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, 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 a staple of Chicago area taverns and is only sold in the Chicago metropolitan area. 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.
"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 [sic]. Make it past two 'shock-glasses' and with the third you could be ours...forever"
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.
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.
- Jeppson's Malört Official Website
- Bäska Droppar at Vin & Sprit AB
- The AV Club Taste Test: Jeppson's Malört
- T&T's Bad Booze Review: Malört
- Daily Finance: Turning Foul Flavors Into Sweet Success
- AOL News Team Drinks Jeppson's Malort
- Review of Jeppson's Malort drinkspirits.com
- Omnivorous: The Great Malort Challenge chicagoreader.com April 9, 2009