Cape Verdean Grogue
Cape Verdean Grogue also was known as Grogu or Grogo has different flavors that remind you of Cape Verde’s passion and traditions. The taste can be customized by adding lime and a hint of cinnamon which reminds you of the sunset. Due to its vast production, grogue is also known as the gold of Cape Verde.
Grogue is Cape Verdean’s national alcoholic beverage that many of its people consider a staple. The smell of the beverage is like a warm banana though it is an alcoholic beverage but smells like sweet sugar because of the distilled use of alcohol to 40 percent.
The History of Cape Verdean Grogue
The production of Grogue began sometime in the mid-1400’s by the Portuguese shortly after the colonization of the Cape Verde islands. Sugarcane, the main ingredient used for making grogue was brought to Cape Verde from the Caribbean and was cultivated by the slaves. Grogue was introduced to Europe around the 1700’s by the British Royal Navy and remained predominantly illegal until legalization in the 1900’s. Grogue was initially made for sale to the British Royal Navy that frequented the island of Sao Vicente.
As production on the islands became popular, the Portuguese authorities feared the impact it would have on the slave populace and later prohibited it. Production of grogue continued illicitly throughout Cape Verde but small distilleries continued to make small batches of moonshine. Today, most of the existing distilleries in Cape Verde have roots back to these original grogue brewers.
Today, Cape Verdean Grogue is manufactured in large quantities within the islands of Santo Antao and Santiago where the sugarcane is harvested towards the end of Spring. The sugarcane is cut manually using various cutting tools such as a macheted. The sugarcanes are cut to size and prepared by eliminating the leaves to produce lengthy stalks. These stalks are usually tied into approximately forty pound bundles and transported by women on the top of their heads to the production area and eventually pressed through a trapiche. A Trapiche is a wooden mill that is used to squeeze the juice out the sugarcane. The trapiche functions by having a mule or ox pull the wooden shaft connected to the center of trapiche in a rotating motion. Today however very few distilleries rely on the traditional trapiche and depend more on gasoline powered machines for extracting juice out of the sugarcane.
Since the legalization of grogue in the 1900’s, its production and distribution have been mostly unregulated until recently where new laws and restrictions are being enforced by the government.
What are the elements of Cape Verdean Grogue?
Pure Cape Verdean grogue is essentially prepared from sugarcane and distilled water. The flavor of grogue, however, can be enhanced in many different ways. The traditional and popular grogue cocktail involves mixing grogue with melted sugar cane molasses and lime. This mixture is referred to as ponche. Many other cocktail mixtures are added to Grogue such as lime, cinnamon along with many other fruit flavors.
The Gold of Cape Verde
Cape Verdean Grogue is also known as the gold of the islands because of a large amount of sugar cane cultivation. Grogue or grogue cocktails are liked by almost every Cape Verdeans and out of the large variety of distilleries, grogue is the only alcoholic beverage that is considered the national drink of Cape Verde.