Cicada-infused Malört shots are all the buzz at Lombard brewpub

Noon Whistle Brewing’s timely offering is made with the real insects.

SHARE Cicada-infused Malört shots are all the buzz at Lombard brewpub
cicada-2024-malort-2.jpgThe cicada-infused Malört shots at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard sell for $5 each. | Joey Giardiniera

The cicada-infused Malört shots at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard sell for $5 each.

Joey Giardiniera

For the first time in more than 200 years, two different groups of periodic cicadas will emerge at the same time. We have the latest buzz and updates.

Want to try a shot that won’t be around for another 17 years?

A suburban brewpub is pouring up shots of cicada-infused Malört to celebrate the arrival of two adjacent broods of the insect in Illinois.

Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard got the idea to create the creepy drink as a fun way to spread the word of the establishment via social media. Their twist on Malört, an iconic Chicago spirit made of wormwood known for its bitter, slightly grapefruit taste, uses real bugs collected in a wooded park neighboring the restaurant.

They’re $5 each and have “a flavor reminiscent of succulent lobster,” according to an announcement posted Tuesday morning on Instagram.

cicada 2024 malort 5.jpg. The cicadas used at Noon Whistle Brewing are collected in a nearby park. The bugs are cooked thoroughly to ensure food safety before being placed in a bottle of Malört to start the infusion process.

The cicadas used at Noon Whistle Brewing are collected in a nearby park. The bugs are cooked thoroughly to ensure food safety before being placed in a bottle of Malört to start the infusion process.

Joey Giardiniera

“Everyone already hates Malört, so it’s like, let’s just make it even worse,” said Joey Giardiniera, the restaurant’s creative director.

The infused shot will be around for two or three weeks, he said in a phone interview late Tuesday with the Sun-Times.

“It’s exactly akin to the worm in a tequila bottle, except it’s absolutely Midwestern,” he noted.

The live cicadas are collected using gloves and tossed into a freezer for a “humane death,” Giardiniera said. Then, they’re rinsed off and sanitized in a high-ABV (alcohol by volume) spirit like vodka. The bugs are finally cooked thoroughly to ensure food safety before being placed in a bottle of Malört to start the infusion process.

In the past, Noon Whistle has made other Malört concoctions for laughs and online engagement from Malört enthusiasts and haters alike, including a Malört lager and a Pizza-lört.

“People think that because we get so much traction on Instagram, that we make so much money off of it,” Giardiniera said. “But it honestly will probably sell maybe, like, two or three bottles worth of shots.”

Cicada shot drinkers beware: The insects contain shellfish allergens.

Noon Whistle Brewing is located at 800 E. Roosevelt Rd. in Lombard.

UPDATE: As of May 30, the brewpub will no longer serve the beverage. The announcement came via a social media post from the establishment.

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