Suze is one of the popular liqueurs used in many creative cocktail recipes in France and Switzerland; it has a bitter, sweet, and floral flavor and works as an apéritif. Suze, just like most liqueurs, can be used in a lot of cocktail recipes, it can be taken on its own if the bitter flavor is something you’d like, but it pairs perfectly well with tonic and soda water.
Suze is popular, but it is still unavailable in other areas. There are a few notable recipes Suze is known for, like the swiss account, High Chicago, cherry negrino, etc. When Suze is unavailable, it may seem impossible to make them. This isn’t entirely true because other liqueurs with similar flavor profiles as Suze can easily substitute Suze in these recipes. We will be looking at these liqueurs in this article, but first, let’s know more about Suze.
What is Suze?
Suze is an apéritif primarily made from gentian, a plant that grows in the French mountains; gentian houses aromatic flavors concentrated in its roots. Suze has a pale greenish-yellow color, and it’s clear.
Suze was invented in 1885 by Fernand Moreaux, who was a distiller, but even though it was invented early, it wasn’t available in the market until four years after in 1889. The gentian roots used for Suze are made from wild and cultivated gentian, the wild ones grow on the Mountain slopes in the Auvergne region in central France, and the wild gentian roots take about 20-30 years to mature properly before it is harvested. In comparison, the cultivated ones take about ten years to mature properly under careful supervision and care so that other plants would not disturb their growth.
A gentian picker harvests gentian, and he uses a tool known as the devil fork to harvest the gentian roots, the roots measure about a meter and weigh up to several kilos.
Making Suze goes through three stages, first is the maceration stage, where the gentian roots are washed, cut, and soaked in barrels filled with alcohol for at least a year.
The second stage is the distillation stage, where the soaked gentian is pressed for its juices and then distilled using a unique tool made especially for Suze production.
The third stage is known as the blending stage, where the distilled gentian roots are mixed with other ingredients like the secret aromatic recipe that has been in existence since 1889. The blending process gives Suze its final flavors, a mix of bitter, sweet, and floral; after the blending stage, the Suze liqueurs are bottled up and ready for sale.
Suze Uses in Recipes
Suze is mostly taken as an apéritif and is characterized by its bitter flavor from its main ingredient, gentian, one of the most popular bittering agents used in several French digestifs. Suze has a bitter taste similar to a vegetal, earthy, or herbaceous taste with sweet and floral citrus notes like pomelo.
Suze has been used in several creative and flavorful cocktail recipes, and some of them include:
- Swiss Account
- Medicinal Sour
- Constructive Summer
- Cherry Negrino
- Suze des Montagnes
- Suze and Tree
- Day Le Vie
- Midnight in Manhattan (Woodford)
- Negroni Bianco
- Suze in Paradise
- House of Windsor
- Zuzu’s Petals
- High Chicago
- High Chicago
- Marin Karin
- Sunbeams Through The Forest Trees
Suze is widely used in Switzerland and France, but it was popularly boosted when it was introduced to France; for most people, the drink acts as a rich seasoning that gives life, texture, and a depth of flavor to cocktail recipes.
It is popular in many recipes, and it would be disappointing when you’d want to make one of these recipes but can’t find a bottle of Suze anywhere; the drink’s supply is limited in some areas, and a glass of Negroni Bianco may seem impossible to make without Suze. However, other suitable Gentian Liqueurs carry similar flavors as Suze that you can add to your recipes.
Salers is a french apéritif made from a mixture of gentian roots and white wine; it has a bitter flavor balanced with sweet and botanical flavorings. It has the same vegetal and earthy flavor as Suze and can substitute Suze in many recipes with a 1:1 ratio.
Ava has a similar vibrant gentian-yellow color as Suze and carries its bittersweet notes; although it has a less intense bitter taste than Suze, it is the closest to Suze when it comes to appearance.
Ava carries a bitter orange taste that compensates for its less pungent gentian bitter taste. Avaze pairs well in many cocktail recipes and works well with aged spirits like whiskey. You can use avaze with a 1:1 ratio when substituting.
Gentiane De Lure
It has a truly bitter taste with hints of sweet citrus flavors and can substitute Suze with a 1:1 ratio.
Bittermen’s Amer Sauvage
This one is a lot bitter, so it has to be used in moderation unless you’re a lover of bitter cocktails; it has a similar flavor to Suze with a rich amber honey color that gives the cocktail mix an appealing look. When using this substitute, it’s important to start small before working your way up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the closest substitute for Suze?
Avaze liqueur is the closest substitute, although it is less bitter than Suze.
What makes Suze get its yellow color?
The yellow gentian root gives Suze its yellow and bitter vegetal flavor.
Does Suze need to be refrigerated?
Suze is a bitter liqueur and does not need refrigeration.
Suze is a bittersweet cocktail that has become a bartender’s favorite; it is especially popular in France and has been used to craft flavorful cocktail recipes. If you like this drink and want to try one of its popular recipes but can’t find one, you could always grab one of the ones listed in this article.