Peychaud’s is one of the most classic bitters brands — and lately owner Sazerac (Buffalo Trace’s parent company) has been pushing the brand even further. First came a barrel-aged version of Peychaud’s Bitters. Now comes a whole new category of product: Paychaud’s Aperitivo.
If you’re familiar with Aperol or Campari, you understand the basics of the aperitivo category: bittersweet, emphasis on bitter, bright red in color, and quite low in proof. (At 11% alcohol, Peychaud’s is comparable to both of the aforementioned liqueurs.)
But Peychaud’s doesn’t hail from Italy, the home of the aperitivo. It hails from New Orleans. What is Sazerac doing with this category to set it aside from the Italianos? Let’s give it a taste.
Peychaud’s color is roughly in line with Aperol, maybe just a shade lighter. On the nose: immediate bitter orange, a touch of cherry, and hints of caramel. Aperol fans may find an initial familiarity here: Peychaud’s is so sweet and orange-focused you might initially confuse it for a type of triple sec. Juicy with mandarine notes, the initial attack folds in some marshmallow to sweeten it up.
It takes a few seconds for the bitter elements to come to the fore, but they’re quite restrained even as the finish arrives. Here, it really just flicks at the back of the throat with a quinine character, one that lingers for a bit as a sultry companion to that initial sweetness. It’s a vague sort of bitterness — one that doesn’t really resemble Peychaud’s Bitters in its classic format in anything other than color.
I tried making a Spritz with Aperol, Luxardo Aperitivo, and Peychaud’s Aperitivo, and Peychaud’s took a solid third place — it just didn’t have enough bitterness to hold its own in the drink. (By the way: This time out, I found the Aperol version to be my favorite.)
B+ / $20 / sazerac.com