With intense, polarizing flavors and a muddied past, Jägermeister — a generally misunderstood liqueur — has an intriguing history, nuanced flavors, and digestive kindness. Add a top-secret recipe concocted in 1934, and you have a drink that deserves closer inspection.
Here are 10 things you should know about Jägermeister.
Jägermeister Is Fancier Than You Think.
Jägermeister is known as a boozy classic poured as cold shots in bars around the world, but it is in fact a “digestif.” Put simply, digestifs and aperitifs are both lower-ABV liqueurs infused with herbs, spices, bark, and more. Digestifs are specifically intended to aid digestion.
It Started With Vinegar.
On the digestif spectrum, Jäger is sweet. But it was born alongside something sour. Wilhelm Mast ran a vinegar company in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, slightly south and a bit west of Berlin. That’s where his son, Curt Mast, let his spirit for spirits blossom into the creation of Jägermeister, a liqueur flavored with a very secret recipe that melds spices, herbs, and a year of barrel-aging. Topping out at 35 percent ABV, it’s basically a liqueur with the abs and/or core-strength of booze.
Jägermeister Is Vegan, Though Many Believe It’s Made With Deer’s Blood.
Every Jägermeister bottle comes with a deer on its label. For a long time, people took this to mean the drink — and its intoxicating qualities — owed its special power to deer blood. The company responded to the long-held myth by declaring that the recipe does not and never has contained animal blood. In 2018, Jägermeister even revealed that the recipe is entirely vegan, as is the brand’s new Cold Brew Coffee.
The Iconic Drink Is Made From 56 Ingredients.
Jägermeister, like many digestifs, is made with a plethora of herbs, fruits, roots, seeds, and spices. The recipe is a secret — so much so that the global marketing director says he is not one of the privileged few to know it — but is believed to include star anise, poppy seed, saffron, and juniper berries.
Jäger Is Best Served Cold. Very Cold.
Jägermeister’s complex flavor profile is accentuated by cold temperatures; the company advises that -18 C (or -.4 F) is the absolute perfect temperature to enjoy a shot.
The Brand Was The First To Adorn Its Logo On Soccer Jerseys
The Jägermeister label hasn’t changed much in the 80-plus years the liqueur has been produced, and the brand has plastered it in countless places. Jäger became a pioneer in the sports advertising world when the logo was featured on the front of a German soccer team’s jersey in 1973 — a practice the league attempted to prevent, but one that became normalized by the end of the ‘73 season.
What’s in a nickname?
The literal German interpretation of Jägermeister is “Master Hunter,” which begs the question why we all order “Jäger,” i.e., “mediocre, so-so, or otherwise un-noteworthy hunter.”
There Is A Poem On The Label.
You know how we all like our liqueur: with poetry. Jägermeister’s label has a very eloquent poem describing the connection to the hunt, with lyrics as lovely as, “This is the hunter’s blade of glory.”
It’s Not Just For Frat Parties.
Jäger is known for being a frat party favorite, but the brand is outgrowing its low-brow reputation. From collaborating with craft beer producers to showing up in cocktails at top NYC bars. Today, the liqueur is just as likely to be found at classy cocktail bars as it is college dorms.
You Can Drink Jäger On The Go.
While the brand’s sales have progressively slowed in the U.S., its global sales continue to rise, and the brand is making an effort to reach new audiences. Recently released amidst the ready-to-drink (RTD) craze, 10-packs of ice-cold shots packaged in miniature 20 ml bottles make the flavorful beverage easy to transport and enjoy.