Jeppson’s Malort, a unique hometown spirit that’s been made in Florida since the 1970s, is coming back to Chicago after the brand was purchased by Chicago’s CH Distillery.
CH Distillery, 1629 S. Clinton St., will begin making the strong-flavored liquor starting in 2019, according to Allison Krupp, a spokeswoman for the Chicago maker of organic, small-batch vodkas.
“It can be found from working-class bars to trendy hipster locations,” Krupp said Friday. “It appeals to everyone because it is Chicago.”
Malort was invented in Sweden and sold in the United States by immigrant Carl Jeppson, according to Jeppson’s Malort, which touted it during Prohibition as “medicinal alcohol.”
CH Distillery founder Tremaine Atkinson has wanted to bring Malort back to Chicago for years, according to Krupp, who declined to say how much the company paid Carl Jeppson Co. to buy the brand.
Krupp said Carl Jeppson Co. president Pat Gabelick, who couldn’t be reached, is retiring.
Katie Cote, the distillery’s director of operations, said Malort is made by infusing dried wormwood into vodka and sweetening it.
It’s often drunk as the result of a dare or a lost bet.
Even Cote admits it’s not for everyone, describing the 70-proof liquor as tasting like a combination of nail polish remover, chamomile and grapefruit peel.
Krupp said drinking it is like “a kick in the mouth” but said she enjoys it.
CH Distillery also will sell Malort at its restaurant and cocktail bar, located at 564 W. Randolph St.
Krupp said the distillery won’t be making changes to Malort’s taste or price. Cote said it will continue to produce Malort with vodka that’s distilled out-of-state.