Many new bars these days have a 'low proof' section of the menu, featuring cocktails that aren't spiked with whiskey, gin, rum, or other strong spirits. As trendy as these drinks may be, they're not new. The Crysanthemum, for example, is a concoction dating back before Prohibition. It's made with dry vermouth and herbal, honeyed Benedictine, flavored with a touch of anisey absinthe.
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This variation on the classic Chrysanthemum cocktail uses a Yellow and Green Chartreuse combination in place of Benedictine, and subs in bitter Malört in place of the more traditional absinthe.
Unless you've spent a lot of time in Chicago, you've probably never tried Jeppson's Malört, an intensely bitter spirit that's only available in the city and surrounding suburbs. And if you have, you probably know it as "that drink that tastes like burnt carpet."
Since the debut of its Original Label Gin, Letherbee has unveiled a limited-release gin for autumn; a unique "absinthe brun," which aged in a charred oak barrel; and R. Franklin's Original Recipe Malört, an ode to the (in)famous Chicago-centric and wormwood-driven bitter liqueur developed in collaboration with Robby F. Haynes, bar manager at Chicago's first modern craft-cocktail destination, The Violet Hour.