Ever sat down after a long day and craved a nice glass of honey? Neither had I, emphasis on the had. I sat down a couple nights back to write this review and ended up simply sipping the Bärenjäger and vegging. And you know what? I’d do it again. You see, until you’ve sipped Bärenjäger, you assume it’s simply going to be a sweet, honey flavored liqueur. Not so, well, not entirely so, at least. Bärenjäger is, most definitely a sweet, honey flavored liqueur. But it’s more than that. Tasting it makes me think it literally is honey with some alcohol added.
Seems rather one-dimensional just hearing about it. It goes deeper than that though, to use a lame pun. Honey has a natural complexity to it. The unique flavors from the flowers and the more complex sugar flavor. You see, honey is a mix of molecules of fructose and glucose giving it a different flavor than table sugar which is purely sucrose. For you sugar geeks out there, this is old news. For the rest of us, a quick primer. Sucrose is a disaccharide comprised of both glucose and fructose bonded as a single molecule of sucrose. Seems like a sugar is a sugar, but not quite. Here’s one of the interesting bits. Glucose is less sweet than sucrose on it’s own, but, fructose is far sweeter, nearly doubly so. So, where am I getting with all of this? Simply put, the sweetness of honey is different than the sweetness of table sugar and you definitely pick it up sipping on Bärenjäger.
The color is that of thinned honey. Funny, that. The mouth feel is pretty incredible. Barenjager is viscous, close to the texture of pancake syrup. The flavor highlights the honey with spice notes filling in the background. The sweetness masks the 70 proof punch exceedingly well. So, how does it mix? Wonderfully. Here is my take on the Bäron von Bourbon from the Bärenjäger site.
Bäron von Bourbon (Cocktail Hacker)
1 1/2 oz Bourbon 1 oz Bärenjäger 1 oz Lemon Juice 1 Dash Aromatic Bitters
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice 2) Shake until well chilled 3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Bourbon and honey are a classic pairing and the lemon adds a crisp sour note. I added a single dash of bitters to bump up the herbal complexity. You don’t want as much as you’d use in a typical whiskey sour as you want the Bärenjäger to be able to shine. If the drink is a too sweet for you as noted, try adding a bit more bourbon.
Check back later in the week for another tasty Bärenjäger recipe.
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.