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"It tastes like a ball of rubber bands, dunked in hair spray and set aflame." 

Sounds enticing, right? No, seriously. If you hear of a food item, in this case a shot of liquor, described as such you just have to try it for yourself, even if the result is going to be a disaster. 

The explanation above is how I describe the taste of Malört to people. What's Malört? It is simultaneously the most wonderful and most hideous beverage to grace God's green Earth, that's what.

There's a lot of lore behind Malört, and even though much of its origin story is likely apocryphal, it's a still a damn good story, so who cares? During prohibition Carl Jeppson, a Scandinavian immigrant living in Chicago, started making Malört in his house. Jeppson went door-to-door to hawk his pungent liqueur, professing it's medicinal qualities to customers. Some believe that the reason he was able to get away with selling the booze during a prohibition was that after a policeman took a whiff of Malört they couldn't fathom the idea of it being sold for any other reason. To put it bluntly, the law believed people wouldn't chose to drink Malört if they had another option. 

Malört is the sort of drink that you need to prepare yourself for. If you approach that shot glass thinking it's whiskey you're in for a bitter disappointment. Literally. It is staggeringly bitter. The puckered reaction people have upon first trying it has become known as "Malört Face," and it is not a misnomer. Everybody, and I mean everybody, makes it their first time.  

As a drink that is designed more to endure than enjoy, it is quite possibly the most "Chicago" thing ever. Since the rest of the country hates it, Chicagoans have embraced it, as we are wont to do. I have a bottle of it sitting on my desk right now. While normally I wouldn't trust my coworkers to abstain from drinking my booze, I know that they are all to weak to attempt to drink this. The one time I shared it with them I was berated with a stream of profanities like you wouldn't believe. 

To be completely honest, I really do like the stuff. It may be because I've been living in Jersey for so long that my adoration is born out of scarcity than anything else. Maybe it's the contrarian in me—I like it simply because everybody else hates it. Or, and when I was living in Chicago I know this was true, but there was something really cool about being able to buy somebody you don't really like that much a shot of Malört as a subtle "fuck you." You get to be magnanimous by purchasing the shot and then gloat as the miserable SOB suffers through it. 

Nobody simply likes Malört, you either love it or hate it. In the gallery below you'll find a lot of folks in the former category. Is the pain of getting a Malört tattoo better or worse than chugging a glug or two from the bottle? Maybe! There's only way to find out. 

So prepare yourself a Chicago Handshake (a tallboy of Old Style with a shot of Malört) and enjoy these Malört tattoo!