The Violet Hour isn’t really a bar--it’s more of a lounge, really. If it were a drink, it would be as elaborate as any of the libations on its menu--an esoteric concoction with a liberal splash of sophistication and just a dash of exclusivity. A true cocktail.
But amid all the premium shakers and first-class bitters, The Violet Hour is still a Chicago establishment. And that means it can get down with some Malort.
The lounge announced several months ago that it would be partnering with Letherbee Distillery to launch its very own version of the Swedish liquor. The drink made its debut at the Wicker Park bar on New Years Day.
Mixologist and bar manager Robert Haynes came up with idea and recipe for this Malort. According to Haynes, the term "Malort" refers to wormwood, which is main flavor of both the original Malort and the lounge's take on it. It's a bittering agent which, when consumed by itself, is intensely ... well, bitter.
"We wanted it to be intense but a little more layered," Haynes said of his creation. "Not to hide the bitterness, to accentuate it. Everyone enjoyed it."
The new Malort's first few days atop The Violet Hour's shelves have been successful.
"I think there's a perverse curiosity," Haynes said of the drink's popularity. "But some people are like 'why did you do this?'"
As of now, the new Malort is present in one cocktail. Haynes expects that the lounge will base another drink around it in the near future. Guests, of course, can still order it as a shot.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.