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Based on the bitter, intemperate comments following my story on Malort cocktails last month, I know how difficult it still is for some to believe you can—or should—make a delicious, balanced drink with Chicago's native wormwood liqueur and still preserve its two-fisted integrity. And yet, Bar DeVille's Brad Bolt is taking the case to another arena.
Bolt—who converted the ultimate skeptic, Jeppson's Malort owner Pat Gabelick—reports his elderflower-Malort-gin-lemon-juice potion the Hard Sell tied for first place in a monthly cocktail competition sponsored by St-Germain. He slightly modified the drink, bumping up the elderflower liqueur to one ounce from 3/4, submitted the recipe, and now he's going to New York at the end of June to compete against a dozen other mixologists in the St-Germain Can-Can Classic. First place in that competition wins a weeklong trip for two to Paris.
Of course, you can't get Malort in New York City, so Bolt's shipping a bottle ahead.