Jeppson’s Malört: Chicago’s Answer to Fernet-Branca

Posted on May 26, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | 1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts on Fernet-Branca, a nearly undrinkable bitter Italian liqueur that is a giant hit in San Francisco, where 90% of all Fernet sold in America is consumed.

Jeppson's Malört, The Undrinkable Chicago Drink

Today, while tooling around the interwebs, I stumbled upon another regional favorite considered nearly undrinkable by all but its most ardent adherents, Jeppson’s Malört.

Although now distilled in Florida from a recipe developed in the 1930s by a Swedish immigrant named Carl Jeppson (“malört” is Swedish for “wormwood”), Jeppson’s Malört is drunk almost exclusively in and around Chicago.

And it is not pleasant. In fact, the taste has been described as everything from dirt, to turpentine, to “exactly like eating a tire fire“.

However, if you decide to try Jeppson’s Malört, you can’t say you weren’t warned, as the label is a model of truth in advertising…

Most first-time drinkers of Jeppson Malort reject our liquor. Its strong, sharp taste is not for everyone. Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate. During almost 60 years of American distribution, we found only 1 out of 49 men will drink Jeppson Malort. During the lifetime of our founder, Carl Jeppson was apt to say, ‘My Malort is produced for that unique group of drinkers who disdain light flavor or neutral spirits.’

It is not possible to forget our two-fisted liquor. The taste just lingers and lasts – seemingly forever. The first shot is hard to swallow! PERSERVERE. Make it past two ‘shock-glasses’ and with the third you could be ours…forever


And, yet, color me intrigued. I’m scheduled to pay a brief visit to Chicago at the end of the summer, so you may be certain that I’ll be doing some investigative reporting, perhaps I’ll even bring a bottle back for my fellow Locusts to sample.


One Response to “Jeppson’s Malört: Chicago’s Answer to Fernet-Branca”

  1. The end of the Mayan World as We Know IT! Two bourbons to drink before the Mayan Apocolypse (We like to call it Mayacolypse) : Liquor Locusts
    December 20th, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    […] Malort! Here is the link to our original discussion of this liquor.  Exactly like eating a tire fire.  The point here is, […]

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