Poor, misunderstood Jagermeister. Mention its name now in America, and it conjures images of drunken college students, ornery twentysomething men in backwards baseball caps screaming in bars, and tipsy girls staggering down a sidewalk in high heels.
The stuff was developed in the mid-thirties as a slightly sweeter than average bitter herbal liqueur, meant as a digestif and a cough remedy, and distilled for the woodsmen for whom it was named. (Jagermeister, translated, means “master hunter”, which is a position in the German Civil Service akin to a forest ranger here.) The stuff was likely consumed neat (chilled or room temperature) to finish off meals, or to while away nights in cabins across Europe.
It rose to fame here in America when it was “discovered” and promoted by the heavy metal community in the 1980s (I can’t find a link, but I seem to remember seeing a VH1 documentary that suggested Metallica introduced it singlehandedly to the U.S.) Of course, Fernet, another European bitter liqueur, had a similar introduction here, when bartenders discovered it amid the cocktail craze in the mid-2000s. But Jager is a bit sweeter, and thus had a bit more of a crossover appeal. (Much like Metallica itself, I suppose.)
So here we are, with the dark, cloying, deer-headed liqueur having invaded bar shelves and liquor cabinets anywhere college students roam. They shoot the stuff with impunity, and they mix it into all sorts of concoctions, chief among them tonight’s cocktail, a shooter recipe that I can’t recommend, but I will admit I’ve made for myself and others on more than one occasion. Consume it accordingly.
Jager is somewhat sweeter than Fernet or Campari to begin with, and a recipe like this mutes its bitter punch almost completely. This is still not a great thing to drink, especially not if you plan on drinking more than one. However, it is a drink recipe that exists, and if anyone goes searching for it, I’d rather them find it here, preceded by this warning, than by the ramblings of some fraternity-brother shot-slinger professing his love for it.
Without further adieu:
- 1 oz. Jagermeister
- .5 oz. peach schnapps
- 1 oz. cranberry juice
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail tin, and shake briefly to combine.
- Strain into a rocks or old-fashioned glass and serve neat, while shaking your head in disapproval.