Monday, February 3, 2020

Jeppson's Malort

During our Starbuck's Reserve Roastery adventure a few weeks back, we tried the Roastery Boilermaker which features malort, a Chicago staple alcohol that is so bad, few in their right mind would drink it straight. The Roastery Boilermaker mixes the malort with a lot of other things that mask malort's oddly pungent flavor, yet, my girlfriend was very insistent on trying malort straight. Though technically a bask, malort is very much like a wormwood flavored schnapps. Some aficionados swear on it as a remedy for stomach cramps and digestive issues.

I'm not unfamiliar with the stuff. My grandfather used to choke down a shot of malort after a rough day. He said it was akin to getting a slap back to reality. My mother and my grandmother always warned us that malort wasn't something we would ever want to try if we valued our taste buds. Yet, my siblings and I all kicked back a shot of the stuff at my grandmother's funeral back in the late 90s and I recall it tasting so bad that I wanted to follow her into the grave afterwards.

This weekend, I acquiesced to my girlfriend's whim and decided to pick up a bottle of malort from my favorite South Side liquor store. When I brought it up to the clerk, she asked me if I had intended to play a trick on somebody with it. When I informed her that it was for intentional drinking, she laughed and wished me luck.

Let me tell you in no uncertain terms: This stuff tastes terrible. It's distilled sadness. It goes down with the flavor of pencil shavings fermented in gasoline, which is bad enough. But, it's the aftertaste that gets you. It's like pencil shavings fermented in gasoline that have been set on fire. My girlfriend instantly regretted trying the stuff and likened it to drinking liquefied tree bark. I've still got almost an entire bottle left and have been trying to think of concoctions that might mask most of the malort flavor. Perhaps some kind of Moscow Mule knockoff involving grapefruit and a few shots of Old Style. One might call it a "Chicago Cow".

Malort has gotten quite a reputation with hipsters in the area and has become somewhat popular at a number of area bars. So, Malort is seeing a bit of a resurgence. All they need now is a cool advertising campaign with a catchy slogan to appeal to the masses. Perhaps something like "Had A Rough Day? It Could Be Worse: Jeppson's Malort".

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