Malort shots infused with cicadas: Lombard brewery gets creative with cicada emergence

A brewery in the western suburbs is mixing the cicada invasion with infamously foul-tasting booze from Chicago.

And of course, people are flocking to the brewery to try it.

"Why not make something grosser that is already gross?" asked Noon Whistle Brewing owner Paul Kreiner.

Which is why the culinary creative geniuses at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard are now offering a shot that will make your guts rot: Malort infused with cicadas.

"It makes people grossed out, but I think intrigued at the end of the day," said brewery marketing director Joey Giardiniera.

Jepson’s Malort, a spirit created by a Swedish immigrant to Chicago over a century ago, is already renowned for its vile taste. Some said it’s like swallowing turpentine.

"Don’t try to make it better," said Giardineira. "Make it even weirder."

So every morning, Gardiniera heads to the small stand of woods next to the brewery and picks out a few juicy cicadas. 

Then, he takes the bugs back to the brewery, where he gives them a gentle bath and puts them into a permanent cicada sleep in the freezer.

Later, the dead cicadas are baked to a temperature of 225 degrees, then soaked in vodka and carefully dropped into the bottles of Malort.

Four or five for the perfect pungency.

"I think the Lombard cicadas are especially delicious and succulent," said Giardieira.

Noon Whistle Owner Paul Kreiner said the reaction has been overwhelming.

"Everyone’s so excited to see the cicadas out. Hey, what better way to celebrate a horrible-tasting liquid with a horrible-tasting bug."

Customer Kristina Vesic said it was tastier than she expected.

"The Malort was good and the cicada was buttery and nutty."

"I don’t like Malort, but the cicada Malort was good. It was nutty and smooth," said Lauren Shephard.

The brewery plans to continue serving the cicada-infused Malort at its Lombard location until mid-June.

And if you feel sorry for the little buggers in the bottle, Kreiner said don’t. 

"At least they get to party with a bunch of people while they’re here with us for the time being. It’s a good way to go if you’re gonna go."