The origins of Jägermeister are one of a health tonic that could aid digestion with it’s mix of helpful herbs and spices. As time moved on the popularity changed the usage but it is still interesting to see the ingredients that make it so divisive in popularity.
Jägermeister is an alcoholic digestif traditionally taken after a meal and contains 56 herbs and spices. A closely guarded secret the recipe does include; star anise and licorice root, cinnamon, juniper berries, ginger, coriander, sandalwood, ginseng, saffron, bitter orange zest and cloves.
Each of these herbs and spices adds a different layer to the overall flavor. Let’s look at these individually.
Some Of The Herbs In Jägermeister
- Bitter Orange Zest gives Jägermeister a citrus flavor that is not too overpoweringly zesty. A more mature depth of flavor is offered here. When macerated these flavors will seep through and enliven the other botanicals. Orange peel is known to help combat weight gain and digestive issues as well as being packed with nutrients and vitamins.
- Cloves are known for their mature and sweet notes with a pungent richness and warmth. The slight bitter note is softened by the steeping process and alcohol will keep the warmth without an overpoweringly bitter note. Cloves are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, some of which are linked to aiding digestion and even absorption of other vitamins.
- Coriander is listed as being one of the 56 botanical ingredients in Jägermeister, it is not certain as to whether this is in the form of blossoms, seeds or even leaves. Coriander contains large quantities of vitamin A, C & K. Coriander has a zesty flavor with a mature earthiness in the depth of the flavor.
- Ginger is known of it’s warmth and spiciness. Almost a heat can be felt when eating it in large quantities. When crushed and steeped in alcohol for a few weeks the warmth will be released. Ginger is a fantastic root that is used for everything from sore throats to digestion and arthritis.
- Ginseng is thought to reduce inflammation and therefore you can see how it earns it’s place in Jägermeister as a medicinal tonic. A bitter flavor is the real taste coming through with more subtle tones of earthiness and sweetness.
- Juniper Berries have a pleasantly pungent taste with sweet earthy bitterness coming through. During maceration they will infuse all the other herbs and work well with cloves and ginger. Juniper berries are known to have anti-bacterial properties that will help to aid digestion.
- Licorice Root is a strong anise flavor that is vibrant and possibly overpowering if used in the wrong ratios. Licorice root is often taken as a preventative to chronic bronchitis.
- Saffron is known as the most expensive spice in the world, mainly due to it’s time consuming harvesting period. It will add a vibrant color as well as a slight note of bitterness to any dish, in a tonic it will be a more subtle flavor. Saffron has been used historically to boost immune systems and increase appetite.
- Sandalwood is a hard one to place as it is almost pine like in aroma and the flavor is very subtle, almost woody and earthy. Sandalwood is thought to fight bacteria and help to aid immunity from common ailments.
- Star Anise is a pungent spice that gives a licorice and slightly bitter flavor to any dish. The process used to make Jägermeister allows it to steep with alcohol and release a softer flavor overall. Sweetness is in the background of star anise. Star anise is known for aiding digestion and allowing your immune system to flourish.
Using Herbs, Spices, Roots & Blossoms In Jägermeister
These herbs and spices, roots and blossoms must all be macerated and processed. Modern technology allows Jägermeister to really optimize each ingredient, getting them milled to the consistency that will allow for the most essential oils and flavors to be released. Then the herbs are steeped in alcohol and water for several weeks.
When we make a cup of herbal tea we are steeping our herbs in boiled water to release the essential oils and some of the nutritional value. When Jägermeister do this they replace boiled water for alcohol and the process is a little longer, but elicits the same preservation of essential oils, vitamins and minerals.
Oak barrels will give Jägermeister some additional flavor and anyone who has toured a Whiskey distillery in Scotland will know the value of a good maturing process. The base material that has been produced is stored to mature and really get the flavors developed.
Once the herbs have developed for a year they are added to alcohol, caramel, liquid sugar and softened water, then bottled. This is the same process that was used for hundreds of years and technology has just made this a more consistent process.
What Is Jägermeister
Sometimes the question of which type of alcohol you can call Jägermeister comes up. It’s not really a clear question as you can see.
Jägermeister is not a vodka, gin, rum, whiskey or tequila. It is a digestif, an alcoholic drink usually taken after a meal. Other examples of digestifs would include brandy, sherry or port. Jagermeister contains herbs thought to calm your digestive system after a meal.
Jägermeister is a divisive drink in many ways as it is quite a strong flavor on it’s own.
Jägermeister Cocktails & Recipes
- Jäger Bomb – I thought I would start with the most popular and well known recipe of them all! One shot of Jägermeister in a tall glass with 1/2 can of red bull. Love it or loathe it, it is a very popular drink across the world. Not exactly a cocktail and one associated with drunk nights out.
- Naughty German – Is a more classy affair with creme cassis giving it a lovely color and lemon juice and zest for a real citrus kick. For the full recipe from Jägermeister themselves have a look here.
- Jägermeister Inside Scoop – Using vanilla ice cream to get a truly cooling and reviving cocktail in the Summer! The addition of root beer makes for a childhood memory with a very adult twist. For full recipe click here.
- Jägermeister Martini – A simple swap for gin to Jägermeister and you will find a new twist to a classic cocktail.
- Devil’s Blood – A mixture of vodka, grenadine, dark rum and Jägermeister this really hits the spot. For the full guide click here.
- Old Fashioned – With a classic rye based whiskey still at the heart of this recipe you will then give it a botanical twist with a shot of Jägermeister and a few more added ingredients for a really interesting and ‘new’ old fashioned, full recipe here.
- Jäger & Tonic – This is a refreshing alternative to Gin and Tonic. Perfect when matched with herbal ice cubes as a little extra herb kick to match the botanicals in Jägermeister.
- Cozonac – This is a really grown up layered shot. equal parts Baileys, Jägermeister and Stroh rum. For the full guide click here.
- California Surfer – Using equal parts white rum, Jägermeister and pineapple juice to make these extremely potent cocktails is both tropical and warming. Click here for the full how to guide.
- Jägermeister Mule – A refreshing long drink with ginger beer, perfect for hot Summer days. For a how to guide click here.
What Next & Further Reading
- Cocktail Lovers Herb Garden Planting Guide If you are looking to grow your own botanicals for a perfect cocktail garden.
- Best Herbal Teas For Relieving Bloating as Jägermeister was originally used as a digestif I thought I would include this link here. In case anyone would like further advice or to see how the herbs all link together.