Whether you have just returned from a skiing trip in the Alps, a Gap Year in the Far East or an early summer weekend in Ibiza, there is a more than statistical likelihood that somewhere on your journey you have had at least a shot, or two, of the iconic Germany digestif, Jägermeister.
Simply, delicious as a mid-evening or post dinner shot, Jägermeister with its distinctive flavour is also an essential, if somewhat unconventional ingredient, to a “Jagerbomb” or “Depth Charge”.
Jägermeister is, what the British call, a liquer, an after-dinner drink or “a sticky”. It’s reasonably strong at 35% alcohol by volume (61% proof UK version and 70% proof US version) and comprises no less than fifty-six herbs and spices.
Dating from 1935, “Jägermeister” translates to “Hunting Master” is the lead product of Mast-Jägermeister SE, based in Wolfenbüttel (Lower Saxony, Germany).
Curt Mast, was the original distiller of Jägermeister and his son, Wilhelm, was a keen hunter – hence the name and the “stag’s head” logo. Whilst the term “Jägermeister” had been known in Germany for centuries, in 1934 the revised Imperial Hunting Law caused the name to be the official title for game wardens and gamekeepers employed by the German civil service. Hermann Göring was given the title of Reichsjägermeister (Imperial Gamekeeper). With the introduction of Jägermeister in 1935 it was already a familiar name to many Germans — some of whom nicknamed it “Göring-Schnaps.”
On its own Jägermeister has a pleasant slightly bitter herby taste, reminiscent of Italian “Amaro Averna” or “Fernet Branca” (another favourite), but often Jägermeister is combined with another drink. A Jägerbomb is the unGodly combination of a shot of Jägermeister – still in the shot glass – dropped into a glass containing an enemy drink such as Red Bull – and drunk together each infusing the other with extraordinary flavours. Similar effects are to be found in a “Haggis Bomb”, a shot of Jägermeister dropped into a glass of Scot’s “IrnBru” and, a personal favourite, “Guinness Depth Charge” which, of course, follows the usual patten with Guinness as the taller drink.
Whilst I imagine that Herr Mast didn’t consider that such uses of his fine product were likely, many generations of sun/snow/surf/ aficionados are indebted to him. One or two of these classic combinations makes a very pleasant evening, any more than couple and the next day is likely to be a complete write off! Many keen skiers brush this off telling me that no-one has a hangover at altitude.
Images by Mast-Jägermeister