click to enlarge
Courtesy Porco Lounge
Malört is now in Ohio, legally.
Stefan Was has been on a quest to share his fondness for Malört for years. The curious wormwood-based spirit began life in Chicago during the Prohibition but went legit in 1933, when creator Carl Jeppson began marketing and selling his Swedish-style bitter liqueur to a wider audience.
The Porco Lounge owner's efforts to bring Malört into the state have finally paid off.
"The conversation began last August with Heidelberg Distributing," Was explains. "Being one of our longtime partners at Porco Lounge, I noticed that they started distributing Malört in Kentucky. We started the conversation about bringing it to Ohio, their team did all of the heavy lifting and our cheerleading with the State, and as of April 12, 2023, Carl Jeppson's Malört will legally be allowed to be poured and sold in the State of Ohio."
Those first pours will take place at 5 p.m. on April 12 at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room
(2527 W. 25th St.) in Ohio City.
Malört has rightly earned a reputation as a "challenging" beverage with an off-putting taste. Out-of-town visitors to Chicago bars are often welcomed by friends with a shot of Malört, which is viewed equally as a rite of passage and show of hospitality. There are those who view the harsh-tasting spirit with derision or worse, but Was is not one of them.
"Call it a novelty, a practical joke, but you can't deny its badass history and longevity," he says. "I'm one of the few people that enjoy bitter, but it's definitely a narrow market. No, it won't be the next darling modifier in craft cocktails, nor should it be. It can stand on its own, fight for itself, and will always win. I respect that and want to share that with everyone. We'll have our fun with it, but ultimately respect it first, as we do with all spirits we sell."
Coming soon: Cleveland Scene Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Cleveland stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing. Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter