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Best Spirits You've Never Heard Of

Can’t Get Malört? Drink Bësk

© Brenton Engel


What It Is: Letherbee’s Bësk is an intense liqueur made in the style of a classic Swedish spirit better known in the US as Malört, a bitter schnapps infamous for its cult-like following in Chicago. Not wanting to tread on any trademarks (Jeppson’s currently owns the name Malört), Letherbee decided to instead call their version Bësk, the Swedish word for the category of bitter spirits into which Malört falls. Pale straw yellow, it is made by infusing grain alcohol with wormwood, elderflower, juniper and other botanicals.

What It’s Like: Bësk is a lot like Chartreuse but more sippable and a little less herbal. It’s light in body for a liqueur, with a pleasant, brisk bitterness—think of nibbling on a lemon rind—and an anise-y background, like candied celery.

How to Drink It: In Sweden, schnapps in the Bësk family are drunk very, very cold and taken as shots. Of course, it can also be sipped slowly rather than shot and would also be a fine substitution for Chartreuse in a cocktail like a Last Word. Supposedly it can settle a range of stomach ailments (like being uncomfortably full at the end of a meal).

Related: If Chartreuse and Absinthe Had a Baby
How to Drink a Cardoon
Who Wants to Get Punsched?

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