History:Curt Mast, the original distiller of Jägermeister and son of the founder Wilhelm, was an enthusiastic hunter.
The name when literally translated means “Hunting Master”It is a title for a high-ranking official in charge of matters related to hunting and gamekeeping. The term Jägermeister had existed as a job title for many centuries. It was redefined in 1934 in the new Reichsjagdgesetz (Imperial Hunting Law), which applied the term to senior foresters, game wardens, and gamekeepers in the German civil service.
Hermann Göring was appointed Reichsjägermeister (Imperial Gamekeeper) when the new hunting law was introduced. Thus, when Jägermeister was introduced in 1935, its name was already familiar to Germans—it was sometimes called “Göring-Schnaps.”
Jägermeister came to greater international attention particularly through the work of Sidney Frank, who ran an American liquor import company. He promoted the drink at the youth and student market, as a drink for parties, a quite different niche to its traditional conservative brand position in its native market. New York magazine quoted a market research firm as describing him as a ‘promotional genius’ for making “a liqueur with an unpronounceable name…drunk by older, blue-collar Germans as an after-dinner digestive aid…synonymous with ‘party’.” The Mast-Jägermeister company ultimately purchased Sidney Frank Importing in 2015.
The case of Jägermeister bears this out – drinking it at room temperature is not pleasant. Jägermeister was an unknown liqueur back in the late 1970’s when it was starting to get popularized- rumors of drugs and strange effects from drinking it were circulated and the unorthodox marketing tactics brought it to the forefront at least among college students and the younger crowd. It was in a way treated the same way as mezcal, something with a folklore for getting you drunk in strange ways fast. It seemed to be the night train to oblivion.
Appearance: Dark brown/gold, caramel color to it. Reminiscent of a whiskey but darker. On swirling leaves a even coat on the glass with a very slow development of legs.
First Impression: Heavy scents of menthol, cloves,cinnamon and ginger.
Taste: Menthol, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom, gentian. A long mentholated aftertaste with mild alcohol presence.
Drinks: 100’s of them – most undrinkable in my opinion. One of the more amusing preparations I have ever seen was Kevin Brauchs’ (of the Thirsty Traveler, and lately Iron Chef fame) Jager Pop Rocks. The most often method of drinking Jager is as a chilled shot from a proprietary shot chilling machine, where it is slammed in group efforts to achieve, well something.
Bottle: Dark green rectangular flask style bottle of pressed glass, with slightly curved sides which make gripping the bottle much easier.
Other: Best consumed as cold as possible. See above.
Final Thoughts: While not as filthy tasting as some things I have had, it lacks much in the overall charm department or have anything nice to say about it. Amaros such as Fernet Branca have their charms and uses- this doesn’t have one unless the idea of drinking a highly mentholated sweet liqueur to get utterly wrecked with some friends appeals to you. While I certainly don’t advocate that- it seems to be what people do with this stuff – at least from what I have seen.
Rating: ★★★★ 4/10
★: Drink out of a paper bag in a gutter during a storm.
★★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★★: Best served mixed with something with flavor.
★★★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★★★: Impressive, something you can proudly share with friends.
★★★★★★★★: Fantastic addition to any bar or collection.
★★★★★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this.
★★★★★★★★★★: Nectar of the God’s, sell the house and move in next to the Distillery/Brewery.