January 4, 2008

Bärenjäger



Have you ever had Bärenjäger? (spelled Baerenjaeger without the umlauts) If so, you know the love. If not, then you are in for a treat because this is some delicious stuff. It's like liquid honey- with a kick. It comes in a bottle with a cap shaped like a beehive. How great is that? But you know me, I need to know where this stuff comes from, and can you believe it? I found recipes to make your own. Apparently it's pretty common in Germany.

It's an old Prussian drink, in fact, according to some information from Germany, it is the national drink of East Prussia. It's based on an ancient drink called Meschkinnes, which was a honey homebrew that farmers made. In Germany today, it appears to be more oftenly called Bärenfang, which means Bear Bait, however I've seen Meschkinnes too. Maybe it's a regional thing, I'm not sure. Bärenjäger, meaning Bear Hunter, is what this drink is called in the States, and actually appears to be a brand name from the Teucke & König Company. It was created, and I couldn't find out when to my dissapointment, by the Teuke & König company back when they were the Teucke & König Bear Trap Company. Honest! As in made bear traps- to catch bears in. Apparently, they dropped the business of making Bear Traps and just kept up the Bear Hunting Juice. I even found a couple of poems- in German- dedicated to Bärenfang but they really didn't translate well. I also found some testimonials, and recipes for mixed drinks using Bärenjäger which seems to be the most readily available brand for purchase in the States. However, what I really wanted to know was how to make my own Bärenfang. Hehe. This is what I found.

This was found on the Ostpreußen.net website and was translated in an erm..interesting way by google translation.

Meschkinnes ist ein ostpreußischer Seelentröster

Zutaten:
250 g Blütenhonig, ½ Liter Wodka, 1 Zimtstange, Schale einer ungespritzten Zitrone

Den Honig in etwas Wodka bei milder Hitze auflösen, dann kalt werden lassen. Den restlichen Wodka, die Zimtstange und die dünn geschälte Zitronenschale dazugeben. Bei Zimmertemperatur etwa eine Woche lang fest verschlossen stehen lassen und dabei täglich gut durchschütteln. Anschließned den Likör in eine Karaffe füllen und verschlossen und dunkel aufheben.

Na dann: Prost!

Meschkinnes is a ostpreußischer Revitalising

Ingredients:
250 g honey, ½ liters of vodka, 1 cinnamon stick, a cup lemon ungespritzten

The honey in a little vodka with mild heat dissolve, then cold. The rest of vodka, cinnamon stick and the thinly peeled lemon peel add. At room temperature for about a week are tightly closed and the daily well to churn. Anschließned the liqueur into a carafe and fill locked and dark repeal.

Well then: Cheers!

Now let me try to translate the translation. What this says to me, is that on low heat, you dissolve the honey in a just a little of the vodka. Then let cool. Add the remaining vodka, cinnamon and lemon peel to a sealed container that you agitate everyday for a week. Then strain off the sediments and decant into a clean bottle, seal it, and store in a dark place.

Another version I found comes from the website of the German Embassy in D.C. Yay for diplomacy! http://www.germany.info/relaunch/culture/life/baerenfang.html

Ingredients:

2 cups honey
1 pint grain alcohol
2 cups plus 4-1/2 teaspoons Moselle wine
Directions:

Carefully heat the honey until it has turned to liquid. Remove from heat. Stir in the alcohol, then add the wine (or water). Fill into bottles and let the liqueur stand for several weeks. The longer it stands, the better the taste.

Mmm. Sounds straightforward enough.

Another version was described to a blogger named
Schneelocke. The ingredients were "rape" honey, "lab" alcohol that was 98% pure, distilled water and nothing else. That alcohol sounds serious, since 35% alcohol is 70 proof! Also, I'm not sure what type of honey that is, but here, you can read for yourself. schnee.livejournal.com/592676.html

One more version found here: rezeptzentrum.com/Recipe.asp?code=273304 is entitled East Prussian Bärenfang and is pretty much the same type of recipe. The differences here are along with the honey and vodka, you add a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean, 4 cloves and 1/2 a lemon peel. This recipe recommends a period of 8-10 days for the infusion, and then decanting.



One interesting way to use the Bärenfang was in a cup of hot tea, or with hot water. Sort of a honey hot toddy, and supposedly good for colds and other winter-time ailments. I'm telling you, that sounds fantastic right now because I've been freezing my butt off for the last two days.

Anyhow, that's about enough on that! I hope you get to enjoy some of this honeylicious liquor sometime soon, and if you've ever swung a stein while singing Ein Prosit then Zicke-zacke, zicke-zacke, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi!

12 comments:

mauricespencer said...

funny, found your blog because my band is named "Bear Hunter." Good info there.

Chris said...

Lol That's excellent! Thanks alot.

Gernot said...

I am young german with east prussian roots.
This stuff is really excelent.
Enjoy it in a cold winter night to feel the magic of the eastern europe.

Chris said...

Thanks Gernot! And you're not kidding about feeling the magic...:)

Mark Stinson said...

I was out in the woods with friends this past weekend. It was cold...with a stiff wind blowing. We had a huge fire, and among the alcoholic beverages on-hand we had a bottle of Baerenjaeger. And it was amazing...

Mark

Chris said...

Mark that sounds so fun! I'm completely jealous.

Petra said...

Homemade barenjager?!?!! That's *awesome*..

Thank you so much for posting!!!!

Chris said...

Thanks! Way to excellent not to share! lol

Anonymous said...

ungespritzt means organically grown

If you go to the markets in Germany then you will see so many different kinds of honey available and they all have their own flavors and purposes. Rapseed oil is a very widely available oil in Germany and it is great to have on salads, etc. as it has a nutty flavor and lots of fatty acids that are great for you...also does not harden up kept in the fridge like olive oil.

anyway, some of the kept bees that help to pollinate fields obviously have a known source of plant that they use to make their honey. I have seen this kind of honey as well as thyme honey or forest honey or wildflower honey at the weekly farmers market, and all these honeys lend a particular flavor or have a medicinal purpose.

corrie

Chrismina said...

Corrie! Thanks for writing! Now I know what ungespritzt means! lol
I use rapeseed oil too- well canola- since they don't market it here as rapeseed oil. I guess they figure the name of the seed is a poor selling agent! lol Sort of like how broccoli rabe is in italian rape and they used to market it as such..but now it's brocolli rabe and rappini only...doesn't translate well :p
thyme honey sounds yummy....

Anonymous said...

I have just made up a batch this afternoon, using lavender honey and German Primasprit. It tasted delicious on the spoon and I like the thought of it as a winter cold remedy!
Thanks
Deborah Hume

Anonymous said...

Rape = Canola. The english speaking world determined that "rape" wasn't as marketable. Go figure. ;)