12 Best Drinks To Mix With Jägermeister, Ranked

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Jägermeister was the brainchild of a young German man, Curt Mast, for whom both deer hunting and distilling spirits held great fascination (via Jägermeister). In the early 1930s, Mast began combining various botanicals to come up with what he hoped would be a marketable after-dinner digestif that he could also enjoy with his hunting buddies. By 1934, Mast had "narrowed" it down to a mixture of 56 herbs, spices, peels, roots, and barks, which he steeped in a mixture of alcohol and water before filtering into oak barrels for aging and then filtering once again and adding sugar, caramel coloring, and still more alcohol, per Snopes

Calling it "Jägermeister," which is German for "master hunter," Mast successfully brought his creation to the German beverage market in its sturdy and now highly iconic square-edged green glass bottles. Featuring assertive notes of star anise, licorice root, cloves, and bitter orange, among others (via WebMD), Jägermeister impressed as a digestion-enhancing post-meal quaff. Nevertheless, when it reached the U.S. in the early '80s, it was embraced primarily by college kids who were drawn to how well it went down as an affordable icy cold shot, per Thrillist.

Of course, with its wide array of botanicals just begging to be drawn out by just the right mixer, it seems Jägermeister was always destined to attract the attention of sophisticated mixologists. With that in mind, here are the 12 best drinks to mix with this dark and mysterious spirit.

12. Red Bull

Red Bull is one of the most well-known and popular drinks you can mix with Jägermeister. It's also one of the best. In fact, from purely a taste perspective, the energy drink's sweet, fruity, fizziness pairs remarkably well with Jägermeister's more-bitter-than-sweet black-licorice-reminiscent dark and potent syrup. Further, many people put these two together, not just because they set one another off so well in terms of flavor, but also because they like how Red Bull's burst of caffeine counteracts the depressant effect of the relatively high alcohol content (35% ABV) in Jägermeister, according to a 2017 study published in Addiction Biology.

In the interest of full disclosure, however, we should also point out that the aforementioned study found that combining Red Bull with any alcohol ends up increasing the total amount of alcohol consumed (not by volume, but by unit of alcohol). That makes sense since the stimulating effects of Red Bull can't actually eliminate alcohol from the blood. In other words, if you're invested in keeping track of how many drinks you've had, as opposed to how alert you may or may not feel, then you're probably best moving along to one of these other drinks that go at least equally as well with Jägermeister as Red Bull does.  

11. Beer

Jägermeister's initial success in the U.S. all came down to the spirit being embraced as a sociable drink. And while frat parties and pub-crawls are not necessarily what Jägermeister's inventor, Curt Mast, may have envisioned when he pictured his creation making its way around the globe, the fact is that the social aspect of the quaff was important to Mast, according to the company's website. In fact, having just the right drink to toast with his buddies during a deer hunting expedition was at least half the battle as far as Mast was concerned when he set out to develop his digestif. 

But for those looking to raise that celebration up a notch, why not give Jäger a sudsy companion? Per the company, the Deer & Beer consists of a shot of Jägermeister paired with 11 ounces of beer (ideally something on the lighter side like an IPA or lager). When it comes down it, beer is the perfect pal for Jägermeister, and by that we mean one that may or may not have questionable taste (depending on your preferences and your beer selection), and doesn't necessarily offer you the best time of your life, but is, nevertheless, very available, highly reliable, and very into chilling.

10. Milk

Kids from the 1970s might remember Laverne DiFazio's love of milk and Pepsi on the sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" (although any cola would do; the point was always supposed to be ... wait, milk?!). As it turns out milk and cola isn't half bad, according to Reddit. In fact, it tastes a bit like a Coke float, just not as sweet. But if you're finding yourself feeling a bit skeptical about the prospect of mixing plain dairy with Jägermeister, we feel you. It's only natural, after all. Milk's taste is pretty limited — there are subtle hints of sweet and sour, but the beverage is generally bland. 

Jägermeister, on the other hand, tastes boldly, no, audaciously of bitter, sweet, and acid. Milk coolly coats the throat and the stomach, whereas Jägermeister feels like it might burn its own hole. Milk is what kids eat with cookies. Jägermeister is just so beyond that life stage. But how are these actually good reasons to forsake what turns out to be a logical, smooth, and unexpectedly comforting combination? 

That being said, we wouldn't dream of suggesting you should venture into the milk and Jäger realm without first trying it out as what the Tipsy Bartender calls the Jahlua Bomb, which is basically chocolate milk and Jäger (1 ounce of Jäger to 4 ounces of milk flavored with a spoonful of drinking chocolate). 

9. Orange juice

To be fair, virtually all fruit juices that we can think of can be said to share a fairly amicable relationship to Jägermeister (via wikiHow). But if it's a ranking you're looking for, it's a ranking you shall receive, and the first fruit juice that we recommend to mix with Jägermeister (you'll find a couple of even better suggestions below) is good ole orange — the fresher the better. 

As noted by Sonja and Alex Overhiser, the husband and wife duo behind A Couple Cooks, the combination of Jägermeister with orange juice makes perfect sense. The orange peel that, per the company, is among Jägermeister's 56 botanical ingredients, gets a bright, sweet, and tangy boost from actual orange juice. If you didn't realize before that mixing orange juice with Jäger might make you forget all about boring old, been there, done that vodka screwdrivers, well, now you do.

8. Apple cider

Initially, this was going to be a tie between apple cider and apple juice. Like we said above, fruit juices go extraordinarily well with Jägermeister, which makes sense when you consider that a fair number of Jägermeister's 56 ingredients include the essential oils from a number of fruits, their skin, their peel, and their plant bark. Plus, when you consider that so many fruit juice blends contain apple juice as one of their ingredients, it just seems like a logical accompaniment to Jäger's secret fruit flavors in general.

Mixing apple juice with Jägermeister (which you can do by pouring 1.5 ounces of Jägermeister into a glass with ice and filling the rest up with juice), sweetens and lightens the darkly bittersweet spirit considerably (via Maine Spirits). However, mixing apple cider with Jägermeister does the same thing while also imparting more body and also lending nuance and depth (understanding precisely why requires an understanding of the real difference between apple cider and apple juice). The Tipsy Bartender recommends a ratio of 1.5 ounces of Jäger to 4 ounces of apple cider, and calls the resulting cocktail a Darth Jager for reasons left mysterious. Difford's Guide concurs on the moniker, but recommends 1.5 ounces of Jäger to 3 ounces of apple cider.

7. Cola

The Cuba libre, a cocktail consisting of rum, cola, and a squeeze of lime, is a card carrying member of the 20 cocktails you should be drinking if you like rum. But as fresh, fizzy, and satisfying the classic combo might be, it no longer makes quite the statement it made back when it was first introduced at the turn of the 20th century (via Liquor.com), soon after the Cuban war for independence ("Cuba libre" translates to "Free Cuba"). For a more contemporary cola and spirit pairing, we would like to introduce the Cuba libre (and, of course, its American peer, the Jack and Coke) to their German cousin, the more adventurous Jäg and Coke.

Maine Spirits, which calls this combination by the slightly more generic Jäger & Cola recommends starting with 2 ounces of Jägermeister and then filling the glass with ice and cola. The sweetness of the cola plays well off the bittersweet hint of licorice of the Jäger. Garnish with lime, or maybe not, since limes are not native to Jägermeister's native Germany, as they are to Cuba and the American South (via Gardenine).

6. Coffee

Irish coffee, which, at its essence is coffee spiked with Irish whiskey, has inspired people all over the world to pour a shot of their locally-produced booze into a glass and fill the rest up with coffee (and maybe a dollop of whipped cream, but as you can probably guess, we don't regard the whipped cream as nearly as essential as the coffee and the booze). And that now includes people in Germany who have already realized how very right it is to spike coffee with Jägermeister. 

It's such a perfect combination that it might have been ranked slightly higher but for the fact that Jägermeister is meant, first and foremost, to be served very cold. Per the company, the spirit should be chilled -18 C (or -.4 F) to experience its optimal flavor. Nonetheless, the company also recommends mixing hot coffee with Jäger, calling it the Jägermeister Kaffee.

"People have been drinking sambuca and coffee for quite some time," points out Louie Estrada, a restaurateur, chef, and bartender in New York (via Thrillist), so why not Jägermeister? Not for nothing Jägermeister actually developed its own pre-bottled cocktail of cold brew coffee plus Jägermeister!

5. Tea

Our unofficial rule of thumb vis a vis coffee versus tea is that both get a thumbs up, and, further, it's a safe bet that whatever you think tastes good in your coffee is also going to taste good to you in tea. Just think: milk, sugar, and sweet syrups with subtle flavors like vanilla and mint, for example. And then there is, of course, Jägermeister. Not for nothing, The Gentleman's Journal named Jägermeister's recipe for tea and Jäger its cocktail of the week.

That cocktail, known as Hunter's Tea, consists, essentially, of equal parts steeped and sweetened black tea and Jägermeister, garnished with a twist of orange. "With notes of ginger, star anise, orange peel, cardamom and cinnamon," the outlet noted, Jägermeister's herbal taste blends surprisingly well with tea." We concur, and the pairing works especially well with that extra hit of citrus added to the mix.  

4. Lemonade

Lemon, lemon peel, lemon zest, and lemon tree bark may or may not be among Jägermeister's secret 56 botanical ingredients. But we do know that the tart citrus pairs extraordinarily well with the spirit, bringing out some of the juiciest, fruitiest, zestiest notes in the dark and bittersweet elixir. To mix up one of the loveliest lemonade and Jägers you'll ever taste, simply drizzle a scant ounce of Jäger over a tall glass of lemonade. Then mix, or not, depending on how you feel about the aesthetics of a deconstructed drink. 

And for an extra-added bonus, since coffee also goes wonderfully well with Jäger, you can try a Cold Brew Lemonade, which combines Jägermeister's own bottled Jäger-spiked cold brew coffee with lemonade. For those making lemonade from scratch (which we recommend), take one part lemon juice sweetened with simple syrup, and mix that with three parts water.

3. Ginger ale

Torn as we were between apple juice and apple cider (as discussed above), we were even more divided when it came time to choose between ginger ale and ginger beer to include on this ranking. On the one hand, ginger beer plus a squeeze of lime makes for a brilliant German take on the Moscow Mule (per Tipsy Bartender). However, sometimes, a mule is just a little labor intensive, especially when we'd be just as happy with an icy cold glass of regular ole ginger ale spiked with an ounce or so of Jäger. 

It's not like there's such an enormous  difference between ginger beer and ginger ale, or, more specifically, the way they pair with Jäger, respectively. Both leverage sweet warm ginger flavor on Jäger's bittersweet assortment of herbs, roots, and other botanicals. But ginger beer is stronger and spicier and seems to cry out more for that lime's acidity as a foil. By contrast, ginger ale delivers a milder, more subtle ginger flavor but still stands up well to Jäger even if you don't happen to have any fresh limes laying around your kitchen. Plus, ginger ale is also a bit more sparkly (i.e. carbonated). But what ultimately swayed us in our ranking is ginger ale's ready availability at just about any grocery store. 

2. Cranberry juice

Some people are strictly about the clear spirits — vodka, gin, tequila blanco, for example. But if you've gotten this far in our ranking of the best drinks to mix with Jägermeister, we think it's a safe bet to assume you're someone who's a little more open to the more vibrantly hued spirits including deep, molasses-hued Jägermeister. As discussed above, its is well-suited for mixing with all manner of fruit juices, including apple, orange, and lemon. But we particularly appreciate the dark, tart zing — both visually and as a matter of taste — that cranberry juice delivers.

We'll even admit that we've tried making ourselves a cocktail of grape juice and Jäger, and though it's certainly a workable pairing, it lacks the essential tartness that cranberry brings to the table. And then there is the color. Even at its deepest purple, grape juice just isn't quite a perfect as the luxe red of cranberry. Take it from the culinary blogger Big Bear's Wife, who raves about the combination of Jägermeister and cranberry cider.

1. Club soda

Whether you call it club soda, soda water, or seltzer, effervescent water lends a fizzy ebullience to Jägermeister's dark, syrupy vibe while ever-so-slightly cutting its assertive licorice bite. That, in turn, brings out many of the subtle nuances of the spirit.  

Bubbly water is truly the ultimate base for Jägermeister, well, provided you enjoy the taste of the digestif. But if you've never tasted Jägermeister, mixing it with club soda and ice is a great way to explore all that it has to offer. Clean and fresh, and ideally icy cold, club soda quietly asserts itself while also allowing you to experience Jägermeister's deeply nuanced flavors with almost no interference. But if you insist on a sweeter drink (and there's nothing wrong with that), try a drizzle of raspberry syrup, as Thirsty recommends. To make what it calls a Jäger Raspberry, pour 1.5 ounces of Jägermeister into a tall glass with ice, then fill with soda water and top with raspberry syrup a generous squeeze of lemon, and garnish with a lemon wedge.