Malört Meets Ghost Peppers in Fiery New Hot Sauce Venture

It burns.

Local hot sauce purveyor Soothsayer, and the team behind Chicago’s arguably most infamous liqueur, Jeppson’s Malört, are teaming up for a limited release of a cantankerous condiment known as “Malört Face.” The curious creation will be sampled and sold at the upcoming show of local math rock band Space Blood.

Malört is a bitter, wormwood-based, Swedish schnapps, according to its website, created during medieval times for medicinal benefits. It is both revered and feared by Chicago imbibers as a whistle-whetting way to prove you're a local—or just test how well you hold your hooch.

“The sauce is made with yellow ghost peppers, grapefruit juice, and a banana pepper base,” Kyle Janis, of Soothsayer Hot Sauce, said Wednesday. “The flavor of the sauce starts out with a sweet grapefruit kick that transitions into a slight bitter taste of Malört on the back of your tongue, which is then washed away by the heat of the ghost peppers.”

Labeling the sauce as one of the most interesting he’s ever had, Janis also aimed to assuage the fears of those who might be timid toward Malört’s dubious reputation.

“[It’s] certainly approachable even for those who shy away from Malört,” he said. “That was one of our main goals and the reason this has spent over a year in development.”

The Carl Jeppson Company, producer of Malört, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the collaboration.

Space Blood will sell any leftover bottles of the sauce on its website, but Janis says he doesn’t think that’s going to happen.

“So far we've received hold or preorder requests for over 100 bottles, double what this run is going to be,” he said. “We are currently working with Jeppson’s to establish a partnership on an official, full run of the product. Hoping to have that out in early 2017.”

Soothsayer has released 15 different kinds of hot sauces over the past year-and-a-half, all of which have been collaborations with various punk and metal bands. One such combination, with local band Typesetter, saw hot sauce bottles with download codes for the band’s latest EP printed on the labels. The company also released a hot sauce last summer with Floridian ska band Less Than Jake.

“So much has already been done in the hot sauce market,” Janis said. “We're looking to try out some new ideas to differentiate from the same boring flavors or excessive heat of challenge style hot sauces.”

Malört Face goes on sale for $8 at Cole’s bar on Dec. 17. at the Space Blood show in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

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