Food & Drink

5 ways to try Malort, the spirit that's getting nasty all over DC

Published On 04/10/2014 Published On 04/10/2014
Laura Hayes

Washington DC The wormwood spirit that twists your face inside out has found its way to Washington, DC. You should probably try it, and then take a selfie, because your Malört face deserves every inch of the spotlight. With slogans like, "Malört, kick your mouth in the balls!", and, "Malört, the Champagne of pain", what could go wrong? Here are five ways to get acquainted this weekend.

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Ivy and Coney (info and address)
How they do Malört: No frills, just drink it
You'd better believe they’re serving Jeppson’s Malört at this Chicago/Detroit-themed dive bar. Jeppson’s comes from The Windy City and serves as a rite of passage for locals, thanks to a flavor that runs somewhere between "grapefruits and gasoline" and  
"toxic waste from an airplane toilet". Can you handle it?

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Laura Hayes

The Partisan (info and address)
Penn Quarter
How they do Malört: On tap!
We asked Neighborhood Restaurant Group cocktail genius Jeff Faile why the hell he would put this poison on tap. He swears it’s delicious, so we strapped him to a polygraph machine. Okay, no we didn’t. But, we do take his word that something bitter and herbal is the best possible way to cure overindulgence at a meat-centric restaurant. He pours Bäska Snaps, a less harsh alternative to Jeppson’s.

Laura Hayes

Bar Pilar (info and address)
U Street
How they do Malört: Happy hour Malört bombs
Drop anything into a beer and it tastes better right? Right? Put the workday behind you by doing $8 happy hour Malört bombs at Bar Pilar. Somehow plunging a shot of Bäska Snaps into a glass filled with Stiegl Radler kinda works. Though, it does taste like someone spilt the tears of 1,000 of crying children into a Fresca.

Laura Hayes

Rogue 24 (info and address)
How they do Malört: As a digestif
Rogue 24 must serve the most Bäska Snaps Malört in the city, because they give a glass to every guest at the end of the meal. Barman Bryan Tetorakis has good intentions -- he’s offering to settle your stomach after a wild 24-course dinner. Despite this kind gesture, he says it really pisses people off. He also uses Malört in a cocktail with yellow peppers, mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, and Fernet Angelico.

Daniel Swartz

The Gibson (info and address)
U Street
How they do Malört: In a cocktail
Of course The Gibson named their Malört cocktail after a cold-blooded, bitter politician. The Frank Underwood contains Jeppson's Malört, apple brandy, kummel, Campari, and lemon. The accouterments help out, but there's still something sinister lurking under the surface. Kind of like Frank Underwood.

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1. Ivy and Coney 1523 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

Ivy and Coney is a homey dive bar in Shaw that delivers a relaxed neighborhood vibe, delicious hotdogs, and a menu that includes nothing over $6.

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2. The Partisan 709 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

With 30+ charcuterie options, medium plates like sausages and corned beef belly, and feasts like a whole roasted pig's head, The Partisan will cater to your meat cravings, no matter your appetite.

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3. Bar Pilar 1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

A pioneer of the 14th Street restaurant boom, this comfortable, nautical-themed spot is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, and divided between a downstairs bar that fills up quickly on the weekends, and a low-key restaurant upstairs, where outstanding small plates take center stage (from honey-roasted beet salad to lamb belly bolognese). The 20 or so beers are well-curated but a tad overpriced, so you’re better off opting for a craft cocktail, many of which are mixed with house-made sodas and even include adult slushies, such as the "Violet, You’re Turning Violet," which swirls jalapeño tequila, wild blueberry, pineapple, allspice dram, and ginger into a spicy and sweet concoction.

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4. Rogue 24 922 N St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Mount Vernon Sq)

Known for their innovation, Rogue 24 fuses fresh ingredients with artistic flare to create entirely new flavors. Go a little rogue and try a bit of everything with their 24-course meal, or, if you've eaten in the past two weeks, try the less daunting 16- or (meager) four-course prix fixe.

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5. The Gibson 2009 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20003 (U Street)

This multi-level cocktail bar has a serves a variety of craft cocktails that are constantly changing, allowing you to enjoy something new and exciting amidst the spot's warm ambiance every time. The drink list hovers in the $10-$15 range, and is organized by type of spirit, making it easy to find something you’ll like. The space has a speakeasy feel, with cozy seating and dim lighting.



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