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Jägermeister and Goldschläger
by Scott Stavrou
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 2.5
WELL-AIMED SHOTS HIT THE MARK

MAN IS, BY NATURE, AN INSTINCTIVE CREATURE, and thirst ranks near the top of innate needs. However, it's how people sate their needs that's the true teller of personality. There are tales of stalwart souls known to sustain life for long periods of time drinking only water, but as society grows more civilized, people like to have more choices. Today there are more ways than ever to slake the great thirst that rages in our soul.

Perhaps it's a result of modern society's computer-age-inspired efficiency and the buzz of "multi-tasking" that more people than ever are opting for shooters. A little something to animate and add action to a night out. They're fast, small and potent -- all-star point guards in a shot glass. And, like a hot point guard in a zone, they have the power to orchestrate -- or even take over -- the floor at will.

Two of the most popular new shooting recruits are Jägermeister and Goldschläger, both hailing from Europe and both most popularly consumed chilled in shot glasses. Here's your scouting report on these hot new shooters from abroad.

Jägermeister

Jägermeister ("hunt master" in German) is a dark reddish-black herbal liqueur that was invented in Germany in 1878. Like many liqueurs, it was originally savored under the guise of its digestive and medicinal properties. Rationalization runs strong in the thirsty human animal. Jäger's well-guarded secret recipe of 56 herbs and spices still strikes many as having a cough-syrup-like medicinal taste, something akin to a bracing, viscous mixture of black licorice, root beer and Vicks Formula 44.

Nonetheless, since it was first imported in 1974, it's attained an almost cult-like popularity, mostly without traditional advertising. The square, dark-green bottle with the green and orange label can be spied on many bar shelves or, more likely, lurking in the cooler. Today it's one of the top three liqueurs in the United States (selling over half a million cases) and is still rapidly increasing in prominence, sales and hangovers produced. The marketing guru behind this highly touted publicity campaign is Sidney Frank, a dignified man in his late seventies who spends upwards of $6 million annually on unique on-site marketing efforts. Most notable of these efforts are winsome black-bodysuit-clad young women wandering bars around the country armed with a powerful arsenal of Jäger paraphernalia and encouraging tastings.

It's particularly popular with younger drinkers. Bars doing the most brisk Jäger business serve it chilled, preferably in frosty cold shot glasses. Many bars use Jäger's own on-tap machine, dispensing colder-than-ice shots that are quickly tossed back by eager patrons. Its secret recipe, unique flavor and non-traditional marketing seem to particularly appeal to younger crowds and big drinkers. Many feel that there's a certain cache to liking Jäger, an "I'm-in-the-know" allure. Even with its medicinal taste, at 70 proof it packs a punch that quickly and easily engenders the desired pick-me-up -- and often more. Because it's consumed so quickly, it's easy for Jäger to catch up with you. And even if it doesn't, if you become an aficionado, you're sure to find it haunting you in the morning.

Goldschläger

From Switzerland, the Alpine land of chi-chi ski resorts, all-natural cough drops and secret bank accounts, comes another of the most popular and trendy shooters: Goldschläger. The Swiss must have too much gold -- perhaps the result of too many new techno-super-rich ensconcing their funds in numbered Swiss accounts -- because they've put it right there in the bottle. This strange, new gold-smuggling system seems to be working, as Goldschläger has found its way into enough eager new vessels to qualify it as [one of the most popular shots in America]. If you haven't yet acquired the fortune necessary to invest in gold bullion, this premium, clear, cinnamon schnapps has abundant flakes of real 24-carat gold leaf floating right in the bottle (and it's much more accessible than a Swiss banker since it's likely found sitting guarded only by your friendly neighborhood bartender).

The red-hot cinnamon taste is definitely easier on the palate than Jäger, and at 107 proof, it's actually stronger. Goldschläger is also most popularly consumed chilled in shot glasses, and there's a definite allure to obtaining your daily dose of precious minerals in an ice-cold shot of schnapps. So if you're looking for something to punctuate an evening and don't want to invest in jewelry, a shot of Gold might be just the thing to round out your evening's investment portfolio.

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