Jeppson's Malört

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A bottle of Jeppson's Malört

Jeppson's Malört, a distilled beverage, is a brand of bäsk brännvin produced by the Carl Jeppson Company of Chicago. Jeppson's Malört is named after Carl Jeppson, the Swedish immigrant who first popularized and sold the liquor in Chicago. Malört is the Swedish word for wormwood,[1] which is the key ingredient in a bäsk brännvin.


The Carl Jeppson Company is currently owned by Patricia Gabelick, who took over the business after the 1999 death of long-time owner George Brode. Brode had purchased the original recipe from Carl Jeppson in the 1930s and created the famous Jeppson's Malört testimonial that once appeared on every bottle. Jeppson's Malört is available in some Chicago area taverns. It was made in Chicago until the mid-70's, when the distillery that produced it for the Carl Jeppson Company closed down. Jeppson's Malört is currently made in Florida.[2]

Label statements[edit]

"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 after the first "shock-glass." 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 [sic]. Make it past two 'shock-glasses' and with the third you could be ours...forever"[3]

Current status[edit]

Further information: Chicago culture

While Gabelick acknowledges that the drink is a "niche liquor," selling a comparatively small number of cases annually, it has gained increased relevance among bartenders, bikers, and Chicago's Hispanic community, where Gabelick's notes that it has become "a rite of passage." The satirist John Hodgman has also adopted the drink in his stage show, offering shots to his audience.[4]

The taste of Jeppson's Malört is extremely bitter and is alleged to be a cure for indigestion.[5]

Other styles of bäsk are manufactured in Sweden. One of the most popular is "Bäska Droppar," made by the company V&S (Vin & Sprit AB).

In Summer 2013, Chicago bar Red Door featured Malört infused-snow cones (it has a summer tradition of serving snow cones doused with alcohol). The liquor is mixed with Benedictine and Angostura orange.

In Joe Swanberg's 2013 film Drinking Buddies, drinking a shot of malort is mentioned as a Chicago tradition for erasing past mistakes.

In an interview with Gothamist blog Chicagoist, humorist John Hodgman said Jeppson's Malört "tastes like pencil shavings and heartbreak."[6]

Jeppson's Malört is popular among Section 8 Chicago, Chicago Fire Soccer Club's supporters association and is often on hand at the pre-game tailgate.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]