Grogue is made entirely from sugar-cane.
During the distillation process, the whole of the sugar-cane plant is put into something called a trapiche, which presses it between two rotating barrels to reduce it to a liquid which can then be turned into alcohol.
This has been done for hundreds of years by the people of Cape Verde, with the best grogue coming from the sugar-cane of the Green Valley in Santa Anteo.
Different every time
Because of the traditional means of production, there are hundreds of different versions of grogue.
Each has its own taste and alcohol content – generally around 60% – but you can never really be sure what you’re going to get from such a low-tech distillation process. Some have reached as high as 80%, while others sit at a still-cautionary 50%.
Locals tend to water down the strong rum anyway, which is where the link to the English term ‘grog’ comes in.
Just like the navy used to water down the rum for their sailors to make the British grog, the grogue produced by the native Cape Verdeans is similarly diluted to a cool 45% ABV. Careful, though – it can still blow your socks off pretty quickly.