There’s a certain magic about a well-crafted cocktail, humdrum ingredients come together and are transformed into something quite special by talented barmen. Well that’s the image I’ve always had and so when I was very kindly invited by Jägermeister to come along to the Big Chill just off Brick Lane for an afternoon of Jägermeister cocktail making, I jumped at the chance. First of all, I’ll let you into a little secret, I’ve never even tasted Jägermeister before, sure I’ve heard of Jägerbombs but this unusual liqueur has always somehow eluded this cocktail-loving lady. Another little secret, I’ve hardly ventured further than Central London so the fact that I was going to the very end of the Metropolitan line to Aldgate filled me with excitement.
This part of London once really run down and dirty, you wouldn’t want to be around after dark has now been transformed into one of London’s most vibrant hubs. Most of the bars, clubs and restaurants are filled to the brim with smartly dressed and “suited ‘n’ booted city boys and girls, I was definitely impressed. This year Jägermeister was taking part in London Cocktail week running from 3rd to 7th of October. This is where London’s best bars, mixologists and pop-up bars open their doors or take up home in the Cocktail Village at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, an opportunity for cocktail lovers such as me to sample all manner of cocktails usually at a discounted price when a ticket is purchased at Time Out London and can be activated via the DrinkUpLondon app, put a note in your diary for next year.
Jägermeister’s pop-up “Der Wald” meaning “the wood” in German was inside the very Nordic looking Big Chill, one could almost imagine German Sausages and the like hanging from above us and loud beer-swigging Germans having a great old time, I know the Nordic look is Scandinavian but you get my meaning, lots of wood and the feeling of nature, there was definitely a fun vibe inside the Big Chill.
A large table fully stocked with cocktail-making accessories and ingredients, bowls of vibrant fruit and yes big green bottles of Jägermeister. Jägermeister’s UK brand ambassador Florian Beuren was our host for the day, he began by telling us all about Jägermeister, in front of us, two small shots of this dark trickly German elixir, one at room temp and the other cold. Jägermeister is best served ice cold at -18ºC and I must admit, that was my favourite out to the two although when the cold bites, a shot of room temperature Jägermeister similar to a Finish liqueur I had in Lapland, is all that would be needed to warm up your cockles.
Starting with Hunters Tea, measures of Jägermeister, orange jam, black tea, lemon juice and sugar or in our case, maple syrup, this cocktail was garnished with a slice of orange or orange zest. By the end of cocktail number 3, we were becoming dab hands in the art of cocktail making like expert mixologists. My favourite cocktail out of the three was the Purple Stag, Jägermeister with this time a berry marmalade/jam, berry tea, lemon juice, maple syrup and garnished with blackberries, it was sweet with that now unmistakable Jägermeister taste that I was growing to love, we were biting into blackberries and raspberries as we were sipping this delicious cocktail. Cocktail number 3 was the aptly named Naughty German, Jägermeister mixed with crème de cassis, lemon juice and gomme sugar syrup.
Brief history of Jägermeister.
Is Jägermeister a spirit, a liqueur, maybe a digestif, an aperitif perhaps? The history of this iconic German alcoholic beverage dates back to Wilhelm Mast, a vinegar manufacturer but it wasn’t until 1935 when Jägermeister was first introduced by Wilhelm’s son Curt who took the company to another level by producing Jägermeister. Curt, a lover of nature and the outdoors wanted his drink to reflect this thus the stag trademark was born; the drinks complex blend of 56 botanicals – herbs, spices and roots including licorice, citrus peel, anise, juniper, berries and ginseng is homage to nature itself. These ingredients are ground and steeped in water and alcohol for around 42 days, its then filtered and stored in 200-year-old oak barrels for up to a year. The liqueur is filtered again and mixed with sugar, caramel and alcohol. Did you know that 2.24 billion shots of Jägermeister is consumed every year and over 99 million bottles of Jägermeister are sold each year!! Many bottles were designed all those years ago but the one that was accidentally dropped and survived the fall is the one that was picked, the design of bottle is still used today.
I certainly learnt a lot today and I’m now a definite convert to this spicy warming German digestif, me and my partner-in-crime Mr LmP had a lot of fun, I’m now off to buy myself a bottle of Jägermeister.
I was invited to attend the Meister Akademy Cocktail Masterclass as a guest of Jägermeister UK but as always opinions are always my own. Some of the photos are my own and some are courtesy of Jägermeister.
Cocktail Village at the Trueman Brewery, Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
London Cocktail Week 2018 ran from 3rd to 7th October, please look out for London Cocktail Week 2019 around early October 2019 where similar events will be held.