Suze cocktails

Suze is a gloriously bitter (some might say monstrously bitter) French apéritif which I happen to like. If you like Campari, it’s not that far of a jump to Suze, but it might take some getting used to. Its primary flavor is gentian, a bitter root that’s also used in making aromatic cocktail bitters (although Suze is a drinking bitters); it has a variety of herbs for flavoring as well as a citrusy component. For an idea of its level of bitterness, think raw horseradish root without the burn. It’s got a very bright flavor, and mixes as well as Campari does, and in similar ways. It may not be all that easy to find (larger wine and spirits stores would be your best bet), and it’s a bit expensive (around $35), but if you like bitters it’s definitely worth trying.

I found this recipe after a little Googling; I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks pretty good.

Suze Cocktail

1 ounce orange juice.
3/4 ounce Suze.
1/2 ounce lemon juice.
1/2 ounce orange curaçao.
1/4 ounce grenadine.

Shake with ice and strain into a Champagne flute.
Garnish with a cherry.

I found several others on the Suze website, which I present here with their original names from the website, but in English and without all the pretty but frustratingly slow Flash animation you have to sit through before you can read each recipe:

Suze Couture

1 part Suze.
1 part spring water
2 dashes Monin violet syrup (or crème de violette if you have it).
Build over ice.

Suze Tonique

1 part Suze.
2 parts tonic water.
Build over ice.

Suze Caliente

1 part Suze.
1 part banana nectar.
1 dash grenadine.
Squeeze of lemon juice.
Build over ice

Suze Insolite

1 part Suze.
2 parts orange juice.
1 part crème de cassis.
Ice
Build in tall glass. From the illustration it looks as if the Suze and O.J. were stirred together with ice, and then the cassis poured in so it settles into a layer a the bottom. Pretty!

Suze Mojito

2 parts Suze.
3 parts Champagne.
20 drops (NOT dashes!) Angostura bitters.
1 soup-spoon of sugar.
1 squeeze of lemon juice.
7 large mint leaves.

No instructions, but I’d bruise the leaves with the sugar, add Suze, lemon juice and bitters and shake. Strain into a Champagne flute, add Champagne and stir gently to mix without deflating the bubbly. Garnish with mint sprig.

Suze Florida

1 part Suze.
2 parts red grapefruit juice.
Dash or two of sugar syrup.
Over ice

Suze Sensuelle

2/3 Suze.
1/3 cassis.
Over ice..

“Original et sensuel, un cocktail plus sucré pour les amoureux de nouvelles sensations.” (“Original and sensual, a sweeter cocktail for lovers of new sensations.” Or something like that.)

Suze Ensoleillée

1/3 Suze.
2/3 orange juice.
Over ice.

“Toutes les saveurs de Suze se révèlent dans la simplicité de ce cocktail ensoleillée.” (“All the flavors of Suze reveal themselves in the simplicity of this sunny cocktail.” Or something like that. The recipe on the site said to use 1/3 of each ingredient, which doesn’t make sense, so I extrapolated.)

Suze Extrême

1/3 Suze.
2/3 gin.
Over ice.

“Servi givré, il révèle à l’extrême les arômes d’agrumes de Suze.” (“Served frosted, it reveals to the extreme the citrus fruit flavor of Suze.” Or something like that. The recipe on the site said 1/3 Suze and 1/4 gin, which also doesn’t make any sense. I’m therefore guessing again here. Some silly French webmaster has had a few too many Suzes. :-)

That oughta keep y’all busy for a while! We’ll talk about Strega in another post.