Digestion is a funny old caper. Take steak for example, here is a substance that sits in your guts for three days – now that’s some stubborn meat, Rustlers take note. Meanwhile, this morning the Thinking Drinkers had pastry and bread for breakfast followed by a very bready lunch. It was a carb nightmare. Could be some issues later.
And how about this for some digestion detail: there’s a passage at the end of your oesophagus that prevents a backflow of acid from your stomach. A useful addition to the body, but it struggles to keep the acid back if you hammer it with spicy foods, coffee and even chocolate. Which explains why you get some weird burps if you eat too much. True story.
Back in the day, like right back in olden times and stuff, people ate shed loads of food. The rich ones did at least. Look at their pictures, they’re right fatsos. They liked to hunt animals, particularly deer, and would eat the entire thing, they’d even scoff the innards, the lungs, guts, heart, and they called this the ‘umble’. These were the poor cuts though, so they invariably passed them on to the help, who apparently put them in a pie and some believe this is where ‘humble pie’ comes from – one for the fact fans.
To help settle any stomach-ache back then these greedy guts would drink medicinal tonics. These were alcoholic beverages containing all manner of herbs, spices, roots and fruits and were believed to be bless your belly, halt any heartburn and even wave goodbye to wind.
Such recipes later gave rise to Jägermeister, now a bit of a cult classic in the bars. Now we can’t tell you that Jäger is a remedy for digestion, of course we can’t, it’s no Gaviscon, for sure. But the aim of the liqueur when it first made it out of a German distillery in 1934 was to help in these after meal moments. To that end, creator Kurt Mast blended 56 botanicals in his alcoholic concoction which he also thought might cure a cough. These days Jägermeister is rested in oak barrels for a year which helps smooth off any rough edges and with an abv at 35%, it’s a complex creation, complete with flavours like liquorice, ginger, juniper and citrus fruit.
It’s a misunderstood drink and one you should sip. Our best experiences of the liquid came in lovely Leeds courtesy of the many wonderful bar staff in the city who often enjoy it chilled in a glass with punters.
There were opportunities to make jokes about deer hunters here, talk about the Jagerettes, or indeed pay more of a tribute to Christopher Walken, who is part German. We’ve held back on such matters, but rest assured we’ll cover them in our show at the Edinburgh Fringe this year when the audience gets to have a taste of this spirit. If you have a bottle in the mean time, serve it super chilled for best effects, or in a Jazz Negroni, a cocktail creation from the late but great bartender Gregor de Gruyther.
2 dashes orange bitters
stir with ice and strain into the glass over ice. Garnish with an orange slice.
Buy it here
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