A slightly weaker, yet larger version of Suze’s distinctive aperitif.
A world-famous liqueur, Suze was first created in 1889 by Fernand Moureaux. Moureaux wanted to produce an aperitif that was not based on wine, and as such, Suze is largely flavoured with the gentian root.
Moureaux came from a family of distillers, but by 1885 the business was on the brink of collapse. Suze was launched as his last hope, and became a near-enough instant success, winning gold at the 1889 World Fair in Paris. For the fair, the City of Lights had been decked out in bright orange, and Moureaux decided that this would be the colour of his new liqueur too.
Suze’s production begins with a maceration of gentian in alcohol, a process which lasts several years! The gentian is then pressed, and the juice is distilled. Finally, this distilled juice is blended with other aromatic herbs and spices.
The final product serves up flavours of sweet liquorice, rooty spice, flowers, bittersweet gentian, orange zest, gentle spice, honey and pinewood.
In France, Suze is traditionally consumed with tonic or orange juice, but it also makes for an interesting twist on a sparkling wine spritz.
In 1912, Pablo Picasso took Suze as his muse when he created his Cubist masterpiece ‘Verre et bouteille de Suze’, meaning “glass and bottle of Suze”.
Why the bottling is called Suze remains unknown – it is thought that it was the name of Moureaux’s sister in law (an early fan of the liqueur), whilst another possibility is the name of a river in Switzerland where gentian grows.