Food - Drink
Chicago’s Malört Liquor Is Famous For All The Wrong Reasons
Outside of Chicago, mentioning Malört is bound to result in blank stares, but in the Windy City, you’re likely to encounter strong opinions. The bitter liquor is a unique point of pride in the city, and if you manage to get a hold of a bottle for yourself, you’ll quickly understand why it’s so well known.
Malört is the concoction of Swedish immigrant Carl Jeppson who created a version of the Swedish liquor bäsk during Prohibition. Malört is almost entirely flavored with wormwood and tastes pretty terrible. Because of its flavor, the alcohol has become popular over the years as a way to test wills — something awful consumed as a prank or out of solidarity.
The liquor’s reputation is best summed up by "Malört face," the name given to the disgusted reactions people often have after tasting it. Locals have described its flavor as "gasoline on the rocks with a twist of regret," or "pencil shavings and depression." One reviewer described the flavor as grapefruit and honey with an aftertaste of gasoline, earwax, and bug spray.