The term Jägermeister was introduced in Germany in 1934 in the new Reichsjagdgesetz (Imperial Hunting Laws). The term was applied to senior foresters and gamekeepers in the German civil service, while the topmost gamekeeper was Reichsjägermeister Hermann Göring. Thus, when the liquor was introduced in 1935, the name was already familiar to Germans and was occasionally called "Göring-Schnapps". Further conjunctions to the Nazi Regime, including the circumstances of naming the liquor are obscure, while Günter Mast, a nephew of Curt Mast, stated, his uncle was no convinced Nazi, but came to terms with the Regime, just like he did later with the British occupying forces, though this might be questionable for some people. Nowadays Jägermeister, or derived Meisterjäger, is known to be a code among the German extremist right.
Curt Mast, the original distiller of Jägermeister, was an enthusiastic hunter. Translated literally, Jägermeister means "hunt-master", combining Jäger (hunter) and Meister (master, in the sense of an accomplished professional). A possible free translation might be gamekeeper.
Jägermeister was originally developed as a digestif and as a cough remedy. In Germany, it may be humorously referred to as Leberkleister (“liver glue”). The humor plays upon the fact that Leberkleister rhymes with Jägermeister. A satirical advertisement which mocks Jägermeister as Leberkleister appeared on the back cover of issue number 70 of the German edition of Mad magazine in February, 1975, under the rubric “Advertisements we’d like to see.”
The Jägermeister logo, which shows the head of a reindeer with a glowing Christian cross between its antlers, is a reference to the stories of Saint Hubertus and Saint Eustace, patron saints of hunters.
Jägermeister is a type of liqueur called Kräuterlikör (herbal liqueur). It is similar to other central European liqueurs, such as Gammel Dansk from Denmark, Unicum from Hungary, Becherovka from the Czech Republic, Demanovka from the Slovakia and Pelinkovac from Croatia. In contrast to those beverages, Jägermeister has a sweeter taste.
Jägermeister’s ingredients include 56 herbs, fruits, roots and spices including citrus peel, licorice, anise, poppy seeds, saffron, ginger, juniper berries and ginseng. These ingredients are ground, then steeped in water and alcohol for 2–3 days. Afterwards, this mixture is filtered and stored in oak barrels for about a year. When a year has passed, the liqueur is filtered again, then mixed with sugar, caramel, alcohol and water. It is filtered one last time and then bottled.