Five Questions for Madame Malört

After nearly 50 years working for Jeppson’s, Patricia Gabelick can finally stand to throw back a shot of malört.

Patricia Gabelick, aka, Madame Malört.   Photo: Ratko Radojcic

Patricia Gabelick, how did you start working at the Carl Jeppson Company?

In 1966, I responded to an ad for a legal secretary. I didn’t know it was going to be at a liquor company.

What did you first think of Malört?

I sure didn’t like it. [George Brode, the former owner] loved to tell me that the girls on the bottling line, if they had cramps, they would have a shot of Malört, and it helped. For all the years I worked for him, I never tried that remedy.

Do you like it now?

It wouldn’t be my drink of choice, but I do drink it. I drink shots. I never drank shots in my life until the last few years.

Why has Malört had such staying power in Chicago?

It’s gone through so many ethnic people—it was popular with Polish people for a while, Hispanic . . .

Have you tried the FEW or Letherbee versions?

I have not . . . but Letherbee’s gin is wonderful.

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