Peruse the back bar of the better cocktail haunts in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere and you'll predictably spot a few bottles that aren't sold in this country, liquors determined mixologists have smuggled in from Duty Free shops around the world. Havana Club, the Cuban rum, is one. Amer Picon, the French aperitif that is a critical ingredient in a Brooklyn Cocktail, is another. A third is Suze.
Suze, a bitter, wine-based French liquor flavored by yellow gentian, has been produced since 1889. It was invented by Fernand Moureaux, and Picasso immortalized it in 1912 in his Cubist work "Verre et bouteille de Suze." It is still fairly popular in France and Switzerland. And in the U.S. you'll sometimes see a bartender slip it in as an ingredient in a new cocktail. But mere mortals can not purchase it at the local liquor store.
Finally, however, the Suze drought it over. Domain Select has decided to import and distribute the Pernod-owned product. (Pernod bought it in 1965.) It will start showing up on shelves in January 2012.
According to Domaine Select, the Suze recipe isn't exactly what it was in 1889. Like so many other French and Italian liqueurs and aperitifs, it "evolved" into a more "consumer friendly taste." Which is another way of saying: sweeter, lighter, less bitter. But, for the U.S. launch, Suze is getting back to its roots. Domain Select will be importing Suze d'Autrefois, which is described as "a return to the original intensity and flavor profile." It will be modeled after the original 1885 recipe.
$30 will be the price.