Classic French bitter liqueur Suze has been launched into the UK on-trade in a new bottle with a higher ABV.
Previously available at 15% ABV, it has been introduced at 20% ABV in line with the earlier strength of the liqueur that dates back to 1885. The recipe has also been tweaked by adding more of the core ingredient of gentian root balanced by extra sugar.
With a new bottle design inspired by its heritage, it has been launched as Suze Sauveur d’autrefois into the UK by Emporia Brands on behalf of brand owner Pernod Ricard.
Suze was created in 1885 by Fernand Moureaux as an aperitif based on gentian roots, originally at 32% ABV but soon moderated to 20% ABV. It was named after his step-sister, Suzanne Jaspart.
It is made 50% from fresh wild gentian root from the Auvergne region and 50% from fresh cultivated gentian root from Normandy. The wild roots take 20 to 30 years to be ready to harvest while the cultivated roots take only nine to 13 years.
They are harvested either by hand with a tool called “la fourche du diable”, or the devil’s fork, or by machine. They are then macerated in neutral alcohol for around a year before being pressed to extract the flavour. The bouquet is enhanced by the addition of a distillate of angelica and other herbs.
Emporia Brands recommends Suze for drinking on the rocks, with tonic over ice or as a White Negroni using equal parts Suze, white vermouth and a London dry gin, served over ice with a twist of lemon.
It is also used in one of the signature serves suggested by Lucozade Ribena Suntory, mixing it with the company’s French soft drink Orangina plus an orange twist and fresh thyme.
The new-look Suze has been introduced to bartenders at events in Edinburgh, Manchester and London and also at Boutique Bar Show in London at the end of September.
At the same time, the premium small-batch vodka Distil No 9 from the Staritsky & Levitsky distillery in Ukraine has been launched into the UK by Emporia Brands.
Made with single-grain Ukrainian wheat, it is distilled five times in traditional copper stills and purified four times – twice through young birch charcoal and twice through rhinestone. At 40% ABV, it uses spring water from a nature reserve in the Carpathian Mountains close to the distillery.