Suze is a traditional French aperitif. According to the manufacturer, Suze was developed in 1889 and is still produced on the original recipe. Suze’s main raw material is yellow gentian, which grows in the mountains of France and Switzerland. Suze has been a popular drink in France for over a hundred years, but it reached global distribution when Pernod Ricard bought the brand. Suze is still quite unknown here in the northern corner of Europe, one bottle (100 cl) happened to be found in a Latvian liquor store for €16.99
The nose of the yellowish liquid is floral, slightly bitter and honeyed. The taste is soft, richly bitter and moderately sweet. The sweetness is similar to the nectar in a flower, it’s not a sugary sweet. Bitterness is on the same level as with Campari, however the taste is more one-sided. Apart from the yellow gentia, there really seems not to be anything else. The taste of gentian is strong and quite pungent. At the beginning it is not so noticeable, but in the aftertaste it starts to be felt and a bitter note remains in the mouth for a long time. Gentian is a bit like the white liquid in the stem of a dandelion (if you’ve ever tasted one). Admittedly, the liter bottle of Suze has been sitting in the cupboard for over a year now, and due to oxidation, the bitterness of the has clearly leveled out. At the time of uncorking the bottle, the drink was much more bitter. Suze gives a strong bitter note to mixed drinks. It’s good to be careful with it so that its bitter aroma doesn’t overshadow all the other flavors. Like Campari, Suze can also be recommended for active home bartenders and other hobbyists. It is not very easy to sip neat, so it would be good to have the know-how to make drinks. Otherwise the bottle may collect dust on the shelf for years (like in my case).