Grogue is the national drink of Cape Verde. It is rum distilled from sugar cane with an alcohol rate of 40%. The smell of the drink reminds of warm banana. Grogue is also called grogu or grogo. The artisanal liquor is associated with the Cape Verdeans and is drunk on several occasions.
The gold of Cape Verde
Immediately after the discovery of Cape Verde (1462) grogue was produced and consumed by the Portuguese. In 1740 grogue was introduced in Europe by the British Navy Admiral Vernon. In the first centuries liquor from cane sugar was prohibited. It was thought that this was not good for your health. After a period of mostly illegal and underground production of grogue, production was legalized in 1900.
The tradition of making and consuming rum is deeply rooted in the Cape Verdean culture. Figuratively the drink is full of passion and tradition. During the production process they made much music and do a lot of singing about family, love and beautiful things of life. It’s mostly farmers who produce the Groque. Self production of liquor is also known as moonshine. The liquor production takes place mainly in the mountainous islands of the Cape Verde archipelago (a.o. Santo Antao). Nowadays grogue producers formally need a license from the government, the quality however is determined by the producer himself. Because of the large production of grogue it is also called the gold of Cape Verde. Do you like it to see where and how the grogue is made? On Cape Verde you can visit several distillers.
If you are offered a glass of grogue in Cape Verde, it is not very polite to refuse. Of course grogue is also mixed with other drinks or ingredients like lime and cinnamon to soften the taste. Delicious to drink at a setting sun.
How is grogue made?
Grogue is traditionally made from sugar cane juice. In the following video (English subtitles) farmer and distiller of grogue Budinho explains how the process looks like. In short, this works as follows. If the sugar (white or brown) will flourish it is cut. The sugar cane stalks are pressed and the residue is molasses. This is the syrupy product from the production of sugar cane. The molasses is diluted with water in order to let it then ferment. After heating ultimately alcohol can be distilled from it. Of every 200 liters of thickened molasses distillery can produce up to 30 liters of quality grogue.
Quality grogue can be found among others in the supermarket or at the local corner shop. The grogue is bottled and labeled. In most restaurants and bars you can of course order a glass of grogue. If you want to buy a bottle of grogue ofgood quality in the store, the price is around 9 euro per liter. Cheaper grogue easily cost 6-7 euro per 750ml. Do you have an empty bottle with you? You can got to a wholesalestore or simply let the farmer fill a five-liter bottle for only about 4 euro per liter.