Jägermeister as the Perfect Base Spirit for Mixing? Surprising, But True

From Eric Rogell on Apr 09, 2013

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Say "Jäger" and the first thing most people think of is a shot or a bomb. But there's a lot more versatility to this century-old herbal liqueur than just being dropped into a glass of Red Bull.

A while back I traveled to Wolfenbüttel, Germany to visit the distillery and get a feel for the full range of Jägermeister's abilities. It's no surprise the people of Wolfenbüttel take their Jäger drinking seriously. Originally sold as an herbal tonic and a cough remedy, now it's consumed in a wide variety of drinks—some that seem like they'd be downright nasty and misguided, but yet work amazingly well.

JAGER FOR BREAKFAST?

Take for instance the very first cocktail they served us when we arrived. (More cocktails below.) After an overnight cross-Atlantic flight and several hour drive to the small town, we were treated to a delicious breakfast accompanied by a tall glass of orange juice with a shot of Jäger mixed in. Not exactly what I would have chosen for an early morning drink, but being a gracious guest I tried it. And it was delicious. No harsh, bitter flavor, just a smooth drink that tasted of intense orange with hints of cinnamon and other spice. And the usually strong licorice flavor that can hit like Clay Matthews coming unimpeded through the line, was almost imperceptible.

This happened with each drink we tried. Jäger and ginger ale with a squeeze of lime became a spiced Caribbean island in a glass; adding root beer to Jäger created a rich, deep, drink with hints of molasses and clove. And when I got back and told friends to try Jäger with tonic and a splash of orange juice, they all thought I was either crazy or trying to play a prank on them. But when they tasted the result, they were hooked.

A 56 INGREDIENT FLAVOR CHAMELEON

So what gives? Why would a liqueur most associated with heavy metal, ice tap-poured shots, and being the high-proof co-pilot in a drink that gives you wings, end up pairing so well with so many traditional ingredients?

"Jägermeister is distilled with 56 different herbs, roots, flowers and fruits," says Todd Richman, Corporate Mixologist for the Sidney Frank Importing Company, the US importer of Jägermeister. "It has so much complexity to it. And when you mix it with something that contains one of those 56 ingredients, it completely changes the flavor profile."

The exact 56 ingredients used is as closely guarded a secret as the recipe for Coca-Cola, but a few are made public, like orange peel, star anise, cardamon, cinnamon, and ginger. Hence the surprising flavor you get when mixing Jäger with ginger ale, root beer, tonic, orange juice, and others.

Richman notes, "Certain rums, aromatic gins, and sweeteners like Cointreau or Grand Marnier are great to mix with it, allowing Jäger to really pop in the drink."

And with herbals like amaro becoming more and more popular right now, it's time to take that bottle of Jäger out of the freezer, and start mixing it into your drinks. Here are a few of Richman's favorite recipes—some of which you'd never think would work, but are incredible—to get you started:

JAGERMEISTER COCKTAIL RECIPES

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The Hunter’s Paradise

In a shaker with ice combine-

1.5 parts Jägermeister

.75 parts Pineapple infused overproof rum

.5 parts fresh lemon juice

.75 parts simple syrup

5 mint leaves.

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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The 12 Point Stag

In a tall glass combine:

1.5 parts Jägermeister

.75 parts fresh lime juice

Add ice, top with ginger beer and stir gently.

Garnish with a lime wedge


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The Jäger-Ita (Created by David Cordoba)

In a shaker with ice combine

2 parts Jägermeister

1 part fresh lime juice

.5 part Cointreau

.5 part simple syrup

Shake well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, serve on the rocks or add 3-4 oz of ice and blend.

Garnish with a lime slice.


Tea Time with the Hunter

In a tall glass combine:

1.5 parts of Jägermeister

1 part citrus vodka (I recommend Absolut Citron)

.5 parts Pomegranate liqueur

2 parts unsweetened iced tea

Add ice and stir well. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


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The Prinz

In a mixing glass combine:

.75 parts Jägermeister

1 part London dry gin

.75 parts sweet vermouth

Add ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.


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The Six Point Swizzle

In a tall glass combine in this order:

1 parts pineapple juice

.25 part navy strength Jamaican rum

.5 part velvet falernum

.5 part fresh lime juice

Add crushed ice and stir. Add more crushed ice and top with 1.5 parts of Jägermeister.

Garnish with a mint sprig and a pineapple slice.

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