Malort is a liquor that has been consumed since the middle ages and is known for its intensely bitter taste. It is typically poured neat over iced tea. One of the most notable aspects of this beverage is its herbal flavor, which has an aftertaste reminiscent of licorice. The yellow color of the drink can be traced back to the herbs used to prepare it. Wormwood, which is derived from the Artemisia absinthium plant, imparts a distinctive and spicy flavor to the beverage.
Malort is a bitter spirit manufactured in Sweden for more than a century. It’s typically consumed in shots and is popular among Swedes who appreciate the “scorching” flavor. This cocktail was created in the early twentieth century and brought to Chicago by Swedish immigrants. During Ban, the drink was sold as a medication, and once the prohibition ended, Carl Jeppson, a former church custodian, began selling the liquor professionally.
What is Malort?
Malört is a type of alcoholic beverage. It’s a bitter liqueur created from Swedish wormwood and other herbs. Carl Jeppson, a Swedish chemist, developed the recipe in 1941 after returning from service with American forces during World War I and starting work at Skanska Manufaktur AB, a distillery in southern Sweden. Wormwood is the most identifiable element in Malört, but it also has the worst flavor.
According to legend, drinking less than a shot of Malört makes you feel like you’re licking an ashtray. Because of its potency, Malört is occasionally mixed with other beverages (such as cola or ginger ale) to make more controllable cocktails. Malört is available in the United States, but it is not nearly as widespread or widely distributed.
By the 1920s, Jeppson had developed Malört, his version of bäsk brännvin, a Scandinavian spirit made from potatoes, grain, or wood. By promoting it as a “medicinal” medication that could cleanse the body of stomach worms and other parasites, he got over Prohibition rules.
According to a previous Sun-Times account, despite having a cigar shop in the city, Prohibition compelled Jeppson to sell his drink door-to-door or even out of a suitcase on the pavement. By the end of Prohibition, Malört had earned enough respect that Jeppson was permitted to market the drink’s recipe with his name on it.
While the liquor’s manufacture has moved from Chicago to Kentucky to Florida and back, its reputation and notoriety among Chicagoans have not. As a result, we asked Sun-Times readers to explain the flavor of Malört to someone who had never tried it before.
What does Malort Taste Like?
Malort is a traditional Swedish liqueur produced with wormwood, responsible for its distinctive flavor and makes it difficult to consume on its own. The best approach to appreciate the one-of-a-kind flavor of this spirit is to drink it in moderate amounts over ice or to mix it with some tonic water. Because of its very bitter and astringent flavor, it is typically served neat over iced tea because iced tea dilutes its intensity.
It has the flavor of licorice, which may sound appetizing, but it is not sweet licorice; instead, it has a bitterness reminiscent of herbs. It is probably the bitterness responsible for giving Malort its distinctive flavor and hue. The usage of herbs in its production results in a brilliant golden tint, which can be explained by the color’s origin. The wormwood, which derives from Artemisia absinthium plants, possesses a flavor profile that is entirely unique to itself. This bitter flavor resonates with other components such as juniper berries and aniseed seeds to create a combination of challenging to categorize flavors.
This flavor is not for everyone, but it has a distinct taste that may be appreciated by anyone willing to try a sip of the beverage out of curiosity or out of necessity. This flavor is acquired, and it has a flavor unlike any other. It has also been suggested that the bitterness of Malort can be better handled when it is combined with tonic water since the bitterness of the tonic water complements the bitterness of the Malort.
Some Facts About Malort
Malört was produced in Chicago… It Wasn’t Always Like this, though
After the Mar-Salle Distillery, Malört’s first production location closed in the mid-1970s, the manufacturer moved to Kentucky for a short time before settling in Florida. Until the brave CH Distillery swooped in and purchased the trademark in 2018, the Windy City hallmark remained a product of the Sunshine State.
It Isn’t Actually Made Of Gasoline
Wormwood, a bitter herb noted for its capacity to kill stomach worms and other parasites, is the only flavor in Jeppson’s Malört. It’s also the principal component of Absinthe, a beverage famous for its hallucinogenic effects. However, because Malört’s wormwood contains very little thujone—the chemical ingredient that is thought to create mind-bending effects—you’ll only be making one trip to Bitterville.
It Has the Same Name As Everyone’s Favourite Nuclear Meltdown Spot
Malört means “wormwood” in Swedish; however, it is translated as “Chernobyl” in Russian. The controversial nuclear power facility was named after the native wormwood fields that formerly thrived there… before all the radioactivity.
Carl Jeppson Was One of the Few People Who Could Drink Malört
Carl Jeppson, a Swedish immigrant, arrived in Chicago in the 1930s with his own spirit. The cigar shop owner and habitual smoker were said to enjoy selling and drinking Malört, not only because it padded his wallet and because it was said to be one of the few things his tobacco-ravaged tongue could recognize.
Malört defied Prohibition
Throughout Prohibition, good old Jeppson sold bottles of Malört door-to-door, cleverly branded as “medicinal alcohol.” Because of that loophole, it was the only legal wormwood product sold in the United States for 96 years, from 1912 to 2008, when other wormwood products, notably Absinthe, made a comeback.
The Three-Star Flag in the Logo is Not a Typo
It’s not because the designer was ripping shots of the product at work because the Chicago flag on the label only has three stars. Malört, in reality, predates the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933, which inspired the flag’s fourth (and, thus far, final) star.
The Recipe is Eventually Credited to Sweden
Malört’s Viking fuel is created in the style of bäsk brännvin, a Scandinavian name for distilled liquor derived from potatoes, grain, or wood, which translates as “bitter distilled spirit” in Swedish.
During the Pandemic, Malört Was Extremely Useful
Pun fully intended. During the initial few frantic weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak, the lovely people at CH Distillery decided to aid their fellow Chicagoans by producing Malört-branded hand sanitizer and distributing boatloads of it to hospitals, clinics, and blood donation centers in need. At the distillery’s Bar & Table tasting area, you can get your own “two-fisted clean” sanny by the gallon or spray bottle these days.
Malort is Essential to the Chicago Handshake
The iconic Chicago Handshake, a boilermaker capable of withstanding the lake effect, is made with an Old Style tallboy and a shot of Malört.
The Fan Slogans are Invaluable
Jeppson’s is no longer the small mom-and-pop company it once was—they just had two employees and no marketing budget a few years ago—the lengthy legacy of depending on committed fans to produce ad slogans is now a celebrated art form on social media. Here are a few highlights from the past:
- Tonight, Malört is the night you fight your father.
- Malört is the agony Champagne.
- For generations, Malört has turned taste buds into taste enemies.
- It’s easier to drink Malört than to tell them you have nothing to live for.
- What soap does Malört use to clean its mouth?
- These pants aren’t going to sh** themselves, Malört.
- Malört is the genuine flavor of social estrangement.
- Pumpkin spice for sadists, Malort.
Where can I Purchase Jeppson’s Malort?
Opinions on the Swedish liquor known as Malort have split down the middle. Even though Malort and Jagermeister are made from entirely different ingredients, the flavor of Malort is instantly recognizable to anyone who has tried Jagermeister.
You won’t have any trouble finding Malort to purchase if you’re thinking about giving it a shot. On their website, you’ll find a list that includes both online vendors and offline establishments like local bars and liquor stores. The cost of a bottle of Jeppson’s Malort can range anywhere from $20 to $30, depending on the size.
Does Malört have a Pleasant Flavour?
Jeppson’s Malort is an exceptionally flavorful liqueur with a robust flavor profile that is distinctly its own. What is this, exactly? The bitter taste of the wormwood is wholly overpowered in this beverage by the pleasant citrus flavors. People who appreciate potent beverages with complex flavors, such as absinthe or dark rum, would probably love Jeppson’s Malort.
And You Really Should Experiment with It. Jeppson’s Malort is a regional beverage largely unheard of outside of the Windy City, even though it is produced in Florida and mainly sold there. However, the drink is infamous for having a highly bitter flavor and is virtually inedible to those sampled.
What is the Best Way to Store Jeppson’s Malört?
It is crucial to store your Jeppson’s Malort in a dark spot where the temperature is excellent, and the humidity levels are not too high. This is the best way to preserve the flavor of your Jeppson’s Malort. It is recommended that Jeppson’s Malort be kept in an environment with temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 degrees and a humidity level of no more than 65 percent. Mold can grow in damp environments, which will affect the flavor and scent of the liquor if it is stored there.
Dehumidifiers are only one of the many tools at your disposal if you happen to make your home in an area where this sort of thing is common. It is recommended that Jeppson’s Malort be consumed within approximately six months of opening the bottle. If you do not consume all of the alcoholic beverages within the allotted time frame, you can store them at room temperature and away from light. After you have kept your Jeppson’s Malort for a while, when you are ready to open it and consume it, cool it in the refrigerator for a while first, then do so.
In summing up, Malort is an exceptionally flavorful liqueur with a robust taste that is distinctly it’s own. The intense flavor of the wormwood in this beverage is completely overpowered by the sweet citrus notes. People who appreciate potent beverages with complex flavors, such as absinthe or dark rum, would probably love Jeppson’s Malort. Those who don’t like their booze to be overly powerful will appreciate that it has a pleasant amount of sweetness.
Its body is dense and smooth, and it has a golden tinge to its color. The sweetness of candies is followed almost immediately by the anise bitterness characteristic of the beverage. At the very end, there is a layer that consists of several botanicals and other flavors. Malort is a potent and tasty beverage. However, it should only be consumed in moderate amounts due to its proof level of 100. It can be an excellent addition to cocktails, provided they are prepared correctly.