Josh Sisk, for The Baltimore Sun
December 10, 2013
A drink is always better when it's steeped in tradition. Enter the mythical beverage known as "Evil" ($4) at Mum's Tavern in Federal Hill. It's an affectionate nickname for the traditional Lithuanian concoction Vyritos, usually pronounced "Viditus," also known as Krupnikas (still with us?). More than a dozen ingredients and a lot of grain alcohol come together to form this sweet, sweet lip-smacker that warms up your belly region, guaranteed.
The recipes vary from family to family, and indeed Mum's variety of Evil has its own secret blend of spices and honey. It may taste a shade different from batch to batch, but it's usually unmistakable: Honey, cinnamon and ginger dance around the palate, a bit of spicy heat provided by the allspice and cloves -- all of which completely mask that the drink itself is comprised mostly of pure alcohol. It's a religious experience. It's like drinking a hug from mommy.
So if you're in the area, stop by Mum's and immediately ask for a shot of Evil. Sometimes they won't let you leave without one. Better yet, ask for a "No. 1," a shot of Evil and a can of Natty Boh.