The Best French Aperitif You’ve Never Heard Of

Pete Capella
(Photo: )

Let’s start off with a confession: we are obsessed with bitter liqueurs. There, we said it. Maybe we’re Europhiles with a love for anything that comes from the old country. But more than likely, we just love the way that they combine taste profiles of bitter and sweet with hints of herbs, spices and even medicines. Lucky for us, in 2012 the long-sought-after French aperitif, Suze, was imported into the United States.

First created and produced by Fernand Moureaux in 1889, Suze carries a bitter taste fronted by its main ingredient, the yellow gentian root. The wild gentian is harvested from the mountains of the Jura and Auvergne regions of France. Other notable flavors in Suze include a subtle vanilla and a sweet candied orange. Its distinct yellow color makes it as beautiful as it is flavorful.

Suze is not just known as one of the top-selling aperitifs in France, but also as a monument in design. In 1896 Henri Porte designed the iconic tall, slender bottle that has been associated with Suze ever since. Its label elicits a late 19th century France with its ornate simplicity. The aperitif is so iconic that in 1912, Pablo Picasso himself showed his respect (not to mention gave it one hell of a plug) with his piece, “Verre et bouteille de Suze”.

Thanks to Pernod Ricard brands and Domaine Select spirit importers, you no longer have to travel to France to bring back a bottle of Suze – though we certainly encourage you to do so. 

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