• Home
  • Articles
  • DIY Suze: How To Make This Iconic French Aperitif At Home

DIY Suze: How To Make This Iconic French Aperitif At Home

suze aperitif

Out of all your fine wines and spritzers, there is one drink that stands out for its pleasant mouthfeel and a slightly dry texture which subtly titillates your senses. This is the aperitif, a fizzy alcoholic drink usually enjoyed before or after a meal. There are many kinds of aperitifs such as the vermouth or the lillet blanc or even the amaro which are thoroughly delightful beverages best enjoyed with a fresh and light meal. Yet, one aperitif which particularly stands out for its deep golden hue, its herbaceous flavour and its bittersweet notes brought in by a generous presence of tangerine and lemon is the suze, a French liqueur that became popular in the late 19th century.

Suze Origins

Suze carries tasting notes which can fall somewhere between a campari and an aperol, and evidently it has a more vegetal taste that other variants. According to Food and Wine, gentian root is macerated in alcohol for a year to impart its flavour for making the suze and the distilled spirit is then infused with various aromatics to give the drink its uniquely complex flavour.

suze aperitif

The aperitif has an interesting origin story which can be traced back to French distiller Fernand Moureaux who sought to create a new aperitif using gentian root, or the root of the purple flower which has slightly bittersweet, herbaceous properties. Gentian root is often used for medicinal purposes but its incorporation into making fine spirits is just as common. The drink became exceedingly popular after it was showcased at the World’s Fair in Paris and began to be served in bars and pubs around the world.

In Cocktail Craft

Suze’s soft flavour and a slightly floral profile make the drink rather appealing, particularly as a fine spirit to savour at an early evening gathering. Sometimes, the gentian root also produces very earthy and bitter notes while exuding a slight minty freshness which is a rather unexpected twist for the palate.

As a very light but inviting drink, Suze can be used in a variety of cocktails for its subtle notes and a very distinct taste. You can also substitute certain aperitifs like a campari with Suze, especially if you want a less red and less sweet version than your regular Italian liqueur. The drink is a great addition to a negroni or to any other gin-based cocktail and its flavours are only elevated when the concoction is garnished with a burnt lemon peel twist.

You can just as easily make this luxe and elegant aperitif at home following a very simple recipe. Read on to know more about crafting your own, DIY Suze:


One bottle (750 ml) base spirit like vodka or light brandy

30 gms dried gentian root

10 gms dried chamomile flowers

5 gms orange peel

1 teaspoon angelica root

½ teaspoons dried coriander seeds

For simple syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

diy suze


1. Combine all the botanicals in a glass jar and pour the neutral spirit over them until fully submerged.

2. Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks, shaking the jar every few days to mix the ingredients.

3. After the botanicals are infused, strain the mixture using a mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

4. In a saucepan, combine equal parts water and sugar to make simple syrup and heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely.

5. Combine the spirit and syrup together and adjust proportions according to your taste preferences.

6. Funnel the drink into a decorative glass bottle and age it for a further two weeks to allow the flavours to meld.

7. Your homemade Suze is now ready to be served. You can enjoy it over ice or use it to concoct delicious cocktails.

This content is not available in your location