Jägermeister may be the number one imported liqueur in the U.S., but we certainly don’t treat it like we do other fine, foreign liqueurs. We slam it. We mix it with Red Bull. We line shots of it up and domino bomb them into beers. We would never dream of doing such a thing with liqueurs like St-Germain or crème de violette. But when it comes to Jäger, it’s par for the course.
Jägermeister, which translates to “Hunting Master,” was beloved in Germany long before it hit the states. Originally known as “Göring-Schnaps,” Jäger’s secret recipe was originally developed in 1935 by Curt Mast, who inherited his father’s vinegar factory in Wolfebnüttel, Germany and began concocting liqueurs instead. Jäger didn’t reach the states until the 1980s, when Sidney Frank, a brilliant liquor importer, purchased the rights to the bitter liqueur. Frank came up with the idea to market the liqueur as a party, frat boy, college shooter in America. And boy, did it work. Thanks to rager-focused ad campaigns, the German liqueur quickly rose to popularity, but the States never really gave it the respect it deserved. We’re here to change that. Here is why Jäger is so much more than just another party shot.
Jäger’s actually a quality spirit.
Like gin, amari and other actually well-respected spirits, Jäger is infused with natural botanicals for a complex rainbow of flavors and depth. As it reads under the iconic Buck logo that graces every forest green bottle of Jäger, the bottle contains “56 Selected Botanicals.” It does not, as you might have heard through the rumor mill, contain elk’s blood. And on top of being comprised entirely of all natural, non-animal blood ingredients, each bottle undergoes 383 quality control checks before it is shipped out, according to Jägermeister’s website. Even if you find the flavor of the spirit offensive, there’s certainly nothing wrong with how Jäger is made.
Jäger’s extremely versatile in cocktails.
Jäger’s distinct licorice flavor can work wonders in cocktails—and no, we’re not counting Red Bull-Jäger as a cocktail. Recently, bartenders have started using it in everything from tiki-style tropical libations to boozy root beer floats topped with ice cream. With notes of saffron, ginger and anise, Jäger can also serve as a partial substitute to simple syrups in rum and whiskey-based cocktails. There’s a myriad of herbs and spices in every bottle of the German liqueur just waiting to find a place in your next riff on a Dark and Stormy.
Jäger is becoming a bartender favorite.
Similar to Fernet, Jäger has amassed and is continuing to garner an informed cult following amongst bartenders. Sean Hoard, owner of The Commissary in Portland, told the Today Show that the German liqueur has been long misunderstood in the states, calling it light, refreshing and complex. And while Jäger is typically enjoyed as an ice cold shot, many have taken to enjoying it at room temperature to preserve Jäger’s round, spiced aromas and flavors that dissipate at colder temperatures. No one is more qualified to judge a spirit worthy of sipping than the bartenders slinging your drinks.
Jäger is amazing to cook with.
The versatile liqueur is surprisingly delicious in barbecue sauce wings, chicken tacos and desserts like fudge Jäger brownies. In fact, Chopped judge Chris Santos once made an entire six-course meal with Jägermeister, which included charred burgers, pork tenderloin, steak, ribs and chicken skewers and pork sliders. Talk about versatility.
Jäger makes you feel good.
The German liqueur contains many ingredients with digestive properties including ginger root, cinnamon bark and coriander. It might be hard to believe, but a glass of Jäger after dinner could aid digestion, reduce gas and stimulate your appetite. Just as one might sip a small glass of Fernet Branca after a hefty meal and feel amazing, the same exact thing could be done with Jäger. So go ahead and pour yourself a snifter full of Jäger and prove that all those frat boys had the right idea—they just weren’t doing it right.