... tastes like sad Christmas
April 28, 2016 5:57 PM   Subscribe

New York Sommeliers Try Malört: "On the palate ... a mix of corked Bordeaux, Saler's apéritif on crack, dead dog, and the Gowanus canal during summer."
posted by Joey Michaels (157 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wrong. Julmust is what tastes like sad Christmas. The saddest Christmas.
posted by The Juche Idea at 6:01 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was pleased with myself for finding and trying Fernet Branca (Fernet and Coke is actually a nice highball!), but ever since I learned about Malört, I've been wanting to try it. This article has only encouraged that notion.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:07 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine keeps a list of bars that carry this stuff in seattle... and refuses to tell anyone. Still trying to find it somewhere.
posted by emptythought at 6:10 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Tastes like the day Dad left"

God I love this stuff. A Chicago bartender friend who owns a bar in Oaxaca will soon have Jeppson's on his shelves.
posted by hototogisu at 6:15 PM on April 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


If you live in a state that allows delivery of alcohol (and you have someone to sign for it), Binny's has a 'fine' selection of malörts. Personally I have tried three of them: Jeppson's, Letherbee, and Bäska Snaps. All are unremittingly vile, but in their own distinct ways.
posted by jedicus at 6:16 PM on April 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


We just bought tickets for MaxFunCon East, so perhaps we'll get to/have to try it in a few months.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:19 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wrong. Julmust is what tastes like sad Christmas. The saddest Christmas

Cynar.
Cynar is the smelly grandma who serves the grandkids rabbit on Easter. Non-ironically.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:22 PM on April 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


Fernet Branca is my shot of choice. So good. It's super popular amongst the industry crowd here in Philly. It also apparently consumes a huge percentage of the world's yearly crop of saffron, which is kind of interesting.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:23 PM on April 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


The Star Wars Christmas Special of liquors.
posted by schmod at 6:24 PM on April 28, 2016 [11 favorites]




Honestly, Malort gets a lot of press, but I find Fernet way, way worse. And I say this as someone who adores fernet.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:31 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was talking to a bartender last week who said she likes to put bitters into Malort because it makes it less bitter
posted by beerperson at 6:32 PM on April 28, 2016 [55 favorites]


She wasn't joking
posted by beerperson at 6:33 PM on April 28, 2016 [23 favorites]


Seriously, would someone just mail be a bottle already.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:36 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh and this was because I bought a guy his first-ever shot of Malort and he said 'Do we shoot this or sip it' and on the word 'sip' you could see everyone's face implode in horror at the thought
posted by beerperson at 6:41 PM on April 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


Not only is Malort a hell of a thing by itself. But bartenders around Chicago consider it a worthy challenge to make a tasty cocktail using it as a base ingredient. You can find those cocktails at some of the best bars in the city, and they often end up being really, really good.
posted by naju at 6:43 PM on April 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, a shot of Malort mixed with Steigl Radler (grapefruit). Delicious.
posted by naju at 6:49 PM on April 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


I vaguely remember tasting it at the amaro party at aubilenon's, and I think I liked it. But then, I sip Fernet Branca, so my palate is clearly suspect.
posted by Lexica at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Did you ever accidentally breathe a puff of OFF! brand insect repellent into your mouth and get that taste on your tongue? That's exactly what Jeppson's Malort tastes like. And I don't mean that as some kind of hyperbole about how bad it is. I like Jeppson's. I'm just telling you it tastes like insect repellent.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:54 PM on April 28, 2016 [52 favorites]


Malort tastes like Band-Aids and hairspray, but goes down smoother and easier than any other straight liquor (except for good tequila) for me. I'd rather do shots of Malort than vodka or whiskey.
posted by Fig at 6:56 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


That article and several of y'all's comments made me literally LOL. Maybe I should change my user name to moleort in homage?
posted by ferret branca at 7:00 PM on April 28, 2016 [55 favorites]


well it's WAAAAAY better than Dmitri vodka or gin. Better than Jagermeister too for that matter.
posted by Max Power at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not only is Malort a hell of a thing by itself. But bartenders around Chicago consider it a worthy challenge to make a tasty cocktail using it as a base ingredient. You can find those cocktails at some of the best bars in the city, and they often end up being really, really good.

Care to post any of these really really good recipes for malort cocktails? Or is it a secret?
posted by dilaudid at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


So could anyone maybe mail me like a shot worth? I don't want a whole bottle, but I am really curious.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


All are unremittingly vile, but in their own distinct ways.

Are you sure this isn't a thread about IPAs?
posted by mr vino at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2016 [28 favorites]


posted by ferret branca at 21:00 on April 28

When you create a mefi account while drunk but it works
posted by resurrexit at 7:04 PM on April 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


My palate is so unrefined that I can barely taste the difference between wine and beer, so I'm tempted to find some just to see if it can somehow taste bad enough for me to register.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Most of them look like they need to be locked in a furnished room with a case of Cisco.
posted by jonmc at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did you ever accidentally breathe a puff of OFF! brand insect repellent into your mouth and get that taste on your tongue?

The thing is...

Many Scotches, especially Islays, are described as having a "medicinal" or "antiseptic" flavor. That's because, due to the way they're made, there's iodine in it. It doesn't taste like antiseptic; it is antiseptic. (Well, partly.)

So I wouldn't be surprised if Jeppson's tastes like insect repellent because they actually have some chemical components in common. I ain't no organic chemist, but it seems like fermentation (especially when a bunch of alkaloid-rich bitter herbs are present) can produce some wacky molecules that we would never consider ingesting in non-alcoholic form.

Are you sure this isn't a thread about IPAs?
posted by mr vino


Eponysterical.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:06 PM on April 28, 2016 [18 favorites]


Thorzdad, you take back that horrible slander to my delicious Cynar.
posted by aspo at 7:07 PM on April 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


Care to post any of these really really good recipes for malort cocktails? Or is it a secret?

I don't have recipes, I've just been to a number of bars in the city with amazing malort cocktails. Those nights ended up a blur more often than not. Googling brings up articles like this and this.
posted by naju at 7:08 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the review for Few Spirits Anguish and Regret

"I love malört so it's not that I didn't know what I was getting into. This seriously just tastes straight up like acetone. I actually wonder if something wasn't wrong with the bottle we got, but I'm not exactly in a hurry to buy more. Stick with letherbee's version."
posted by lalochezia at 7:14 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Considering they are New Yorkers, they would probably say similar things about Chicago pizza as well.

Never had Malört, but I have wondered how it compares to Fernet, which I have tried. I describe Fernet as like Jägermeister but with no sweetness whatsoever. Definitely an acquired taste. The most consistently disliked spirit I have seen, though, is Chartreuse. Which is a shame, considering all the work the monks put into it.
posted by TedW at 7:15 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Better than Jagermeister too for that matter.

Jagermeister is actually wonderful... if you drink it as it was intended, as a bitters/digestive.

The story I heard about Jagermeister--and this is almost certainly apocryhpal, but I'll thank you to leave me my illusions if you do happen to know it to be false--is that its ascendance as the bro-iest of bro shots was entirely accidental. The well-heeled, old money people who owned Jagermeister made a big push to get Americans to try their concoction as a luxury after dinner drink. They bought full page ads in Cigar Aficionado and Food & Wine and the like. They convinced distributors and liquor stores to stock up in anticipation of a breakthrough that never came. Cut to pledge week at some hard-partying university. I heard it as Penn State, so let's just say Penn State. And a gaggle of frat boy upperclassmen go to their local package store and say, What can you give us cheap, for shots? The store owner shrugs and says, I can make you a helluva deal on this Jagermeister stuff. SOLD. Fast forward to that weekend and the Jagermeister has its way with the incoming pledges. Many alcohol poisonings. A couple of poor souls even die. So the next weekend, every bro in America heads to his local purveyor of spirits and says, Give me what they had a Penn State, bro! It quickly becomes the binge drinking shot of choice and the hoity toity European men who own the company are conflicted at the piles of money coming their way, but are in no position to argue. ~end~
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:21 PM on April 28, 2016 [18 favorites]


Chartreuse is most consistently disliked? Interesting, I think it is pretty approachable, especially chilled or on ice. Pretty sweet without that many rough edges. Way more approachable than Fernet Branca or Riga Black Balsam for instance (both favorites of mine).
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:22 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, I gotta say, fernet + moxie makes for a mean highball.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:23 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


My all-time favourite cocktail has Cynar in it, and is inexplicably delicious.
posted by Kreiger at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


From the label on the bottle:
"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! Persevere. Make it past two 'shock-glasses' and with the third you could be ours...forever"
It's not everyday you find a product whose label simultaneously admits that only 5% of the people who try just one taste of the product will ever try it again, then challenges you to see if you're one of those select few, and closes their pitch with a somewhat ominous threat.

The only real addition I'd make to that pitch is "It is not possible to forget, or forgive, our two-fisted liquor."
posted by chambers at 7:32 PM on April 28, 2016 [26 favorites]


We once made malört ice cream. We figured we would either improve malört or ruin ice cream, and we definitely ruined ice cream.
posted by jedicus at 7:37 PM on April 28, 2016 [35 favorites]


Malört isn't that bad. Whenever we have a party, the one bottle of liquor we know will be emptied is the fresh bottle of Malört we bought expressly for said party. It's just what one does at a Chicago house party, I suppose.

Malört mixed with Steigl Radler is genuinely delicious.
posted by Windigo at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


The most consistently disliked spirit I have seen, though, is Chartreuse

I actually had a ludicrously baroque meal recently - opener of Welsh rarebit with a dollop of smoked marrow, and a stingray filet entree. The only way I could think to finish the meal was with a glass of Chartreuse, which I hadn't had before... it was a beverage that took several regulated sips for the palate to recalibrate for accordingly. However at that point it was really quite tasty - reminds me of this phenomenal Dandelion Burdock soda that can be found around here and there.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Just want to point out something about those Sommelier opinions in the main link.

Compare and contrast;

"Not intense in aroma ... " / "such an intense aroma"

So which is it? Does it smell or not? You'd think, with all the talk of "yellow fruit characteristics" and "gin-like herbals", these experts could come to a conclusion about whether it smells or not.
posted by Jimbob at 7:49 PM on April 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


I have never had occasion to try either of these, but I have willingly consumed a vile Chinese spirit called erguotou/二鍋頭, and I have a hard time believing that there is much in this world that could be worse. It's the only thing I ever brought to a party and, upon the rest of the bar running dry, had sit untouched and unloved. The host insisted I take it back home with me.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:57 PM on April 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Just as other people upthread, I have worse things in my collection. I too find Fernet Branca more all-around blatantly offensive than Jeppson's Malort. Fernet-Vallet is even worse. Unicum Zwack is just about there. And just like Itaxpica I'm not here to trash fernet, I adore it. All bitter gross things are good in my sight.

I gotta say, though ... a fernet has a pleasant nose (all things considered). Any amaro I've had in my presence has had a heady and satisfying aroma.

Jeppson's Malort smells like something wrong has happened. It has two distinct components to me. One is what you should expect to smell, something bitter and made from weird weeds found in high mountains and the barks of obscure trees, blah blah blah. That is instantly overshadowed by the second part which smells - and I'm not just saying this, this is my personal scent memory - like a 1980s Gatlinburg hotel room that has allowed cigarette smokers to cloud the air, but they haven't been there too recently, so it's just this lingering stale smell plus whatever harsh cleaning chemicals the maid just used. I can't say why it's that specific; it's not like I spent that much time in Gatlinburg as a kid. Still, I must have spent one night in one hotel room like that and ... here we are today.

Doesn't mean I don't still love it, though. Like I said, easier to drink than Fernet. I admit having tried to forge a cocktail around it - behold, the Malortshake - but it never really felt integrated like a good cocktail should.

how ev er, should you happen to find yourself in New Orleans you absolutely must head to Cane & Table where they have an incredible drink called the Boss Colada. It's a piña colada-type (and I'm talking like 'refined cocktail bar' piña colada made with fresh pineapple juice etc.) cocktail where the primary liquor is Bäska Snaps. The creator, Nick Detrich, is a genius because it's one of the most delicious and literally refreshing tropical cocktails I've ever had. You absolutely must try it. Oh hey here's the recipe on the NYT.

[Also Nick D is the man who, when I asked for a Fernet Alexander, didn't even bat an eye but delivered it straight away - totally off the cuff, I might add. And yes, it was delectable.]
posted by komara at 8:06 PM on April 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


The host insisted I take it back home with me.

The value of liking otherwise unloved spirits - nobody at a party will ever steal your drink. I reserve ouzo for this purpose.
posted by solarion at 8:08 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]




Cynar is a lovely ingredient in a Manhattan, and Chartreuse is wonderful in all kinds of things; our most recent favorite is the Solar Flare variation from St. George. We like the weird, bitter, herby liqueurs, I guess.
posted by rtha at 8:14 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chartreuse is wonderful in hot chocolate
posted by troll on a pony at 8:17 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I need to try this shit before I move out of South Bend and to the east. Going to go to Chicago this weekend, guess I have a goal.
posted by Ferreous at 8:30 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mental note - Don't bother bringing anything to solarion's parties. There will be plenty of delicious unguarded ouzo.
posted by Kreiger at 8:34 PM on April 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


Gammel Dansk
posted by Windopaene at 8:35 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


So this is the durian of liquors, it sounds like.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:35 PM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have never had occasion to try either of these, but I have willingly consumed a vile Chinese spirit called erguotou/二鍋頭, and I have a hard time believing that there is much in this world that could be worse.

Oh, god. I love fernet, malort, and all things bitter and gross, but I've never met a baijiu I liked. It tastes like jolly ranchers melted in acetone, or something you'd use to strip paint off of cars. I keep a small bottle of Moutai around, but at this point it's mostly as a dare at parties, or if I guess for if I ever need to impress a mid-level Chinese Communist Party official
posted by Itaxpica at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2016 [19 favorites]


I had a friend visiting from Belgium who was obsessed with having a TRUE Chicago meal but didn't accept answers from natives like, "Well, you gotta eat the pizza, but we really only eat it with tourists. No, it still counts as authentic." And then he wanted fancy food and wouldn't accept the answer of a hot dog or Italian beef.

Ok, he wasn't a close friend; I didn't like him all that much.

So on his way out of town I figured out the perfect, most authentic gift: a bottle of Malört. And I tried to explain the whole thing but I'm not sure he quite got it. He took it home and when I asked if he'd tried it, he said he was having a dinner party in a few days and was saving it for that. I never heard what he thought about it. Probably for the best.

I always thought it was gross, but had only had it when I was younger as a stunt shot while pretty drunk already. I quit drinking before it's current renaissance. A while back ANOTHER friend was in from out of town, and she refused her shot (apparently I have terrible out of town friends, I'm realizing right this second) so I took a teensy tiny taste to remind myself, and... it was pretty good! I always liked Fernet, too, though.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:39 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't forget Bisleri Ferro China, it's fortified with Ammonium Ferric Citrate.
posted by 445supermag at 8:40 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


If we're talking more generally about unloved spirits now, can I just say how one of the highlights of our upcoming trip to Transylvania is going to be bringing back a bunch of Unicum. It's Hungary's national liqueur and it's an herbal bitters. It's rough on the uninitiated but once you get the taste for it... it's hard to do without.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I believe it's now being served at the Delta lounges at O'Hare.

It's not nearly as bad as everyone says, like Fernet Branca, and I enjoy having non-Chicagoans try it with me. Anyone who visits Chicago, I'll buy a shot for you. And have one myself.

Like many other things, the buildup and reputation are way overselling things--even the label plays hard into it, with claims of it being a two-fisted liquor" and it being "rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate".

If you want a more refined version, a local distillery, Letherbee, has a similar aquavit-based spirt, Besk, which is more herbal and far less pungently flavor-forward.
posted by qcubed at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


You know, I cannot imagine why one would do that to oneself where there is perfectly good top shelf selection of things which do not have the mouthfeel of mosquito spray and the bouquet of burning rubber.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I cannot imagine why one would do that to oneself where there is perfectly good top shelf selection of things which do not have the mouthfeel of mosquito spray and the bouquet of burning rubber

Plenty of liquors are bad in a boring, obvious way (cheap artificial banana flavored liquor, for example). Malört is bad but in an interesting, complicated way. So is fernet (aka "black licorice flavored Listerine"). So is Zirbenz, a stone pine liqueur.

Someone spent time and effort developing the recipe for these things. After several trials of difference ingredients, ratios, and processes they decided that yes, this is what they wanted. This was the best possible expression of their gustatory idea. I am intrigued by trying to figure out what they saw in it.

And some people actually like it. After a few years of offering malört to people*, I've found two or three that do. I'm definitely not one of them, all the more so after having drunk about a bottle's worth of Jeppson's and more than I'd like of Letherbee's and Baska.

* Always prefaced with a full, honest description of how awful it is, and always drinking it myself first. Eventually I developed such an aversion to it that I can't bring myself to swallow it anymore, but I'm pretty sure I will go to my grave remembering exactly what malört tastes like.
posted by jedicus at 8:59 PM on April 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Mental note - Don't bother bringing anything to solarion's parties. There will be plenty of delicious unguarded ouzo.

The corollary is that anybody who thinks this is distinctly welcome. I know almost nobody who likes it, which seems ridiculous.
posted by solarion at 9:15 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I vaguely remember tasting it at the amaro party at aubilenon's, and I think I liked it.

I was going to say, after tasting all of those amari, malort just seemed boring and flat by comparison.

Fernet Branca is still nasty, though.
posted by asterix at 9:36 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was the best possible expression of their gustatory idea. I am intrigued by trying to figure out what they saw in it.

This is putting an awful lot of faith in the creator, who you don't know from a bar of soap. It's buying into foodie mysticism. How do you know they weren't just bad at their job? How do you know they weren't being an asshole? If McDonalds serves me a bad burger, I don't waste any time wondering about the culinary inentions of the person who made it. I don't try to force myself to enjoy it. I trust my own tastes and senses. No need to beat yourself up because you can't appreciate something other people insist you should.
posted by Jimbob at 10:09 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


There is something terribly wrong with me - and with all of you, every last one of ya - for reading this article and thinking "I really want to try this."

I'm going to buy a bottle of Fernet on the way home. It's the closest we have.
posted by kanewai at 10:17 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, a cynar spritz is a perfectly fine drink in a perfectly straight-forward non-ironic way.
posted by kanewai at 10:18 PM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have tried Jeppson's when a Chicago friend brought a bottle here with him. It's not particularly bad. It's not really good, but given the reputation for being awful I was underwhelmed when I tried it. In fairness I didn't have a second shot. The liquor has a peculiar aftertaste that I wasn't wild about enhancing with seconds.
posted by axiom at 10:37 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


any Scotches, especially Islays, are described as having a "medicinal" or "antiseptic" flavor. That's because, due to the way they're made, there's iodine in it. It doesn't taste like antiseptic; it is antiseptic. (Well, partly.)

Some scotches have iodine AND phenol, and are typically over 80 proof, so they would make amazing antiseptics and mouthwashes if you find yourself stuck in a cabin with no mouthwash and lots of scotch, though I'd ask you to gut the mouthful of dead germs and expensive booze vs spitting it out like a friend did after accidentally sipping from the wrong beer bottle with cigarette butts in it. Ok, that was forgivable in the context.

The first time I dried a single malt it was Talisker. I'd just used old school chloraseptic spray that morning, which has an active ingredient of phenol, aka carbolic acid, the same stuff sprayed on CDC-style biohazard level 4 suits to kill things like Ebola and Marburg virus dead (at a presumably higher concentration). In chloraseptic the phenol annihilates viruses and bacteria in the throat, but is also sufficiently caustic to temporarily deaden the sensitive nerve endings in a sore throat.

Anyway, I recognized notes of phenol in Talisker and my love affair with Islays took off. Talisker isn't a true Islay but it's close and like the fact that the phenol steps out in front of the smoke and iodine notes. Laphroaig and Lagavulin are where I go for smoke and iodine / seaweed goodness.
posted by aydeejones at 11:13 PM on April 28, 2016 [11 favorites]


Fernet isn't bad at all once in a while so now I'm wondering if Malört - haven't had it - isn't what it's cracked up to be?
posted by atoxyl at 11:23 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine keeps a list of bars that carry this stuff in seattle... and refuses to tell anyone. Still trying to find it somewhere.

Apparently the Swedish Cultural Center in Queen Anne has it, and hosts a public happy hour on Fridays.
posted by hades at 11:48 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


If McDonalds serves me a bad burger [...] I don't try to force myself to enjoy it.

What if you inexplicably enjoyed the experience and wanted more? That's what's at play here (admittedly I am a member of the all things bitter and gross club).
posted by Standard Orange at 12:06 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Binny's has a 'fine' selection of malörts.

I like how they call the 5-star one "Serveras Kyld med malort" which happens to be all the text on the label that's not part of the actual product name.
posted by effbot at 1:04 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fernet Branca on ice is deeeeeelicious. Zack Unicom, though it has a great bottle, is nasty - like a cheap, unrefined version of fernet.

Similar but different, most ice cream places in Germany have a 'Waldmeister' flavor, which is sorta Jaegermeister-y like. Just in case you were thinking about Jaegermeister ice cream.

Also, is 'Steigl Radler' 'Stiegl Radler'? 'Cause 'Stiegl' is a really ok Austrian beer (with a great label) and I didn't know it had made it to the US. Also also, because I like this idea, a 'Radler' is a 'bike-rider' which is to say a 'Radler' beer is a beer made for drinking while you ride around on your bike. Not that I'm advocating drunk riding, but tasty beer is tasty and bikes are great and I always just thought it considerate that they designed one around the other... An alternative - and which any bar in Germany will make - is sprite (or 7-up) and beer. (And then there's cola and red wine, which is called a 'kalte muschi' - you'll have to google the meaning of that.)
posted by From Bklyn at 1:05 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think this thread is seriously lacking the Swedish perspective. So allow me to lie and claim that, pfft, malört - here in Sweden Bäska droppar (for instance) is considered a baby's drink. I mean, they serve it every Thursday in every state sponsored elementary school over here, for crying out loud. Pea soup, pancakes and Bäska droppar. Only people that can't handle the real stuff drink malört flavoured alcohol. So this thread makes absolutely no sense to me.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:18 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


At the first two years of MaxFunCon I smartly passed that by me and did not take a swig as even the people who loved shots were grimacing and saying, "it tastes like mouthwash!" I was also underage and with my dad but yet people still offered to get me drinks and I did have them (barely) because it was quite lax there.

But it was hilarious to be in a room of people swigging from the same bottle and all sharing the pain even if I didn't partake. And of course that is why I didn't, because it seems awful. It's also not a coincidence that many people came down with a cold soon after.

I won my live Judge John Hodgman against my dad. #brag
posted by Crystalinne at 1:35 AM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Also, is 'Steigl Radler' 'Stiegl Radler'?"

It is, and it is absolutely the best beer to drink while riding around on your bike, not least because it wouldn't really get you drunk enough to be a risk to anyone. It's basically a mildly alcoholic grapefruit soda, which you would probably expect to be kind of oversweet and sticky, but is actually perfect.
posted by bracems at 2:47 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


All the things you people are saying are gross are my favorite things.

Sadly, I'm pretty sure ain't no Malort in Seoul.

(my shelf probably houses the city's largest collection of amari, though, and I have a section of my fridge for freaky vermouths...)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:27 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Have never had the chance to try this stuff. But Unicum was my benchmark for ghastly alcohol until I encountered a clear spirit made from fermented horse milk in Mongolia. Distilled essence of sadness and dejection.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:19 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


My first thought upon trying it: This is what it's like to drink someone else's mouthful of saliva. Yet, I also agree with many of the assessments I've read. This leads me to believe Malort is the Sorting Hat of spirits.
posted by gnomeloaf at 4:39 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wrong. Julmust is what tastes like sad Christmas. The saddest Christmas

On the advice of the Internet I picked up some of this to fill the Pepsi Holiday Spice shaped hole in my life, but it wasn't the same.

RIP Pepsi Holiday Spice: December 2004, December 2006

I know some Malort fans and occasionally I'll get emboldened and try it, but it never works out well; the last time (hopefully ever), I just proceeded to spit it directly out of my mouth and at my roommate's face. Shockingly, we are still on speaking terms.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:31 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Malört is the best and I want a shot of it right now.
posted by lownote at 5:40 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can find those cocktails at some of the best bars in the city, and they often end up being really, really good.

We tried this at a party last year--somebody brought Malort, we did the shots and made the faces, and got to work attempting to make a cocktail to make it more palatable.

We tried cirtus-y--some orange juice and sprite, maybe-- at first, because hey, there's some grapefruit notes in there, which didn't work. Then I think we tried mixing it with vampiro mix, because maybe the tomato and hot sauce would team up to defeat the taste, which didn't work. Details are sort of murky after that point, but nothing ever really worked.

The problem was we could get the initial taste to be pretty tasty; but then the after taste just....lingered. And lingered some more. Even with a load of hot sauce, you'd get pleasant burning, and then, eventually, the Malort would re-assert itself.
posted by damayanti at 5:58 AM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Killepitsch anyone?
posted by slogger at 6:00 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sounds like I need to host a "Get drunk on Malört while watching Threads" meetup soon.
posted by schmod at 6:05 AM on April 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


That would be the best terrible party.
posted by aramaic at 6:10 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking as somebody who once used to regularly enjoy an after-work cocktail of Campari and grapefruit juice, I don't see a problem with these drinks.
posted by ardgedee at 6:13 AM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


This thread reads like the Candle Cove creepypasta
posted by zutalors! at 6:13 AM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Malort lovers, my people! Hello! I ordered a case of it from Binny's a few years ago. Still have a few bottles, if you're in DC and need a fix.

I like it with a nice ginger beer and lime, sort of a dark and stormy. Dirt and Stormy.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:20 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


I guess I really like bitter spirits, maybe a little too much, because I've had Spectacularly Bad Drunk Experiences with both malort and jager. Jager I refuse to ever drink again but I wouldn't be surprised if I had a shot of malort tonight.
posted by misskaz at 6:54 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's also a variant of this thing called Mallörtberg. I hear it tastes funny.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:34 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Green Chartreuse served neat and sipped very slowly. One of the most complex flavors I have ever encountered. In Into Great Silence you can watch an elderly monk tending some of the 130 botanicals in the recipe...
posted by jim in austin at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sadly, I'm pretty sure ain't no Malort in Seoul

I was really disappointed with the Chicago-themed bar in Itaewon, "Dillinger's", not having a bottle of Malort.

There's also a variant of this thing called Mallörtberg. I hear it tastes funny.

Especially with toast.
posted by qcubed at 7:40 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Bäska droppar is always the last of the variety pack of shots to go. Malört is such that when out local (Sweden) 17-year old had managed to procure a bottle of vodka to infuse with his Malört based brännvin spices the result was something he was a) willing to share with the rest of the family midsummer party and b) something he didn't bother bringing out to his own celebrations later that night. Tl;dr; not even underage drinkers will finish it.
posted by Iteki at 7:58 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


So is the MalortMap web site (I love you, Internet!!) actually correct that no Malört is for sale within 100 miles of Providence, RI, or merely kind of parochial?

Malt Map around 02903
posted by wenestvedt at 8:02 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I was in college, a friend of mine bought a bottle of Chartreuse because that was what all of the characters in one series of books drank. Sadly, nobody liked it at all, for me it tasted exactly like what this weird old spice store in my home town smelled like.

He graduated and left, and that bottle of Chartreuse was passed along three or four separate times as the new recipients would leave town and not want to take the thing with them. It eventually broke during a party, when somebody had it up on the top of a fridge and it shattered on the kitchen floor when I opened the door. That apartment REEKED of Chartreuse for months, I wonder if they ever got their deposit back.

I've never had Malört, but it sounds as polarizing as Limburger cheese, the kind of thing my dad could eat but my mom had to be out of the house because she couldn't stand the smell.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:34 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Limburger: black rye bread, raw onions, punch-you-in-the-face mustard, requisite slices of Limburger, with Russian imperial stout to accompany.

Consume. Feel weirdly buzzed. Continue consuming.
posted by aramaic at 9:05 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unicum... once you get the taste for it... it's hard to do without.

I respectfully disagree... I *have* tried it, and find it perfectly easy to do without. At the risk of upsetting Hungarian colleagues, I think it is one of the nastiest things I've tried, even nastier than the Indian "whisky" sold in plastic bottles for about $3/litre.

I will confess, however, to buying someone Unicum liqueur chocolates as a present...
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 9:42 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Green chartreuse is a wonderful drink - hardcore if neat, but a good companion to tonic. It not only tastes delicious, but the alcoholic buzz is distinctively soeedy and sparkly. It's a bit like sensi compared to ordinary grass.

But then, I also like baijiu in all its rancid-sock splendour. I was once on a press trip to Beijing, and at one point they put us all - a very disreputable bunch of raddled UK tech hacks - in a coach at some mercilessly early hour of the morning, to take us and our hangovers on a very long ride to some quaint town whose name and significance I thankfully forget. I think it took three hours out and three hours back, and the scenery around Beijing is seemingly designed to intensify all the sensory pain of a brain in post-late-night agony.

By dint of making our feelings and needs very apparent indeed (any hint of improvisation away from the schedule was very much discouraged), the driver was persuaded to pull into a roadside shop to let various of our number relieve themselves and others to stock up on water, soda, coffee and other comforts. I was... not perhaps at my finest, but I was feeling pretty rebellious and unimpressed by being forced into what seemed like a joyless school outing, so when I found a selection of small bottles of baijiu at the back of a shelf priced at a few pennies each, I abandoned my intention to bring myself back to humanity with lots of water and bought a bunch of these. My fellow hacks applauded my dedication to the old school of journalism, the UK PRs looked mildly horrified, and the Chinese minders gave me a look of such disdainful superiority I felt much better before I'd even cracked the first one.

I can report that baijiu is a very good suppressor of even a man-sized hangover, by dint of being even more unpleasant and drawing the battered consciousness well away from the initial source of pain. If taken over a few hours at the appropriate rate it is like repeatedly mashing the snooze button on internal distress. It softens the awfulness of barren landscapes, smooths the harshness of concrete architecture embedded in smog, and relieves the conscience of any scrap of guilt or duty. Unpleasant medicine, but medicine nonetheless, and welcome.

And of course, once we were back at the hotel, my companions had recovered enough to drag the PRs to the bar to dust themselves down at corporate expense.

I should have retired to bed at that point. But my entire being was suffused with baijiu in various stages of metabolism, and I badly needed to wash it away with gin.

I think that was my last memory of the day.
posted by Devonian at 9:51 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


We once made malört ice cream. We figured we would either improve malört or ruin ice cream, and we definitely ruined ice cream.

A friend made "roulette cookies" for a cookie exchange one year. Every sixth cookie had been made with a Jeppson's Malört reduction.

We don't really like that guy anymore.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


(but we ADMIRE him)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:58 AM on April 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


Oh, if people want to try something truly vile, I suggest getting a hold of feni, an Indian spirit distilled from cashew fruit. There's one company distributing it stateside, and the flavor is reminiscent of stone fruit and tire fire.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love all of the horrifying liquor recs. What y'all may not know about me is that I'm a devoted follower of hard-to-drink liquors. Arak/Ouzo/Raki? YOU BET! How about Sambuca, Galliano, Fernet Branca, and all of those other anis-flavored things? You bet. Cynar? Yes, please. Unicum? I buy it in bulk. Tuica/silva palinka/slivovitz? I have a flask of that stuff in my desk. I never touch it, since I am at work, but it reassures me to know it's there. It's emergency hooch. Malort? Let's do shots. Baijiu? Never had it. It's on my wish list, though. Akvavit? Sure, I'm due for that one again.

PLEASE LIST ALL OF THE TERRIFYING BOOZES. Those are my bag, man.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, don't forget about Black Balsam. I drank an ungodly amount of it in Riga, and it was delicious.
posted by Kreiger at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think someone brought this to an event I was at once. We passed it around. I've never drank anything so unspeakably, terrifyingly vile before - I nearly vomited from the taste alone.

I think the group still killed it, though.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


The most consistently disliked spirit I have seen, though, is Chartreuse.

Their loss. One of the bars here in Oakland makes a drink called The Darndest Thing, which is bourbon, green Chartreuse, lemon, Not Your Father's Root Beer, and egg white. They also have a boilermaker with the Chartreuse and the Not Your Father's Root Beer. Very tasty.

fernet (aka "black licorice flavored Listerine")

No, no, Fernet Branca tastes like getting punched squarely in the nose while sucking on a mentholated cough drop.
posted by Lexica at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, and if I had to describe the taste based on my memory of it, I would say it is two parts poison, one part acid, and seven parts of some weird chemistry-lab alcohol you really aren't supposed to drink
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fucking arak. I don't know how it manages to be so much more vile than ouzo or raki, since they're basically the same spirit, and yet...
posted by Itaxpica at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I took a bottle of Arak to a dinner party once and insisted we all drink together. I found out the next day that five of the eight guests bad to call in sick the next day. One guy missed work entirely and got fired. One person was sick for three days. And I apparently tore an antique dining chair into small pieces.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't know that Chartreuse was so disliked. It's more or less absinthe without the wormwood, right? I mean, a lot of people dislike anise-flavored things – but I didn't realize that it's especially despised.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


these are the most amazing stories and I hope this thread makes the podcast.
posted by zutalors! at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


WELCOME TO CHICAGO*, NEW YORK JERKS. Last year when the Hawks won the Cup I grabbed my boyfriend's arm and yelled that we were going to do Malort shots. The next thing I knew it was 2AM. I'm not really sure what happened in between. What a good night.

*OK, I actually don't live in Chicago anymore. But I still reside in a Chicago of the mind.
posted by capricorn at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


The next thing I knew it was 2AM. I'm not really sure what happened in between. What a good night.

I can't tell you what happened, but I can tell you that my whole living room smelled like Malort when I got up for work, so it seems like y'all had fun.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:20 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


This came up very recently on a live episode of The Dollop recorded in Chicago. Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds kept going on and on about this horrible shot they both drank onstage at the urging of their hosts, a strictly local liquor tasting like burnt rubber bands, hipster sweat, and other colorful descriptions. The only problem was they only mentioned the name in passing at a moment when it was difficult to hear what was being said. So, now the mystery is solved, and the timing was perfect the way it showed up here.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:26 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh Malort... this is something I have quite a bit of experience with.

Back in my mid-twenties, my friends and I would have a bottle of Malort at each party. We would pass the bottle around taking swigs and chanting "1 in 49" referencing the claim on the back of the label that only 1 in 49 would go back for another. We were what many could call hipster idiots, but we wore Malort as some sort of badge of honor.

Over the years I have gotten numerous free Malort shots at bars around Chicago because people order it, smell it, and give it away to the first person who will take it.

I have all three of the big Malort brands on my liquor shelf at home. I like the Jeppson's and FEW (Anguish and Regret) ones quite a bit still. The FEW version is super flowery. I am not a big fan of the Leatherbee Malort (or Besk as it is now labeled). It is a hefty 100 proof and burns a bit too much for my liking going down.

I will agree that the original Jeppson's Malort is a very easy shot to take, even at 70 proof. I think the overwhelming bitterness takes some of alcohol harshness away.

My girlfriend's mom described Malort as "tasting like cheap old lady perfume smells." I think that is a pretty spot-on description.
posted by toddforbid at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, I actually like Chartreuse, although it is certainly an acquired taste. Most of my friends don't care for it, but they aren't necessarily a representative group of drinkers.
posted by TedW at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I used to be a distiller at Letherbee, and I made their Malort Besk. The recipe came from Robbie at Analogue, though at that time he was still at Violet Hour. Here's some thoughts on all of that stuff.

Malort is the Swedish word for "wormwood". So when we talk about malort, we're really talking about a class of spirits from Sweden that are primarily flavored with wormwood. So, why wormwood?

It's because wormwood is amazing digestive aid. It's bitter; extremely extremely bitter, and the compounds that lend the bitterness to a wormwood tea, spirit, etc, are compounds that the human body mistakenly assumes are poisons. (They're totally safe, and I'll get to thujone in a bit). So when you drink a bitter wormwood compound, your digestive system goes into overdrive and floods enzymes into your stomach... which breakdown the meal you just ate, and make you feel muuuuch better.

The historical reason why Europeans had to drink so much wormwood after meals was that, historically, European food was unsanitary and made people sick all the time. We're talking 1300s - 1930s or so. Wormwood as like ibuprofen; a common medical aid, and it was the go-to solution to constant gastric problems.

Wormwood in German is Vermout. In French it's Absinthe. There is definitely a pattern here. All of these spirits evolved to have these digestive-aid bitter compounds, with sugar to balance it on the palate.

So what about thujone? That's a hallucinogen, and it's in Wormwood. But the thing is, it's in SUCH SMALL QUANTITES that it doesn't matter. Like, the amount of absinthe one would have to drink to "see the green fairy" is about an entire bottle, and if you drink an entire bottle of absinthe in one go you are probably going to die of alcohol poisoning. It's an interesting story where this mistaken belief came from. Actually, it's a thoroughly modern one.

Starting in the late 1800s, absinthe EXPLODED in popularity in France. And two things happened: 1), people starting making shitty stills (distillation towers, how to make spirits) with lead joints which creates neurotoxins in the distillate, and 2) The French Wine Industry was losing sales and market share to absinthe. So, lead by the wine industry, there was a huge "public awareness" campaign on the dangers of absinthe, thujone was declared the culprit, and absinthe was made illegal. The wine industry was very pleased with this result, and stayed pleased for many years until absinthe was finally realized to be perfectly safe, if made in a proper lead-free still.

This all gets back to... why would anyone drink malort? And what exactly is it, anyways?

Malort is a digestif. It works REALLY WELL. That burrito from lunch is sitting funny? Have a malort. Or a fernet. Or a glass of vermouth. These spirits are all designed - and have evolved over 300 years - to solve this problem. They're not exactly for getting fucked up; that's gin, genever, brandy, etc.

It's also, like black coffee, an aquired taste, that once acquired changes your life. I cannot drink coffee with cream and sugar anymore; it's gross, it's SO SWEET. I also can't drink Jaeger (of the class of spirits krauterlikor) because of the sweetness. But I can drink the shit out of some lovely, balanced, bitter malort. It's truly delicious.

Well, not Jeppson's. That stuff is bad. I'm not just knocking them because I used to work for a competitor. Jeppson's is legitimately bad, low quality, made-in-Florida-from-powder spirit. Jeppson's is more of a statement than an experience.

But a good malort, a good bask brannvin, is a wonderful balance of wormwood, citrus (generally grapefruit), and wood spices. Juniper and coriander and angelica and lots of other elegant, herbal, woodsy notes. It starts on a sweet citrus, and ends on a lingering bitter, that leaves your mouth pleasantly dry and wanting more. It's an elegant spirit, for campfires and cocktail menus. Sure it's no Hypnotiq, but it's a fascinating spirit that spans and speaks to the entire history of Europe.

Europeans don't drink cocktails, because they have beautiful things like this. Of course the cocktail is an American invention... our new country needed a new way to drink, and our alcohol was rum and whisky, and rather than age them on herbs, we decided to pair them with fresh fruit, ice, and other spirits. American cocktail culture is young, barely a hundred years old, and it has produced some beautiful drinks.

But I'll take a malort any day.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2016 [128 favorites]




(reaching into my wallet, ready to give positively anyone my money if they can immediately give me the malort special agent conrad uno just described.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


By the way, if you're a Chicago MeFite, I will do my best to bring homemade Romanian ţuică back from my trip in a few weeks. We can crack it open at a Meetup and make bad decisions together.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Europeans don't drink cocktails...

uhh... no.
posted by aspo at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


BOOM. They're holding a Letherbee Malort for me at the liquor store next door. Party at my house, y'all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


uhh... no.

I know, I know, that was lazy wording and I'm speaking historically. European cocktail culture is new af; especially compared to a 700 year history of macerated spirits. Ya'll only got into cocktails in like the 80s, and Europeans and cocktails is like Americans and football/soccer.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 2:21 PM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


A couple of family members and myself polished off a bottle of akvavit one Christmas. I swear the taste of caraway lingered in my mouth for days, and not in a good way. It's a lovely flavor in the occasional sauerkraut or bread. It's not a flavor that you want to move in with you.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:30 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


special agent conrad uno is 100% correct.

(and I just had a shot of Bäska Droppar, so I'm qualified to say that)

Some additional notes: The correct spelling is "malört" which translates to "moth herb", but I checked a 100-year old Flora that pointed out that it was very questionable if it was ever an efficient anti-moth repellent, but that it, in its distilled form, was commonly used against stomach issues and for deworming. Also, for the best results when making besk, my sources claim the malört should ideally be picked on the night of the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle (also the date for a famous massacre, and my birthday), and you need to go above 92 proof for the full effect (but using 80 proof is fine for practical use, and will leave out most of the thujone).
posted by effbot at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


The one time that a written article would have been better as a video...
posted by Rhomboid at 3:07 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, again, will anyone pleeeeease pack up a little container of Spec. Agent Uno's magnificent exilir for me to try? I won't be back in the Midwest for months yet and I am burning with curiosity!
posted by wenestvedt at 3:22 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Their loss. One of the bars here in Oakland makes a drink called The Darndest Thing, which is bourbon, green Chartreuse, lemon, Not Your Father's Root Beer, and egg white. They also have a boilermaker with the Chartreuse and the Not Your Father's Root Beer. Very tasty.

It's probably a measure of my alcohol snobbery that the most objectionable thing about this statement was the inclusion of the vile, diabetes-inducing, brewed by Four Loko, Root Beer adjunct alco-pop. Up until that point I was nodding along, thinking: "Oh... Yeah!"

If you now wish to picture me as a hipster, alcoholic, Kool-Aid Man, I'm okay with that.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:07 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Got a bottle of Letherbee's. Will report back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:58 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


There have been a lot of weird things mentioned in this thread but the one with which I was totally unfamiliar was Riga Black Balsam. Literally never heard of it before, and I know I'd remember such a delightful name. Of course I immediately went in search of it but even though we have a ton of bizarre spirits in this here hard-drinking city that is New Orleans I was unable to locate it.

Turns out there's some in a shop in Brooklyn not far from where one of my friends lives. I mentioned it to him in an email. He texted me a few hours later, bottle in hand. He comes to visit in two weeks, and I will personally be able to report back at that time.

Until then, if anyone's in New Orleans and wants to try a few other different nasty things, you just let me know.
posted by komara at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


(I just went and did a shot of malort to celebrate)
posted by komara at 5:56 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Gaaaaah.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:01 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


You know, I misspoke upthread. I'm now following that Jeppson's Malort with a small glass of Unicum Zwack and it's only maybe 75% as offensive. Far more sugar too. I guess I've just never had the two back-to-back.

I can tell already that this night is going to end with a half-dozen bottles sitting on my kitchen island and my girlfriend saying, "Why are you drinking only the foul-smelling things tonight? Did you run out of rum or something?"
posted by komara at 6:10 PM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


If we had transporter technology I would be on your stoop already, komara.
posted by rtha at 6:15 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


wenestvedt "So could anyone maybe mail me like a shot worth? I don't want a whole bottle, but I am really curious."

You know, maybe it's the Zwack talking but I do have a collection of small glass bottles, typically 1-2 oz. Perhaps you should send me a MeMail. I could certainly part with a shot of malort just to help satisfy your curiosity.
posted by komara at 6:18 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Okay I'll stop after this post because I have drinking to do and this commenting here is a distraction. wenestvedt, I have an ounce of malort bottled and ready if you're still up for it.

As for me, I thought I was going to continue on with the bitter things but suddenly I got a hankering for an Ojen frappe so that's what I'm all about right now. It is frozen liquorice deliciousness, and at least keeping in the spirit of esoteric ... uh ... spirits.
posted by komara at 7:22 PM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


I shared this link and I'm a total non-drinker. I just loved the descriptive prose. And I love all the stories shared here. Once again, Metafilter is the best.

My vile drink of choice remains Moxie.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:04 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


komara I may live to regret this but...MeMail sent!!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:22 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


(Man if that turns out to be deer musk, how would I even know?)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:23 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The first time I had Unicum, my Hungarian mother-in-law talked me into trying it in a cafe. She watched me try it, grinning and giggling. And yes, it was horrible. But I also had an espresso. And the aftertaste from the Unicum, combined with the espresso... wasn't bad. Actually, it was pretty damned good. And the indigestion I'd been fighting, lifted like a fog. I ended up finishing the Unicum. And taking some home, to boot.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just had Letherbee's for the first time. Less awful than Jeppson's. Kind of good, in its way. More anis, less deet than Jeppson's.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:09 PM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hey if anyone wants flasks of Letherbee, PM me. I've got a case of glass flasks filled with it somewhere around my house.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 9:27 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think I'm gonna have to get that bottle of Zirbenz I saw at the local liquor place. (I'd be down for a MeFi awful liquor swap.)
posted by Standard Orange at 10:51 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd be down for a MeFi awful liquor swap.

I'll bring the DeKuypers!
posted by special agent conrad uno at 1:29 AM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm going to have to do a lot of Hail Mary's to make up for the sins of what I just typed.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 1:30 AM on April 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


You can always make a cake with your Malört. (I've had this cake, and it's quite good.)
posted by misskaz at 7:18 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wormwood = Vermout? Ahhhhh-HA! How did I never see that?

That (and the whole backstory to digesifs) is the second really interesting thing I've encountered on Metafilter in about half an hour.

Netafilter: Best of the Web
posted by Devonian at 7:32 AM on April 30, 2016


Wormwood being Absinthe, it's interesting to note that a favoured etymology of the latter is from a- (nega­tion) + psinthos [ψίνθος], an obscure Ancient Greek ad­jective meaning "enjoy­able", so the very definition of undrinkable.
posted by progosk at 8:48 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


A Malort search on the PA-LCB's website returns a big nothing so no chance of buying around here legally. Probably for the the better.
posted by octothorpe at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2016


Confirming special agent conrad uno's comment, I grew up with bitters being part of the daily health routine. My parents and grandparents and their friends would often have a wormwood schnapps in the morning, and a richer bitter, like a Fernet, after dinner. I can't remember when I was first invited to have one, but it was long before legal age: they saw bitters as medicine, not drinks. When I broke my arm badly at 12, I was forced to drink a couple of bitter schnapps as pain-relief and imagined antibiotics, because it was on a holiday and the hospital 20 miles away was semi-closed. It was treated as a health-care necessity, not something one did for pleasure — though I'm sure everyone enjoyed it. Today I love bitters - specially Cynar, good vermouths, Braulio and that good old wormwood schnapps of my youth. But I wouldn't drink them as "drinks", for pleasure. I like them after a rich meal, and only one shot.
posted by mumimor at 1:55 PM on April 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Weirdly, this week's Good Food from KCRW has a long bit on amaro and bitters, talking mainly about their use in cocktails, and mentioning a few brands that I hadn't heard of. Serendipity at its finest.
posted by Kreiger at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


This thread reminded me that I had some bottles of Underberg in the liquor stash, gotten a few years ago when a wine and gourmet foods shop was closing up.

Each bottle is 20ml (2/3 oz) so they travel easily.

"Underberg is a herb bitters taken for digestion. It is not a beverage. Not to be sipped, but taken all at once and quickly because of its aromatic strong taste. It is also used as a flavoring," says the label on the outside of the brown paper wrapper. So remember: You should not attempt to taste it, unless you intend to.

"Natural Herb Bitters. Ingredients: water, alcohol (44% by volume) and natural flavors from herbs and roots of the genus gentiana. For nutrition facts write to Underberg Sales Corp," says another part of the label. This can help inform your plans regarding point A above. Because you could get pretty rocked on this stuff, but you'll have to crack open a few of these half-shot bottles to do it.

On first whiff it's reminiscent of Jaegermeister, although not having had that for years now I couldn't say how well they approximate each other. There are also notes of cinnamon and anise, scents that can also be evoked when concussed if I'm not mistaken. The small tapered bottle with the tiny tip ensures that despite the helpful instructions, bolting it straight without decanting first is a deliberate challenge.

The burning starts on the back of the tongue and moves forwards like the way a spill of gasoline spreads across concrete. It stings the back of the nose and front of the throat as well, but within three glugs it's all down and gone. The grimy, minty aftertaste and brief dizzying sensation is followed by... a sense of blissful peace? ...a glowing physical calm like one gets after a good massage? ...not really. Just a brief churn in the stomach and then nothing more than the afterburn due to mucous being stripped from the throat and occasional gentian-scented belches. Sorry.
posted by ardgedee at 3:30 PM on April 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've always compared the taste of Malort to pennies mixed with shame.
posted by tip120 at 8:55 PM on April 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


I misread that at first, but pennies+shame doesn't sound too great either.
posted by ryanrs at 10:51 PM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just got really curious as to how you guys are pronouncing this.
posted by Iteki at 2:02 AM on May 1, 2016


muh-LOART

Born and raised in the southern U.S. though so I know I don't know nothin bout nothin.
posted by komara at 7:10 AM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's how I've heard Chicagoans say it, though I'm sure it's different in Swedish.
posted by Songdog at 7:33 AM on May 1, 2016


http://forvo.com/word/malört/ has bad sound quality and the speaker over-enunciates a bit as you're wont to do when pronouncing one word in isolation, but should give you an idea.
posted by effbot at 8:44 AM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


The liquor store I work at does a hazing ritual involving new employees and bad shots. We have a healthy supply of Underberg on hand for just this purpose. If they survive their first week, they are considered good and jolly fellows for life and are to be feared wherever they tread for they are owed respect and possibly cash money.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just received my bottle of Riga Black Balsam and I love it. I pulled out the bottle of Zwack Unicum to compare. The Unicum has a kind of birch beer taste to it, where the Riga Black Balsam has a strangely fruity (raspberry?) undertone to the whole thing. Absolutely recommended if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by komara at 9:38 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


« Older Best Eaten Alone with No Pants   |   The Jewish Community of Antioquia Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments