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Burnt Tires and Bug Spray: We Asked Our Readers to Describe the Taste of Malört. They Delivered.

Meredith Francis
Geoffrey Baer makes a face while holding a shot glass of Malört.
Geoffrey Baer reacts to a taste of Malört. Credit: Chicago Mysteries

In a digital exclusive video from his latest special, Chicago Mysteries, Geoffrey Baer took a very tentative sip of Malört, the infamous Swedish wormwood liqueur that Chicagoans love to hate (or love). We asked the readers of our Deep Dish food newsletter and our followers on social media how they would describe the bitter beverage. Personally, we said “grapefruits soaked in gasoline” and “lighter fluid.” But our readers' responses made us laugh, so we decided to compile them for posterity – an important public service, we believe. Bug spray metaphors abound.

Speaking of making us laugh, please watch this delightful video with the musical stylings from our friend Robbie Ellis from WFMT, who found his accent was magically transformed with one shot of Malört.

Do you want to weigh in? Email us at [email protected] and we could add your response to the list below! (Keep it PG, folks.)

“Tastes like tree roots.”

“Band-Aids and regret.”

“Banned pesticides from the 1970s and regret.”

“Burnt tires, with a strong flavor of bug spray with DEET.”

“Malört is a Squirt soda, sauv blanc wine, Sterno chafing dish warmer fuel flavor.”

“The bartender who served me my first taste of Malört described it perfectly: it tastes like burning tires smell. BINGO!”

“Old socks soaked in grapefruit juice!”

“It's like spraying Off! Deep Woods straight into your mouth. 🤢”

“I would describe it as tasting like either ear wax or rubber bands.”

“Industrial battleship cleaner.”

“It tastes like a combination of fireworks and embalming fluid.”

“Less flavorful Nyquil.”

“Hot garbage juice.”
-Instagram user @chunbawamba

"Bilge water from a U.S. Navy Destroyer. (Actually I never tasted bilge water but I’m pretty sure it tastes like Malört.)"

"Best one I’ve ever heard, 'Malört tastes like my grandma’s junk drawer.'"

And a few rare positive reviews:

“Malort is the nectar of the gods.”

“Dandelions. I'm the only one I know who can stand drinking it.”

“To me, Malört has an herbal flavor with a bitter aftertaste. As a drinker of Rigas Black Balsam Liqueur, I am used to the herbal liqueurs. The bitterness of Malört was just a bonus!”