If You Love Campari, Give French Suze A Try In Your Cocktails

While classic cocktails remain the standard of the drink industry, there are endless innovations and improvisations that skilled bartenders experiment with. While you can always order signature cocktails, it never hurts to try a new spin on an old favorite. And one swap you should know about and consider trying is Suze. If you're a fan of bitter liqueur like Campari, then this lesser-known and used liqueur will be a hit.

Though the French spirit shares many similarities with its Italian counterpart, it has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart. Suze is a liqueur made from gentian root, a bitter herb found in the Alps, and the terroir and shifts in key ingredients are what truly separate these two. But before you order your next Negroni with Suze instead of Campari, take some time to learn about the history, flavor profile, and common uses for the brightly-colored spirit. 

The history of Suze

Like so many classic cocktails and spirits, Suze began as a supplement for medicinal purposes. The history of Suze can be carefully traced back to 1885 when Fernand Moureaux, a pharmacist in the town of Thuir, France, created the gentian-based tonic. Of course, as a pharmacist, Moureaux was less concerned with creating a new spirit than he was in mixing up a solution to aid in his patients' digestion. The tonic, however, became so popular that Moureaux decided to turn it into a liqueur and named it after his wife, Suzanne. 

Over time, the name was shortened and Suze became a staple in French bistros, enjoyed as an aperitif or mixed in cocktails. But Suze is far from the only gentian-based liqueur. Gentian root can also be found in other common spirits such as vermouth, amaro, and Campari. That's why Campari and Suze are so often compared. 

What does Suze liqueur taste like compared to Campari?

It's often compared to Campari because both are bitter and have a bright color. However, Suze has a lower alcohol content at just 20% and a sweeter taste than Campari. Suze's unique flavor profile is best described as herbal and floral, with notes of fresh greens and floral citrus. It's less bitter than Campari, with a subtle sweetness that balances the bitterness. 

Unlike Campari, Suze also has a lighter body and a smoother finish, making it an excellent choice for those who find Campari too harsh. Suze can also be used in cocktails that call for other bitter liqueurs, such as Aperol or Salers. The Suze and Aperol Spritz is a refreshing and low-alcohol cocktail that's perfect for sipping on a hot day. To make the cocktail, simply combine Suze, Aperol, and soda water in a glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

How to use Suze liqueur

So, what cocktails can you make with it? The classic way to incorporate it into a mixed drink is the Suze and Soda, which is made by mixing the liqueur with soda water, ice, and a slice of orange. It's a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail that highlights the herbal and floral notes of the spirit. Another popular choice is the Suze Spritz, which is made by combining it with sparkling wine and soda water. It's a light and bubbly drink that's perfect for summer afternoons.

Suze is also a versatile ingredient in cocktails and can be used as a substitute for Campari in many recipes. One such cocktail is the Negroni, which is traditionally made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. However, by swapping out the Campari for Suze, you can create a lighter and more floral version of the classic cocktail. Suze can even be enjoyed on the rocks for a simple and straightforward drink. But no matter how you enjoy it, this French spirit is sure to impress.