ACME's Ed Loveday on the return of the apéritif
And Suze, a delicious French bitter has been at the forefront of this movement. Created in 1889 in the outskirts of Paris, it's remained largely unheard of in Australia - until recently. Its rediscovery, is largely thanks to bartenders and their penchant for drinking literally anything unpalatable to the uninitiated.
Suze is made from gentian root, which grows wild in the Jura Mountains between Switzerland and France. Gentian root has had a lengthy history as a herbal medicine, used to treat digestive problems, fever, hypertension, muscle spasms, malaria and a few too many long lunches. It's also the principle ingredient in a bunch of other more recognisable beverages, such as Aperol and Angostura Bitters.
In the glass, Suze strikes a balance between earthy, bitter, floral and fresh and has a distinctive lemon citrus undertone. And at only 15%ABV it's basically breakfast.
So how do you drink it? Traditionally it's served neat, with tonic or with a splash of orange juice. According to its manufacturers, Suze can also be enjoyed with a glass of Coke.
But for a refreshing flip on some classic cocktails, substitute Suze in place of Italy's superstar aperitif, Campari (think the Negroni, Americano etc).
Here are three ways you can use Suze...
20mls Dolin Blanc (or another sweet white vermouth)
In a mixing glass, combine Suze, gin and Dolin Blanc; and stir to chill. Strain into a short rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Suze + Tonic
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprig of rosemary.
1/3 cup lemon sorbet
Whisk together the sorbet and a splash of prosecco until mixed. While whisking, gently pour the vodka, Suze and remainder of prosecco. Serve in a martini glass or coupe.
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