Let’s Drink Malört

December 5, 2015 Author: Jon Johnson (Sir)

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This is going to be a completely self-serving bit, so bear with the audacity of it. Shots from the hip are the bread and butter here and this is no change from that. From the Hip is the name of the podcast Vinnie, John and I do, usually together. I came in later than those two jokers, who were getting a few shows done while I was at the famous GaryCon Gaming Convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. While there, I’d picked up a few bottles of the equally infamous Jeppson’s Malört Liqueur, which I was introduced to by a fantastically hilarious “fake” unreleased commercial for the product on YouTube (thanks Bryan!). You can see that extremely entertaining piece of genius HERE. One bottle was used to torture friends and locals at the convention while the rest were preserved for future fun. As Jeppson’s Malört isn’t readily available on the East Coast and Connecticut laws prevent shipping, bulk purchases were needed. On the return trip from Lake Geneva, we killed a bottle with friends in Pittsburgh, likely barring our return to that fair city for some time.

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A few months later, I was hosting a party at my residence, purposely having Malört available for anyone willing to imbibe. The odor alone drove off many waffling individuals, including Johnny Ganache Amenta, but Unca Vinnie was brave enough to give it a go. While there are no photos or recordings of the time itself, the screams of outrage will echo through the town of Portland for years to come. Malört has been mentioned on From the Hip about as much as Star Trek or tapioca, in part to how bad it tastes to some, like Vinnie (and many thousands of others). For me not to give Malört, and the Jeppson’s company a little credit for so much fun and laughter is doing a disservice to them.

Malört has a long history, which can be read at the Jeppson’s website. They’ve been the subject of a number of tasting videos which can be found on YouTube or elsewhere, as well as this great article of respected wine sommeliers… admiring… the qualities of Jeppson’s Malört. Their unique ways of marketing the drink sometimes border on the bizarre, asking tasters or regulars what the drink makes them think of when they’ve had it. My personal favorite that someone came up with was “the champagne of pain”. It’s definitely an acquired taste!

Malört is a word that some seem to think is Swedish for wormwood. When I brought a bottle to my family reunion this summer, a cousin from Sweden refused to drink it, saying “malört” meant “very bad” in English. Nit-pickers think Jeppson’s Malört is nothing more than a bäsk, a style of Swedish, spiced liqueur using wormwood, but that’s an argument I’m not interested in. I just think more Malört for the masses is better than none! Oi, Malört!

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