Thursday, September 15, 2011

Suze to Finally Reach U.S. Shores

Peruse the back bar of the better cocktail haunts in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere and you'll predictably spot a few bottles that aren't sold in this country, liquors determined mixologists have smuggled in from Duty Free shops around the world. Havana Club, the Cuban rum, is one. Amer Picon, the French aperitif that is a critical ingredient in a Brooklyn Cocktail, is another. A third is Suze.

Suze, a bitter, wine-based French liquor flavored by yellow gentian, has been produced since 1889. It was invented by Fernand Moureaux, and Picasso immortalized it in 1912 in his Cubist work "Verre et bouteille de Suze." It is still fairly popular in France and Switzerland. And in the U.S. you'll sometimes see a bartender slip it in as an ingredient in a new cocktail. But mere mortals can not purchase it at the local liquor store.

Finally, however, the Suze drought it over. Domain Select has decided to import and distribute the Pernod-owned product. (Pernod bought it in 1965.) It will start showing up on shelves in January 2012. 

According to Domaine Select, the Suze recipe isn't exactly what it was in 1889. Like so many other French and Italian liqueurs and aperitifs, it "evolved" into a more "consumer friendly taste." Which is another way of saying: sweeter, lighter, less bitter. But, for the U.S. launch, Suze is getting back to its roots. Domain Select will be importing Suze d'Autrefois, which is described as "a return to the original intensity and flavor profile." It will be modeled after the original 1885 recipe. 

$30 will be the price.


frederic said...

I will believe it when it is on my shelf. I remember hearing that Suze would be out a year ago as well and actually spotted a bottle at a bar.

And I will believe that we can get Swedish Punsch when I see it (Eric Seed had a bottle at Tales in 2009 and last promised a release date of July 2011)...

Grade "A" Fancy said...


Anonymous said...

Love your blog. First time poster, but avid reader for a long time, from France. Glad you'll be having Suze soon.
At Harry's Bar in Paris, the drink of choice with this is the "Saint Louis", invented by Jerry, a variation on the negroni with equal parts Suze - Campari - Dolin Vermouth Rouge.
It's a great light and bitter apéritif.
The classic one is the "Pompier" (means "Fireman", but also "blowjob"). Suze, crème de cassis and some soda. It's a grandfather's apéritif. Light and delicious.
Keep up the great work.


Anonymous said...

Any tips on where this guy is available?


Vic Arpeggio said...

Any word on this?

Anonymous said...

We now have some at Royal Wine Merchants in NYC!! Been waiting a long time! They also reverted to the old label without the orange gloss.