Around 2.24 billion shots of Jägermeister are knocked back around the world every year but, for some time now, the bitter-sweet herbal liqueur has also been promoted for mixed drinks and cocktails. Since the start of lockdown and the ongoing club shutdown, Jägermeister fans have been able to quench their thirst and get together with friends through “Meister Drop-In” parties via Zoom, Skype or Houseparty under the global banner of #SaveTheNight, featuring DJs, musicians, magicians and other performers. The online events have also included cocktail masterclasses – or “Meister Classes” (of course) – where participants can learn how to mix with Jägermeister.
These masterclasses have provided work for bartenders around the country at a time when bars have been shut or on shorter hours but I was given a taste of a Meister Drop-In with Jägermeister’s UK brand ambassador, Florian Beuren. Under his patient tutelage, we mixed up a range of tasty drinks from simple serves to cocktails, using all three expressions in the Jägermeister range.
One of the biggest surprises for many people is just how well Jägermeister works with a mixer. Combining it with ginger beer over ice creates a twist on a classic Mule, but it can also be enjoyed with tonic over ice, with a wedge of orange, with bitter lemon or with lemonade.
Garnish: lime wedge and cucumber slice
Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes. Pour over the Jägermeister and top up with ginger beer. Stir slightly. Squeeze a lime wedge into the drink and then drop it in. Add a slice of cucumber.
Florian also showcased a serve using Jägermeister Manifest, a super-premium aged expression designed for sipping and cocktails, which is targeted at top bars and specialist retail. His twist on a classic Old Fashioned uses chocolate bitters to enhance the dryness of the liqueur. Classic Jägermeister can also be mixed with whiskey for another twist on the drink.
Jägermeister Old Fashioned
50ml Jägermeister Manifest
5ml Maple syrup
3 dashes Chocolate bitters (eg Bob’s Chocolate Bitters)
Fill a rocks glass with ice and add all the ingredients. Stir for about a minute, as required, for dilution to mellow. Optionally, try garnishing it with an orange twist.
The latest addition to the Jägermeister range is Cold Brew Coffee liqueur, which was originally developed by Florian by experimenting with infusing the liqueur with cold-brew coffee and chocolate. He uses it for a twist on a classic Espresso Martini, drawing on the popular flavour of salted caramel.
Salted Caramel Espresso Martini
40ml Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee liqueur
10ml Vanilla syrup (or 15ml for a sweeter drink)
1 barspoon Bonne Maman Salted Caramel spread
Put the salted caramel, coffee, Jägermeister Cold Brew and syrup in a shaker. Stir to melt the salted caramel spread. Fill the shaker with ice cubes. Give it a long shake to make it creamy. Strain into a martini glass. Optionally, garnish with up to three coffee beans.
Anyone who still marvels at the idea of using Jägermeister in cocktails needs only to look at how it is made. Launched in 1935, the liqueur is made by 142-year-old family-owned company Mast-Jägermeister at a distillery in Wolfenbüttel near Braunschweig (Brunswick). It is still made to the same recipe of 56 herbs, spices and other botanicals sourced from around the world, such as star anise from China and sweet orange from Ghana. Other ingredients include cinnamon, liquorice root, ginger, galangal, bitter orange, clove, mace and cardamon.
They are macerated in four separate bundles in stainless-steel tanks for four to six weeks, going through nine washes – three with alcohol and six with water – to extract flavour. The four are combined and rest in huge 24,000-litre casks made of German Napoleon oak for nine to 12 months to harmonise before caramel and water are added ahead for bottling at 35% ABV. For Jägermeister Manifest, the recipe uses a higher volume of botanicals, plus an extra maceration, and a wheat-based spirit, and then the liquid is aged in smaller oak barrels before bottling at 38% ABV.
As a brand ambassador, Florian says his job is to “showcase the versatility of Jägermeister” and to “change perceptions and make people a bit more aware of how great a liquid Jägermeister is and what you can do with it”. Going on a factory tour in Wolfenbüttel (which is currently not allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions) brings home the complexity of the liqueur which many people think of as a basic product. “When you look at Jägermeister and really go deep into it, there’s hardly a liquid as complex as this in the market,” Florian adds. Without a specific industry category for herbal liqueurs, Florian says Jägermeister would fit into the “amaro” category – the traditionally Italian bitter liqueur that is sipped after meals and, more recently, used in cocktails. “They have a bitter ending but Jägermeister has a sweet ending so we would be sitting in the medium amaro section,” he adds. “If you look at the whole amaro category, for example Fernet and Martini, we are more than half of the whole category alone.”
However, Jägermeister is not abandoning the shot serve, continuing to recommend the “Perfekt Serve” of chilling the liqueur to minus 18C in the freezer, ideally pouring it into frozen shot glasses. This will be the focus of a new digital campaign running in the UK from the end of October through to January while Jägermeister has also partnered Deliveroo for an on-pack promotion offering a £5 credit when spending £20 with the delivery app. Peter Kennedy, marketing controller at Mast-Jaegermeister UK, also notes that JägerBombs continue to be popular in the UK and the US, accounting for 75% of volume, albeit down from 95% in the past. “If people want to drink JägerBombs, they’re free to do so but long-term brand strategy is to try to establish the shot as the number-one serve for Jägermeister.”
The Meister Drop-Ins are still available until the end of September. Visit www.save-the-night.com.