Charlie and I tried some Bärenjäger for Episode 35 of The Charlie Tonic Hour. We didn’t have a recipe to make with it, and the impromptu Bärenjäger/Tequila shooter I created was swiftly vetoed (called the Honey Fire by Charlie), so I thought I would be without a drinks recipe for the week. But that was before I learned that in Germany it is fairly common to make your own Bärenjäger.
As I mentioned on the show, Bärenjäger translates as Bear Hunter and it was originally made during the 15th century to be used as bait for a bear trap. In fact Bärenfang is the more generic name for this honey liqueur and means Bear Bait. Although it is not commonly made at home in English speaking countries, I did find a few sites that were able to give me a good sounding recipe. This blog post gives you a good overview of the history and cultural implications but their German recipe didn’t sound like something that would be as easy to make with household ingredients. A more accessible recipe was found on several websites so I am including it here. I do have to warn you though, that this is the first recipe that I’ve posted without making first. But if an intrepid reader out there wants to make up a batch of their very own Bear Bait, Charlie and I will gladly invite you on the show so we can try it and compare live. For any of you feeling up to the challenge here is the recipe.
8 whole cloves
1 whole vanilla bean
1 liter vodka
350 grams high quality honey
-First, rough chop the cloves and split the vanilla bean lengthwise before adding them to the container and filling it with the vodka.
-Let this mixture sit for at least 24 hours before straining the vanilla bean and the cloves from the vodka.
-Once the vodka is clear of any remaining pieces, stir vigorously, pouring the honey in a thin stream. Do not stop until the honey and the vodka are completely blended together. Although the recipe did not say to do it, I would recommend heating the honey slightly before you mix it with the vodka.
-Store the finished Bärenjäger honey liqueur in a cool, dark area and enjoy!