Jägermeister used to be the stuff that barroom nightmares were made of.
The 70-proof digestif adorned with an antlered stag—Jägermeister means "master hunter" in German—was best known as the fratty booze that some joker ordered everyone too many shots of the night before.
The forebodingly dark blend of 56 herbs, roots and spices was falsely rumored to contain elk blood. And its association with poor decision-making was even immortalized in a famous bit by comedian Dave Attell.
Perhaps in spite of its formerly low-rent reputation, craft cocktail bartenders are using Jäger in a variety of drinks that are a step up from the traditional shot. Ivy Mix, the co-owner of Leyenda in Brooklyn who was named American Bartender of the Year in 2015, is a big-time fan.
"I like Jäger because of its versatility and complexity," she tells Maxim. "It serves as a great modifier when working with other spirits because of the herbal notes. With so many flavor notes, it gives so much to work with."
Here are five craft Jägermeister drinks that are being savored by cocktail aficionados around the country.
Fight for Your Rite (of Spring)
By Sean Hoard of Teardrop Cocktail Lounge in Portland
- 1 oz Jägermeister
- 1 oz 100 proof rye whiskey
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz 2:1 cane syrup (2 parts evaporated cane to 1 part water)
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Combine ingredients in a shaker, shake with ice, strain over fresh ice into a chilled rocks glass, and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
By Ivy Mix of Leyenda in Brooklyn
- 1.5.oz Jägermeister
- 0.5.oz Del Maguey Vida
- 0.5.oz fresh orange juice
- 0.25.oz maple syrup
- 0.5.oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake, strain into a coupe, top with champagne. Garnish with an orange twist.
Heads or Tails
By Logan Demmy of Mouton in Columbus
- 1 1/2 oz Jägermeister Original
- 3/4 oz Barenjager
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3 drops saline solution
Shake. Strain in Fizz Glass. Float IPA beer on top of cocktail.
Jaguar (cocktail shooter)
By Jane Danger at Mother of Pearl in Manhattan
- ¾ oz. Jägermeister
- ¼ Poire Williams
Combine in glass.
The Tippling Reviver
By Myles Carroll at 1 Tippling Place in Philadelphia
- 1.5oz Beefeater Gin
- .5oz Jägermeister
- .5oz fresh lemon juice
- .5oz ginger syrup (recipe below)
- .25oz 1:1 simple syrup
- Club soda
Build all ingredients except club soda in small shaker. Add one ice cube and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into Collins glass filled with ice and 1 oz. club soda. Top with club soda as needed. Garnish with ginger candy, if you have some handy.
Ginger syrup recipe: Put whole fresh ginger into a juicer. Let juice sit for an hour then pour juice into another container trying to leave as much ginger starch (it will be white) behind. Then add three parts sugar to 4 parts ginger juice and stir until combined. The syrup will stay fresh for a week and a half in the fridge.