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THE TIPPLING POINT | Jagermeister: The Hunters' Poison Has Many a Myth Attached to it

A mix of citrus peel, liquorice, anise, poppy seeds, saffron, ginger, juniper berries, ginseng etc. are ground, and then steeped in water, alcohol for a couple of days. The concoction is kept for a year before it is mixed with sugar, caramel, alcohol and water, before being bottled as Jägermeister.

Manu Remakant |

Updated:April 22, 2018, 9:48 AM IST
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THE TIPPLING POINT | Jagermeister: The Hunters' Poison Has Many a Myth Attached to it
Jägermeister may not contain any non-vegetarian stuff as the local legends whip up, but it has more than 56 exotic herbs, woods, spices, fruits, blossoms, seeds and roots harnessed from all over the world.
News18 Tippling PointCurt Mast was an enthusiastic hunter from Germany. When out of the woods during the off-season, Mast had a family-inherited vinegar factory to fidget with. He had this habit of tossing together wild herbs with the intention of making a drink for his friends.

Mast finally succeeded in distilling a heavenly liqueur from 56 ingredients and christened this medley ‘Jägermeister’, which means ‘hunting master’ in German. Before every bout of hunting, hunters should raise a toast with the new drink, he insisted. Soon he perfected the drink.

Well, that was the drabbest way I told you about the making of a drink. Let’s see what legends and lies haunt the journey of Jägermeister —one of the most popular brands in the world of herbal liqueurs.

THE LEGEND AND LIES

If your friend wrinkles his nose when he catches you sipping the sweet cold Jägermeister, don’t bother. Don’t even listen! He might put you off by saying that you are holding deer’s blood in your hand.

Deer blood! What the hell!

Notice the label on the bottle closely. Don’t you see the picture of a deer with a burning cross between its intricate antlers? The image has fuelled the urban legend that drops of elk-blood give the drink that exclusive taste.

Deer with a burning cross over its head.

The imagery refers to the patron saint of hunters, St Hubertus. Legend says that Hubertus was once a compulsive hunter who mercilessly ravaged the rich biodiversity in his neighbouring woods. He shot animals down even on Sundays, something that bordered on blasphemy.

One day, when Hubertus took aim, a white deer holding an illuminated cross in his antlers came out from the bushes. The hunter was dumbstruck. Bang! Hubertus’ soul changed utterly at that sight. He took a decision then and there that he would never hurt an animal.

Curt Mast adorned the drink he made with the spectacle revealed to St Hubertus.

Jägermeister may not contain any non-vegetarian stuff as the local legends whip up, but it has more than 56 exotic herbs, woods, spices, fruits, blossoms, seeds and roots harnessed from all over the world. A mix of citrus peel, liquorice, anise, poppy seeds, saffron, ginger, juniper berries, ginseng etc. are ground, and then steeped in water and alcohol for a couple of days. The concoction is kept for a year before it is mixed with sugar, caramel, alcohol and water, before being bottled.

THE BOTTLE

Being a businessman, Curt Mast knew how important the bottle is along with the drink it contained. In his kitchen, he began to test how each bottle he tried would stand a fall from certain height. History did not find it proper to record what his wife had to comment on it but finally, a square bottle was selected. This became yet another mascot of the phenomenal drink.

The label of the Jägermeister bottles quotes a poem by Oskar von Riesenthal (1830-1898), a fellow hunter:

When translated from German it reads…

"This is the hunters’ honour shield,
which he protects and looks after his game,
Huntsman hunts, as it should be,
the Creator in the creatures honour."


THE BLAST

A bottle of Jägermeister should be kept in ice. In many bars, they have Jägermeister tap machines that would keep the drink well under freezing temperature and dispense it in shots. Only when it is freezing cold, the sweet drink, which has 35% abv can nourish body parts which other drinks can only aspire to reach.

A bit of a revolutionary, you are? A shot glass filled with Jägermeister is dropped into a glass of Red Bull energy drink. The famous Jägerbomb is born. Go blast it, buddy!

(Manu Remakant is a freelance writer who also runs a video blog - A Cup of Kavitha - introducing world poetry to Malayalees. Views expressed here are personal)

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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