Spirits companies have been hard at work trying to come up with their own proprietary herbal blends to counter the long time dominance of Jägermeister. In 2008, Hungarian liqueur Zwack was released to the U.S. market. Now, it’s HARLEM’s turn to try to win over the ice-cold-shot loving hordes.
HARLEM hails from the Netherlands and is from the folks behind Ketel One Vodka. The drink is meant to be served ice cold and it’s brimming with kruiden. No, the distillers didn’t invent a new herb to perfect their recipe. Kruiden is the Dutch word for the herbs that give this liqueur its signature flavor. The secret blend imparts a bold but smooth result. HARLEM is great for shooting, but it’s also remarkably good for sipping.
When you first spot the sleek bottle, you might think that HARLEM is named after the historic New York City neighborhood of the same name. It’s actually named after a town outside of Amsterdam called Haarlem. When the Dutch settled in Upper Manhattan in 1658, they named the area after their native city. Isn’t it great when you get a history lesson with your round of shots?
Will HARLEM be able to cut into Jägermeister’s market share? It’s possible that it will appeal to shot drinkers who are put off by Jäger’s signature flavor, but only time will tell. Time, and a lot of ice-cold shots.
James Mulcahy writes about spirits and New York nightlife at NYBarfly.com.