Released in 1935, Jägermeister means “hunting master”, and it was destined to be a worker’s drink. It was named after the Reichjägermeister, who was Hermann Göring at the time. However, the title is several hundred years old and its ties to the Nazi party are often based just on speculation. Thanks to the work of Sidney Frank, an American liquor importer, it became embraced by the 1980s American student culture. Its entire marketing cast away its old roots and targeted the student demographic instead.
Technically a variety of schnaps as linked above, Jägermeister is produced with 56 different botanicals. Indeed, their presence is quite clear when you first sample the beverage!
We’re looking at a very dark, almost molasses hue, which is probably through the use of caramel agents. It doesn’t have much clarity. In fact, it’s almost opaque, but you do get a glimmer of sort of reddish light that comes through the glass.
It’s got a very thick sugary residue. The legs are thin and fast and run down the sides of the glass.
Notes: Fennel, Cloves, Cinnamon
The nose is distinctively mentholated. You’re going to get notes of fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and anise. It’s very rich on the botanicals and these herbs and spices are hard to miss. The bouquet is quite rich, strong, and full in intensity.
There is some diversity of notes, even though they’re all botanicals, they’re quite varied. The complexity, though, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly complex, but it’s not exactly bland either!
Jägermeister’s Palate & Mouthfeel
Primary Taste: Sweet
Opening: Ginger, Cinnamon, Anise
Heart: Fennel, Clove, Orange Peel
Finish: Short [Liquorice, Vanilla, Caramel]
The alcohol bloom is quite strong. If for some reason you want to drink it neat, I would dilute it slightly or have it chilled to reduce the alcohol’s strength.
The primary flavour is sweet. It has an oily mouthfeel. However, it’s not as heavy as you would expect on the palate. It opens with notes of ginger, cinnamon, and anise. These fade to reveal its heart of fennel, clove, and orange peel. Eventually, it reveals a finish of licorice, vanilla, and caramel.
The caramel is quite sweet. It’s succulent, cloying almost, whereas the vanilla adds a little bit of substance after such a crescendo of bold-hitting flavours. Again, complexity isn’t really Jägermeister’s strong suit, although there is a diversity of flavour.
The texture is overall quite smooth and heavy on the palate, and there is an element of maturity in the flavour profile. There isn’t much depth. Although you do have an interesting journey of notes, it doesn’t really have these complex chords that you would expect. It’s also high on the acidic side and is causes salivation, which is a sign of imbalance.
However, it features a long and drawn-out finish.
How To Drink Jägermeister
As we often state in our reviews, the best way to drink a beverage is the way that you enjoy it the most. However, if you’re not yet sure how to drink Jägermeister, we are happy to provide you with a few serving suggestions.
Firstly, Jägermeister’s alcohol bloom and botanicals are very strong at room temperature. Therefore, it’s always best served very chilled. Otherwise, it can be quite overwhelming. While certainly drinkable neat, it tends to fare well as a mixer, too.
While an excellent mixer with juice or Coca-Cola, there are a few cocktails that you can have with Jägermeister:
Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
Surfer On Acid
As you may have guessed, the above suggestions tend to be the sort of cocktail that you guzzle down at a party. They’re rarely sophisticated and the intended effect is quick and efficient inebriation! That being said, a creative mixologist can find ways to incorporate Jägermeister into a cocktail.
Bear in mind that it’s a very strongly-flavoured drink so it will require taste modifiers with personality in order to balance it out. However, when in doubt, just slam a few Jägerbombs!
Best Pairings With Jägermeister
Otherwise, there are ways of enjoying Jägermeister around a meal. You can have it chilled with some cured ham. This would be quite an appropriate choice, given its working-class hunting origins.
Otherwise, you could consider things like roasted lamb. You could even use the Jägermeister for cooking! For example, marinating a leg of lamb in some Jägermeister can add some complexity to the meat.
As you may know, we’re quite fond of cigars at Bespoke Unit. If you want to enjoy it neat and you want a cigar pairing, consider the sort of more spicy cigars that are going to have a rich and bold character.
Given that Jägermeister is quite strong, its botanical notes can be potentially overwhelming, so try and opt for a cigar that has just as much personality.
For instance, the Serie V Melanio Maduro by Oliva. Alternatively, you could go for something like a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown, which is actually aged in bourbon barrels, so it’ll have a certain boozyness that would go well with this drink.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
The label and the green pressed-glass bottle have barely changed since it was created. We have the Christian cross and deer antler logo while “Jägermeister” is written in a quintessentially German font. The packaging is non-existent and in terms of cork quality, you’re looking at a metal screw cap.
Jägermesiter is more of a casual drink. I would not really be inclined to take this out at a formal event or use it for any more affluent gatherings. However, it does go down a treat at casual parties. Just go easy!
Its price varies but you’re often looking at around $30 more-or-less.
Love it or hate it, Jägermeister is quite a unique beverage. While a variety of schnaps, it’s reminiscent of some herbal types of Scandinavian akvavit. Therefore, if you’re not overly fond of Jägermeister and want to try something somewhat more artisanal, akvavit is worth trying.
Similarly, if you do like akvavit but can’t find any near you, know that Jägermeister can be a reasonable stand-in.
Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.