Documentary Starring Chicago’s Worst Liquor, Jeppson’s Malort, Due Out This Summer

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Local writer Don De Grazia poignantly explains how Malort is a metaphor for life at the Underground Wonder Bar.

Local writer Don De Grazia poignantly explains how Malort is a metaphor for life at the Underground Wonder Bar.

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By Mason Johnson

Is it just me, or does this seem like an April Fool’s joke?

Jeppson’s Malort is a Chicago liquor known mostly for its painfully bitter, awful taste. Its taste starts off innocent enough, a little citrusy with a hint of honey, but then the wormwood punches you right in the face. Malort’s even spawned a ritual in which locals convince out-of-towners to down a shot in the hopes of seeing their “malort face” — an expression of horror and pain.

It’s fun to torture friends.

As torturous as malort is, it’s actually grown on me. There’s good news for those of us who legitimately like the stuff (or lie about it) — a documentary about Jeppson’s Malort is coming out this summer.

Or so the below trailer would have you believe.

The supposed documentary will focus on Jeppson’s Malort’s legacy. Despite its recent popularity, Jeppson’s Malort has actually been around for decades. In the 1930s the recipe was bought from Carl Jeppson by George Brode, a Chicago lawyer who ran the company in his free time. Today it’s Brode’s one time secretary, Patricia Gabelick, that now runs Jeppson’s Malort.

The documentary is being made by Fire Engine Red Films, whose films include what seems to be an ad for a group called “Pro Gun Babes” and an ad for Seth Casteel’s book, Underwater Dogs.

I was so worried about the legitimacy of this video, I contacted Jeppson’s in the most secure way I could think of: Twitter.

They better not be playing with my heart!

Watch the trailer below.

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