Attitudes toward alcohol and nightlife are far more liberal in Goa than almost anywhere else in India. Beach shacks, bars and nightclubs line the shores up and down the coast, though there's limited activity outside the main tourist season from November to May. Be sure to seek out the traditional Goan drink feni – a double-distilled fiery liquor made from the cashew fruit or palm toddy.

Drinks

Nonalcoholic Drinks

Chai (tea) is the national drink, boiled for hours with milk, sugar and masala spices, and served piping hot, sweet and frothy.

Coffee is less widely consumed by Goans, but you’ll have no problem finding Indian-style coffee, and espresso machines are becoming common in tourist cafes that cater to international tastes.

Fizzy drinks, fresh lime soda, lassis and shakes are standard fare at cafes and shacks. Look out for coconut street vendors – for ₹50 they'll chop the top off and poke a straw in for a refreshing, natural drink.

Alcoholic Drinks

Goans love to drink and low taxes mean alcohol is cheaper here than elsewhere in India. Beer is king (when it's cold), and Kingfisher is still the most popular local brand, though Bira, Tuborg, Simba, Heineken, Budweiser and others are muscling in on the market. More importantly for beer lovers, craft beer is making an appearance in Goa, with two microbreweries currently operating. Goa Brewing Co in Sangolda produces small-batch seasonal beers such as Eight Finger Eddie IPA. Susegado Brewing (www.susegado.com) produces Dorado IPA and a mango wheat beer.

The fiery local liquor is feni, made either from fermented cashew fruit or palm sap (toddy), which is distilled to around 30% to 35% proof. Feni first-timers mix it with a soft drink, soda water, or just close your eyes and take your medicine.

Hard liquor, known in India as IMFL – Indian-made foreign liquor – is very cheap (if purchased at a liquor store) and the rum, brandy and whisky versions are reasonably palatable.

Wine, though not India’s strong point, is slowly gaining ground, but you’ll pay dearly for choosing the grape over the grain: bought at a liquor store, even a mediocre bottle of local wine costs from ₹500 (safe bets are Sula, Chateau Indage and Grover).