More and more cocktail fans are gravitating toward the bitter — the popularity of Campari, Cynar, and the like have exploded over the last few years. But gentian liqueurs operate on a whole different level. They’re made from the gentian root, which is just about as bitter as it gets. But use them right and they’re perfect in cocktails.
Salers is the oldest such liqueur out there — produced in France since 1885 — and one of the best. Made from gentian root that’s steeped in neutral spirit to extract flavor and then distilled with other botanicals, before aging in French oak. The result has sweetness and body from a bit of added sugar and herbal-bitter flavors from all the botanicals, tempered just a bit by oak aging.
Try it out as an aperitif, pouring a good measure over ice with a big squeeze of lemon. Like what you taste? Give it a try in these three original cocktails.