The other choice for a local alcoholic drink in The Gambia is palm wine. It is extracted from the tree by palm winetappers, men who climb the trunk using a strap made from rope or leaves called a kajandak.
They tap the tree just below the flower-stalk and attach a gourd or bottle. The juice is fast fermenting and contains glucose and sucrose.
After the tapping, a bottle is attached and then there is a wait of around eight hours or so for the container to fill with wine. The alcoholic drink comes from the tree fully fermented, with a yeasty taste and can range form very sweet to fairly sour.
The sweetest comes from a tree tapped for the very first time and is known locally as ‘Sengga’.
The wine doesn’t keep for more than a few days before totally ‘going off’, so you have to guzzle it quite quickly.