Power of the Glow
1 oz Mezcal [Findecio]
1 oz Suze
1 oz Creme de Menthe [Short Path]
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel and mint sprig.
Remember that thing Katie from Garnish blog and I did a few weeks ago, or even almost a year ago, where we swapped bottles and made drinks? Well it’s time for our fourth installment, this time featuring Suze. You may recognize this French bitter herbal aperitif by its awesome label design (shout out to Katie for a the handmade version) or its striking yellow color. Before you read any further, go check out creation, the Apiary.
You can even make an argument that this falls into that category of non-Italian Amaro. It’s bracing, it’s bitter, and there are tons of herbs in the recipe. Only real difference is the country of origin, but it fits rather nicely into that world. Suze has lots of woodsy notes – pine, roots (especially gentian) and the like – that make it very unique. Not much sweetness either, there is actually more of a savory quality to it. All in all it’s a pretty assertive bottle, but one that’s worth getting to know.
It still works well in cocktails though. For this drink, I decided to fight fire with fire, and grab a few other bottles that also have strong personalities. The intense smoke of mezcal and the cooling menthol of creme de Menthe join Suze in the glass. My hope was that they would all throw their weight around enough to soften each other’s edges, and I wasn’t wrong.
The Power of the Glow has the classic mezcal smoky notes on the nose, intermingled with the earthiness of the Suze. The sip is bracing, but the mint keeps everything calm and cool. The Suze and Creme de Menthe accentuate each other’s herbaceousness, and all three bottles provide a nice alcoholic bite. Mezcal warms the finish just a bit, as bitter peppermint flavors finally bring up the rear. Given this drink’s brilliant color, I couldn’t resist pulling from a classic 80s movie for the name.
Suze is not for the faint of heart, but it is very rewarding. The earthy, mildly umami flavors it brings to a glass are hard to get from other bottles. The floral components play well with clear spirits like gin, while the lower notes are equally at home with mezcal or even some whiskies.
Sometimes with this bottle the best defense is a good offense, so lean into those big flavors. Next time you’ve got a bold bottle on our hands, don’t be afraid to double or triple down and see what happens.