When it comes to alcohol the most I ever think about it is, “What are we drinking? And has it gotten me drunk yet?” I thought I would change that for today. As I stared at the bottle of Jagermeister chilling in my freezer I started to say its name, as if it were singing Destiny’s Child to me, and I started to wonder what the hell the name actually meant. So I decided to look into it, and thought I would look up the name origins of some of the other liquors I consume. Now I will share this information with you, and save you some grunt work on looking up things you probably never would, because basically you have better things to do.

Jagermeister

The official shot of Cru Jones Society. Jagermeister is German, smooth, and the perfect start to all good nights. This black liquid can always be found in our freezer, as well as freezers throughout college towns everywhere. Drink it alone or dropped in Red Bull, but never mixed with a plethora of other liquors and passed off as a gin and tonic.

Where We Think the Name Comes From

“Meister” we associate with surfer lingo as another word for dude; or a suffix Rob Schnieder’s “Making Copies Guy” would add to someone’s name. Jager we assumed was a last name, after all most hooch is named after some guy. Maybe Klaus Von Jager was the creator of this stuff. The Klaus Von Jager-meister, makin’ alcohol. Bam there’s the name.

How Far Off Are We?

Considering we used surfer lingo when Jager is from a land locked country, and an SNL sketch that came some 60 years after the creation of the liquor in our name idea, we are as wrong as a shot of warm Jager. Jagermeister literally translates to “hunt master.” This comes from the Reichsjagdgesetz, or Reich hunting law. Wow, keeping a name associated with the Third Reich, not a lot of companies that can do that and be successful.

Random Fun Fact

Jagermeister is made with elk blood. This may not be so much a “fact” as completely made up. But it is a fun urban legend and could be true. Also I’m sure there are plenty of people who will buy it and pass it along while intoxicated, and that could be fun.

Belvedere

It’s hard to screw up vodka, but it’s even harder to make it so good it can be consumed without a mixer. Belvedere has accomplished the feat better than any vodka has, at least by CJS standards.

Where We Think the Name Comes From

Classy vodka such as this can only be named for a man of such eloquence. Enter Pittsburgh area house keeper Mr. Belvedere. Yeah we’re pretty sure the same man who in one episode, which we watched in 5th grade sex ed. class, helped us to understand AIDS is the name sake for a Polish vodka. Why wouldn’t you name your booze after Brocktoon? The man who rides alone deserves at least that kind of recognition.

How Far Off Are We?

Despite being age appropriate for the Mr. Belvedere idea, we are far off in our idea. The Polish apparently do not share the same affliction for Mr. Belvedere that we, Tom Hanks, Chris Farley or Victoria Jackson do. Belvedere vodka is named for the presidential palace of Poland. Not nearly as awesome as our idea, but I guess it’s what we should expect from Poland.

Random Fun Fact

Belvedere is distilled four times, as opposed to the usual three times vodka goes through. Thus making it smoother than most other vodkas. Imagine how good it would be if they distilled it five times. Actually I don’t know if it works that way or if too many distillations would screw things up.

Kahlua

Not something we normally drink here at the CJS offices, but a name that seems interesting and worth looking into. I really don’t have anything else to say here about Kahlua, a little too coffee based for my liking.

Where We Think the Name Comes From

Kahlua has a very Hawaiian or Central American vibe, in that aspect we would guess it has something to do with their ancient religions or culture. Maybe it was some kind of monkey deity. That was borderline racist wasn’t it? Let’s move away from that then. Perhaps it is a surfing term. This one is a boggling name.

How Far Off Are We?

Kahlua comes from Mexico, almost Central America, so we were close in that thinking. The name comes from the Veracruz Nahuatl language, a language that existed before the Spanish Conquest. It translates to, “House of the Acolhua people.” Which from what I can tell is either some kind of fortress or the American equivalent of naming something teepee or wigwam.

Random Fun Fact

Although it seems like a relatively new drink, it was first introduced in 1936. Yeah I don’t have any fun facts for this stuff. Just enjoy your White Russian and move on.

Absolut

Sweden is known for its awesome music scene (ABBA, Ace of Base, and Milencolin), hockey players (Peter Forsberg), CJS writers (Dagger), and vodka. Our favorite from this Scandinavian country is Absolut, based mostly on taste and partially on the print ads it used to run. You know the ones; they had the shape of the bottle in something with the caption of “Absolut _______” with the blank relating to whatever the picture was. Basic, but awesome.

Where We Think the Name Comes From

This is the absolute best vodka. You don’t need any other because this stuff is absolute. It is absolutely the best vodka you can find. Phrases like these are why we believe they chose the name Absolut. The misspelling is the result of two different things. One being you can’t just trademark a word that already exists and the other is it’s Sweden’s goofy quasi-English language.

How Far Off Are We?

Damn near right on. The original name was Absolut Rent Brannvin, with those two little Motley Cru dots over the “a” in Brannvin. This name translates to Absolutely Pure Vodka. The absolute part was used to imply a much improved product. Thanks to our ability to recognize cognates and things that are obvious we were able to get one right.

Random Fun Fact

Absolut was one of the first alcohol companies to publicly support the gay community. Since 1981 they have sponsored major gay events, including being an official corporate sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards for many years.

Beefeater

Not our first choice when making gin rickeys or gin and tonics, but Tanqueray is boring as it is named after some dude. And honestly we don’t drink enough gin to really notice a difference between them.

Where We Think the Name Comes From

Gin is a very manly drink, or at least it seems that way. What else is manly? Red meat, so why not name a manly drink after a manly consumption of red meat? Makes sense to us. But the British guard on the bottle throws curve in the thinking. What does that dude have to do with eating beef? And British dudes aren’t manly. Now we’re stumped.

How Far Off Are We?

How much have we been drinking because we’re not close at all with our manly logic. Beefeater is a term applied to the guards of Tower of London. Specifically the Yeoman Warders, the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London. Not those dudes with the tall Marge Simpson hair style hats who aren’t supposed to move. I think those are real guards. A Beefeater in theory, is responsible to look over prisoners and the Crown Jewels, but are mostly just tour guides now.

Random Fun Fact

The bottle depicts a Yeoman of the Guard rather than a Yeoman Warder. The Yeoman Warder is the Beefeater, the Yeoman of the Guard is not. The Warder is more like a prison warden while the Yeoman of the Guard are more like royal bodyguards, or the Secret Service. Minor detail but you can use it to be the obnoxious minor detail guy and lose friends.

So those are the name origins of a few of the many alcoholic beverages out there. Again if I missed your favorite I apologize, and most likely it was named for the guy who created it. But if you really want to know, do your own research. As for me, I have a bottle calling my name I need to get to.

See ya at the end of the bar …

lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com

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