Jägermeister is changing the way the world sees its spirit. Leading the way is the Hubertus Circle, an elite global club of bartenders – and Imbibe met its newest member
Only five people in the world know all the botanicals used to create Jägermeister. With 56 herbs, roots and fruits sourced from around the globe, creating a uniquely complex flavour, why aren't more bartenders experimenting with Jägermeister in their serves?
Jägermeister is looking to make this happen with the help of its global group of elite bartenders, the Hubertus Circle. Since its creation in 1935 by Curt Mast, Jägermeister has featured the stag prominently on its label.
The legend goes that the stag appeared to a wild hunter, Hubertus, who later became the patron saint of all hunters. Saint Hubertus now lends his name to the Hubertus Circle, whose members are supported by Jägermeister throughout their on-trade careers.
Imbibe partnered with Jägermeister to find the next member of the Circle in its innovative Berlin Xchange competition. This gave UK bartenders the chance to create a signature Jägermeister serve and take it to Berlin. Bartenders also took on a mystery ingredient innovation round and were tested on the history of Jäger.
Winning the competition with his Jäger Flip cocktail was Craig Robertson of Lincoln's The Strait and Narrow, thus becoming the newest recruit to the Hubertus Circle. Working with Robertson on the Xchange was Andreas Künster, an award-winning bartender with a passion for improving drinking culture in Germany. East Berlin Bar Kantine Kohlmann played host to the Berlin Xchange.
With an expert audience of the Jägermeister team and other Hubertus Circle members from all over Germany, Robertson’s winning Jäger Flip serve was unveiled in Berlin.
ABOUT THE INNER CIRCLE
The Hubertus Circle is an exclusive, non-competitive programme run by Jägermeister for elite bartenders with a proven commitment to their art and craft. Members are supported by Jägermeister throughout their careers, wherever they end up working, with invitations to exclusive events, training and educational support to improve their skills. For more information visit hubertuscircle.co.uk or follow @JagerUK on #JagerXChange
A combination of stout, espresso, caramel syrup, a whole egg and Jägermeister, the drink was improved only by Nils Boese, Jägermeister global brand ambassador, with the addition of fresh orange flavours. Boese suggested using citrus zest or orange liqueur in the creamy Jäger Flip, to further accentuate the complex range of botanicals in the spirit.
In the dimly lit Kantine Kohlmann, Jägermeister also took on classic cocktails. The Jäger Old Fashioned, Negroni and Espresso Martini were all created – exploring the spirit's botanicals, including star anise, cinnamon, ginger and fennel.
Back to Britain
The Xchange next saw Robertson host Künster in Lincoln at The Strait and Narrow. Showcasing his Jürgen Klinsmann serve (fresh kiwi, Mozart Dark Chocolate liqueur, fresh lime, egg whites and Jägermeister), Künster worked beside Robertson, creating and serving a range of Jägermeister cocktails. These included the Lothar Matthäus – a blend of Jägermeister, Campari and coffee-infused sweet vermouth.
'Andreas made sure there was something for everyone – helped by Jägermeister's adaptable nature, which is why I love using it in cocktails,' says Robertson. 'That's actually what made me enter the competition and got me excited about the Hubertus Circle. To be a good bartender you need to be able to adapt to your surroundings and deal with any situation, whilst also working to the best of your abilities and having a good time. Jägermeister, as an ingredient, does exactly that.'
'My Lothar Matthäus was a crowd-pleaser,' adds Künster. 'It's a nice pick-me-up drink and I also changed the original ratio of ingredients to make it more mellow.'
'There’s a big difference between Berlin and UK cocktail culture, but both have a strong focus on the practical elements of making a cocktail,' reveals Künster. 'For me the UK is always very inspiring – even though I look at it with a critical eye.'
Popular Jägermeister serves in Berlin include the Root56, with ginger beer, cucumber and lime, and the Jäger Sour – a take on the classic serve using the versatile herbal spirit. Robertson has noticed this experimentation becoming more popular in the UK: 'There has been a shift in drinking culture around here,' he says. 'People are more open to trying new things, hopefully including my Jäger Flip.'
Berlin cocktail culture may be playing catch-up, but it is evident that both bartenders and bar-goers in the city have a greater understanding of the complexity of Jägermeister. This willingness to experiment, without preconceptions, is the backbone to enjoying true cocktail culture.
Craig Robertson, The Strait and Narrow
Garnish: Coffee beans
Method: Dry shake ingredients,
double strain and pour into
a chilled cocktail glass.
50ml strong stout/dark beer
50ml fresh espresso
1.25ml caramel syrup
1 whole egg
Pinch of salt
Garnish: Bitters and nutmeg
Method: Shake ingredients and
fine strain, pour over ice.
20ml Mozart Dark Chocolate liqueur
20ml fresh squeezed lime juice
4-5 pieces fresh kiwi (muddled)
1 fresh egg white
1 dash sugar syrup