Lily’s Aperitif


I saw somewhere a cocktail recipe that contained Gin, Suze and Blue Curaçao.  The drink was, of course, a brilliant green.  So in my pursuit of holiday cocktails, this was perfect!  This wonderful aperitif is named after Lily the Haunted Doll.  She is the slightly creepier version of the Christmas surveillance doll “Elf on a Shelf.” The idea being that, after you adopt her, she haunts various places in your home.

For the cocktail, we chose the slightly floral Oxley Gin, Suze, Carpano Dry Vermouth, and blue curacao.  The nose is bright with citrus and juniper from both the Gin and Suze.  The taste is bittersweet with orange, botanicals, and a bit of spice.  The finish is long with juniper, a touch of pine and gentian.


  • 1 oz. Oxley Gin
  • 2 oz. Suze
  • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Blue Curaçao
  • 2 drops Doc Elliott’s Actually Bitter Orange Bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard the peel




Spritz Picante

Spritz PicanteA Spritz is one of those perfect summer cocktails.  We wanted to keep the light, clean taste of the classic while adding a little tang.  After trying several liqueurs and even an amaro, we settled on Suze.  The full-bodied citrus and herbs coupled with the long, spicy, bitter finish make Suze a perfect base for a spritz.  Of course, a Suze spritz is nothing new, but we weren’t planning on stopping with Suze and prosecco!  Enter Ancho Reyes Verde.

Spritz Picante is all citrus and herbs to the nose.  On the palate it begins slightly bitter.  The ancho chili joins in the middle with a light touch of heat.  The finish satisfies long and clean.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 ¾ oz. Suze
  • ¼ oz Reyes Ancho Verde
  • 3 oz. Prosecco
  • Splash of Topo Chico
  • Lime peel for garnish


  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the Suze and Ancho Verde to the cocktail glass over fresh ice. Alternatively, you can chill them in a mixing glass and strain into the cocktail glass over fresh ice.
  3. Add the Prosecco and top with the Topo Chico
  4. Garnish with the lime peel.

And Now for Something Suze

Now for Something Suze ServedI fell in love with Suze at first taste.  The full-bodied citrus and herbs and the long spicy, bitter finish had me!  I frequently use it as a modifier to add richness and a little herbal bitterness to various cocktails.  Almost a secret ingredient.

I created this cocktail to highlight the flavors of Suze.  After trying multiple styles of gin, I settled on Navy Strength Plymouth Gin.  Various London dries and Botanist were also very good.  I further experimented with vermouth.  Sweet vermouth alone does not work well.  A premium dry or a “perfect” with dry and bianco are best.

I’ve been making variations of this cocktail for a few years.  Only recently have I added Bigallet’s Thym.  While totally optional, the Thym enhances the woody notes of the Suze and prolongs the herbal flavors into the finish.  Just remember that the Thym is the modifier here.  More than 3 or 4 drops will result in a powerful taste of thyme.  The nose is lemon and faint herbs.  The first flavors are herbal and a touch woody.  Juniper follows with continued herbs and just a hint of thyme.  The finish is herbal, spicy and cleanNow for Smething Suze 2

  • 2 oz. Navy Strength Gin (Plymouth)
  • 1 oz. Premium Dry Vermouth such as Carpano
  • 1/2 oz. Suze
  • 3-4 drops Bigallet’s Thym (or half a bar spoon) – optional
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel and/or sprig of fresh thyme for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express lemon peel over drink and discard
  5. If using, dress up your cocktail with the dried lemon wheel, spank the thyme and float it on the lemon wheel.