For as long as I’ve been a drinker, there have always been a few go-to shots that you can count on any bar anywhere having and pretty much everyone enjoying. At the top of that list: Jagermeister. It is, and has been for some time, King of All Shots*. It’s easy, you don’t have to remember some silly name or remember what’s in it if the bartender doesn’t know it, or worst of all, take a chance on whatever the house special is (”The shot special is ‘The Promiscuous Penguin’? Uhmm…”). Jager is always a sure bet. Jager is easy, simple, and a no brainer. How could it possibly be beat? Enter ZWACK.
Zwack is a Hungarian liqueur dating back to 1790 containing a blend of over 40 herbs and spices**. In many ways, it’s a lot like Jager in that it’s very herbal, has a deep history with European roots, and the recommended way to drink it is a chilled shot. Easy-peasy. The sample I was sent contained two shot glasses, so it’s clear that Zwack is gunnin’ for that number one spot.
So how does it taste? Is it better? Will it make me famous and help me to lose 50lbs in 3 hours!?! IS IT FULL OF WIN!!?!?! Well…yeah, I think so! Zwack is definitely less “medicinal” tasting than Jager, with a little more sweetness to it as well as a stronger citrus component. I like it, and frankly Zwack meets Jager on its home turf and comes out ahead in the end. I think the only thing that’s keeping it from being a big hit is availability and name recognition. Though I will say, I went out for a friend’s birthday at my local dive of a bar (whose big drink special is normally $6 pitchers of Busch and $2 wells) and was shocked when the bartender pulled out a chilled bottle of Zwack and offered shots to our group. He knew it, liked it, and was confident enough in the product to pitch it to our group as a shot we should buy for the birthday girl. We did! That’s saying a lot, being in the little local dive of a bar (outside Big City Limits) that I was in. Make no mistake, Zwack is on the move.
So if you’re out, give it a shot (LITERALLY, HAR HAR) or go pick up a cute little round bottle of your own. There’s no way anyone who drinks Jager won’t like it, and you might win a few non-Jager-drinking converts in the process.
*Tequila pulls a close second, but really that’s a whole category of drank
**Like REALLY GOOD fried chicken. Or not. At all.