You know the green glass bottle lurking on the back bar of just about every bar you’ve ever walked into? The one with the stag on the label and the name that’s fun to pronounce? It’s filled with a dark, intensely herbal liqueur that tastes like black licorice? That’s right, Jäger: your favorite shot—or not—of college days past.
These days, the German liqueur is finding a new calling in craft cocktails. Made of an astounding 56 ingredients, including herbs, blooms, roots and fruits, Jägermeister lends a powerful flavor to drinks. The recipe remains a secret, but two of its ingredients are known: cinnamon bark and ginger root. Another secret? Americans down more Jäger than Germans do. The reason probably has to do with how the citizens of each country consume the liqueur. In Germany, it’s still taken as an after-dinner digestif.
Until recently, most American-bought Jägermeister was consumed in shot form, giving the liqueur a somewhat lowbrow reputation. Bartenders are now treating Jäger the way they believe it deserves, dosing full-bodied libations with it. Although a little goes a long way, its flavors really shine when paired with rum or whiskey.
Need a little time off? Even if you can’t make it across the pond, a sip of this cocktail can bring on that glorious holiday feeling. A sturdy base of rum and Jäger underlies the richness of orgeat, ginger liqueur and lemon juice. A few dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters are a nice complement to the anise notes of the Jäger—and a photogenic red-hued finishing touch.
Created by Eric Tecosky in the 1990s, this popular drink has often been made as a shot. But you can classify this three-equal-parts favorite by serving it on the rocks—or even straight up in a cocktail glass. A sweet, herbaceous blend of Jäger, coconut rum and pineapple juice, it’s got a tropical feel (hence the surfer) and a little edge (hey there, acid).
Don’t be fooled by the name of this drink: You’ll easily lose track of time while sipping on the combination of Jäger, Aperol, Amaro Montenegro and Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters. Created by New York bartender and bitters aficionado Sother Teague, this drink leans into the bitter, yet is still surprisingly approachable.