The Violet Hour Debuts New Custom Malort

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 3, 2013 4:40PM

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Photo via The Violet Hour/Facebook
Move over, Jeppsons; there's another malort in town. Last year, the Violet Hour announced that they were collaborating with then-brand-new Letherbee distillers to create their own in-house exclusive version of Malort, the famously bitter Chicago spirit. Well, it's finally here. The bar announced that the Malort was in stock on New Years Eve and now it's being mixed into a brand new cocktail.

Before we get to the drink, let's talk about the bottle. Original Jeppson's malort has an incredibly distinctive label, and when we heard that Letherbee (king of minimalism that they are) was going to produce this version, we weren't sure what to suspect. Well, Letherbee has departed from tradition to produce this somewhat morbid, somewhat wonderful label designed by Nick Pyle. If only it was available to buy, it would take front and center on our bar - unfortunately, it's only sold at the Violet Hour.

What does it taste like? The new expression adds grapefruit peel, juniper, elderflower and star anise into the original mix of flavors (which our editor Chuck Sudo characterized last year as "wormwood, paint thinner and damp socks") to create a new, distinct spirit - not just an imitation of the original. And what's with the name? "R. Franklin's Original recipe Malort" is named for Robby Franklin Hayes, the bartender at the Violet Hour.

The cocktail featuring the new Malort is called the Thigh High, and is mixed with "Letherbee gin, honey, amaro sibilla, lemon juice and orange flower water," according to Hayes. We can't wait to try it.

The Violet Hour is located at 1520 North Damen Avenue.