Goa but the entire world. Despite previous skepticism, its real effects are becoming increasingly evident. Hansel says, “In 2020, relentless rainfall throughout the year disrupted the typical cycle necessary for Cashew fruiting, which relies on cold nights and hot days for optimal conditions. However, excessive rain damages flowers and fruits, leading to reduced sugar content in the fruit. In 2024, the situation worsened as delayed flowering and fruiting, followed by intense, scorching sun in March, devastated approximately 60% of the crop. This unfortunate event underscores the urgent need for adaptive strategies in agriculture to mitigate the impacts of climate change.” There was never any intention for Urrak to be a spiritual masterpiece. The key to fully appreciating cashew feni, though, is familiarity with Urraca. There are many things that make cashew feni great, such as its character, texture, and aroma, but urraca is so simple that everyone can make it and enjoy it. 

So Urrack  is the first distilled Cashew Juice. Its a fermented cashew and apples are collected, they are then juiced, the juices is then led to ferment into a wine and that is very flavorful. very flavorful but people don't drink that. What they do instead is we then redistill it, and this distills into a very light, flavourful alcohol called Urraca. It is pronounced as Urrack  because in Portuguese and Konkanis the last A and the O's of the alphabets are usually dropped. So, we pronounce it as Urrack.