In my search to bring you a cocktail of German origin this week, I've come across very little to tempt my palate. Mostly, Germany is a beer-drinking country; which is not to say that the country as a whole lacks for "cocktail programs". I'm sure they must exist in places like Munich and Berlin ... though, honestly, on this trip I drank beer and beer alone, so I wouldn't know.
Failing to turn up the penultimate German cocktail, I've decided to explore the wonders of Jagermeister. Laugh if you will, I did ... and then I got serious. And the serious truth is there's more to this mysterious, dark potable than meets the eye.
Jagermeister is an herbal liqueur made from a proprietary blend of over 56 different ingredients and the exact recipe is a trade secret. Its common knowledge that the blend includes cinnamon bark, ginger, bitter orange peel, and a variety of herbs. Certainly I taste notes of licorice, strong notes of licorice, which I enjoy. If you don't, perhaps this brew is not for you. Beyond that ... who knows? What I didn't know, is that Jagermeister actually is made in Germany. All this time I'd been thinking it was the product of some clever marketing agency, aimed at getting young shot-swilling people very drunk, very quick. I was quite surprised to learn that the recipe was developed in 1935 and has been produced in the same way ever since.
While Jagermeister may best be known as a shot - and usually seen in the hands of the young shot swilling crowd - turns out it makes a fine addition to a variety cocktails. Go ahead and Google it, you'll see. I took a variety of ideas from the Jagermeister site, then settled on a hybrid mix with my own special twist. I like to call it the ...
- 1 1/2 parts Jagermeister
- 1/2 part dry, white, vermouth
- 1/2 part POM Wonderful Pomegranate Tangerine Juice
- 1/2 part cold water
- dash of Angostura Bitters
Fill a martini shaker with ice and over it pour the Jagermeister, vermouth, POM juice and a dash or two of bitters. Close the shaker and shake vigorously until the shaker frosts. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a slice of crisp apple. Serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!
So, how does it taste? Strong! I'm not going to lie, this drink probably isn't for everyone. But if you enjoy the herbal, sort of vaguely medicinal, properties of Jagermeister, you'll love it. The POM juice and the vermouth serve to lighten the load, so to speak, and honestly this may be the only time you'll see me add water to a drink. I found it necessary to tame the strength of the Jag and to thin the mixture a bit.
Alternately, you could choose to serve the drink over ice, rather than up, which would also help to lighten things up. Personally, I liked it. Its a deep, rich cocktail that seems just right for the onset of chilly weather. While it may not be the ultimate expression of Jagermeister's versatility - its certainly an intriguing mix.
Previously, my only experience with this liqueur was in the form of a shot ... many moons ago, when I was young and foolish. And those stories are definitely not for public consumption! ~wink~ Now that I'm in possession of a full bottle, my experiments will continue. You've been warned.
p.s. - you'll note that I haven't linked you to Jagermeister's website ... because, in a word, it sucks! ;)