I had Gammel Dansk (Danish), Becherovka (Czech), Pineau des Charentes (Charentes region, France), Violette liqueur (Paris), scotch and cognac in their respective nations. It was all pretty good stuff, and I celebrated Hogmanny with a Scottish Nationalist.
And then I come back to America. To a Swedish drink only popular in Chicago, a sad town that may or may not exist. A drink that no normal human would ever enjoy drinking.
|Yeah, I don't see how this disproves anything I said.|
"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"
|Jesus christ, fucking Sweden, what the fuck.|
|The people who drink Malort...they think they're sane. Only you and I know the truth, and we are mad as well.|
|Spoiler: this comic doesn't end well.|
Kinda...beige. It looks a lot like original flavor listerine, or kinda like wood polish. But not the healthy brown that good wood-aged liquors have. Kind of sickly and phlegmy. It's not a color that food should naturally be, it's a color that appears vaguely spoiled. Like boiled millipedes. That's what Malort really should be-- some weird alchemical ingredient. Like "take an alcohol and wormwood solution and mix in equal parts with quicksilver and cod semen. Drink. You will see a man of silver who shall move the colors for you."
|That last bit's not even made up. Isaac Newton believed that shit. AND NOW YOU BEEN EDUCATED LEMME GET THAT SWEET NPR MONEY.|
This smells the most legitimately poisonous out of anything I've had. A strong overlay of rubbing alcohol, with notes of paint thinner, acetone, and--for a bit of the more fruity flavor--model glue. It mostly just smells incredibly chemical. There's very little natural to this, which is weird as it's made from plants. In the same way that I suppose a sack of ants is natural. Hooooo boy. Not looking forward to this. Not one bit.
IT DOESN'T GO AWAY FUCK I HAD THAT SHOT LIKE TWO MINUTES AGO AND IT STILL LINGERS STRONGER THAN BEFORE.
It is so much worse than I thought, my best unbeaten brothers. It tastes like awful vodka when it goes into your mouth and then as it goes away it gets worse. Incredibly bad vodka. Like, Riva bad. And then holy shit the aftertaste. It's incredibly bitter. And it hangs in the back of your throat exactly like bile. I know I've compared stuff to vomit before on this blog but I'm not even using metaphors here. It legitimately tastes like seasick bile on the back of my tongue, and like rubber on the front. Like bad meat and an angry robot who just grabs you by the hair and will not get its robochode off your gag reflex, cause it don't give a fuck about you, robot's horny tonight.
|Like if you could liquify this and just suck the slurry out of a turkey baster.|
Look, just look how miserable we were. Just look. You know whatever's in our mouth don't taste good.
|That's your Gutrotter christmas card, right there. Malorty holidort.|
Anyway, the organic, non-chemical burn flavor here tastes a lot like actual wood, like just chowing down on something you found in the woods. I'm reminded of a line from a poem, from the wonderfully bitter and clever Tony Hoagland:
"...with a wife whose lack of love for me
is like a lack of oxygen,
and this dead thing in my chest
that used to be my heart.
Oh, if he were alive, I would tell him, "Dad,
you were right! I ate a lot of stuff
far worse than bugs."
And I was eaten, I was eaten,
I was picked up
down into the belly of the world."
That's right. Malort tastes like the pulp that comes out when you a crush a soul in the machinery of the modern life, like misery itself. I don't even need metaphors anymore, I and every other poet with an inheritance of depression and a drinking problem and a habit for hurting women can pack up because the swedes can make you feel it in your gut.
|"Even--" Fuck off Billy you too.|
Yep, we're making a cocktail out of this. I figure, with the perseverance of the killer cracking open a Glade plugin to cover up the stink of his mother's body in the crawlspace, that it might help hide it. Inspired by a Malort-based cocktail called The Bukowski, I decided to create a similar concoction. It's not named after a Chicagoan, but after a writer who, like Bukowski, dealt with the everyday life and its impact on the soul, who was a working schlub with a deep dark heart of bitterness. And who screamed so much it damaged his throat, which seems only fitting (by the way, it's been like half an hour and the taste lingers like guilt). Ladies and gentlemen, say hi to the Pekar.
|I collect bad experiences, Harv. I don't suggest you try it.|
1.5 oz. Malort
1 oz. Drambuie
.5 oz Basil/Rosemary vodka
The vodka's homemade-- just soak a wad of basil leaves and a couple sprigs of rosemary in a mason jar with vodka for about a day, more if you want it stronger. I figure the herbs should complement each other and the honey in the drambuie should overpower the bitterness. And might I suggest going real heavy on the ice, and then getting someone else to drink it?
Welp, the Pekar is made and ready, let's see how it goes down.
See, the problem lies in underestimating my enemy here. The Drambuie, rosemary/basil, and the bad vodka flavor all marry fairly well-- in fact, I may have discovered a pretty winning combination in the Drambuie and herbal vodka, and I'd imagine they'd go well with some gin or especially genever. But they're both fairly light on aftertaste. You know, the worst part of the whole experience. It's like invading a country in a fairly turbulent, incredibly diverse region: you might defeat the army there pretty well, but good luck making a country out of it afterwards.
The aftertaste remains no matter how much delicious honey, rich scotch, and carefully made homemade liqueur I mix it with. Nothing dilutes it, nothing overwhelms it. It endures like time and the relentless march of entropy into a world that is cold, so cold, and so devoid of anything except the flavor of cold rubber and the struggle in the dark to keep my meal down.
|Too late. Too late. Too late. Too late. Too lort. Ta lort. Malort.|
If you ever have a chance to drink Malort, don't turn it down. Yes, it's awful-- probably the worst thing I've ever tasted for this blog. It's miserable, it malicious, it's malorty. But it's incredibly unique, and it induces a disgust and horror I've never had from alcohol before. It's kind of like the raw cobra heart of liquor: is it tasty NO, is it actually good in any way NO, but should I have one WHY THE FUCK NOT. Yes, your mouth will taste like a tire fire for an hour afterwards, but hey, on the plus side...well, you get the experience of your mouth tasting like a tire fire.
And here at The Gutrotter, we hold that experience is worth it. Still holy fuck that was terrible fuck everyone who said I should do it.