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Pickleback Shot

Any whiskey aficionado has likely encountered the legendary Pickleback Shot. This ingenious concoction, mixing the strong flavor of whiskey with the unexpected twist of pickle juice, has carved its niche in the vibrant landscape of bar culture worldwide. The pickle juice’s tangy, briny notes artfully complement the whiskey’s smoothness, crafting a taste sensation that tantalizes the palate.

Pickleback cocktail made from cucumber pickle and whiskey in small shot glasses

The pickle juice’s acidity not only adds a zesty kick but also acts as a soothing balm, calming your stomach after a night of revelry. Nothing cuts the taste of whiskey quite like pickle juice.

History

The Pickleback Shot is a popular drink consisting of a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle brine. As legend has it, the name was coined in March 2006 by Reggie Cunningham, a former bartender at the Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, New York.

Four shots of whiskey alcohol on the bar

Cunningham was working at the bar when a woman asked for pickle juice to chase her whiskey shot. The combination of the two was an instant hit, and the pickleback shot was born.

Since then, the pickleback shot has become a popular drink in bars across the United States and beyond, with variations popping up in cities like London and the East Village in New York.

Today, the original pickleback shot is still served at the Bushwick Country Club, which is now owned by John Roberts. Roberts confirms that Cunningham was the inventor of the shot and that it has become a staple at the bar.

How to Make It

Making a pickleback shot is incredibly easy and can be done with just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. Here’s how you can make your own pickleback shot at home:

Pickleback cocktail made from cucumber pickle and whiskey in small shot glasses

Pickleback Shot

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Making a pickleback shot is incredibly easy and can be done with just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

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Here's how you can make your own pickleback shot at home:

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz whiskey
  • 1 ½ oz pickle brine

Instructions

  1. Set two shot glasses on the bar or counter. 
  2. Fill one with whiskey and the other with pickle juice or brine.
  3. Garnish (optional). For a little extra flair, you can garnish your pickleback shot with a slice of pickle or a wedge of lime. This is totally optional, but it can add a little extra flavor and visual appeal to your shot.
  4. Shoot and chase. To take your pickleback shot, start by shooting the shot of whiskey. Then, immediately chase it with the shot of pickle juice or brine. The combination of flavors is what makes the pickleback shot so unique and delicious.

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Variations

If you’re looking to switch up your pickleback game, there are plenty of variations to try. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Spicy Pickleback

Add a kick to your shot by using spicy pickle juice or adding hot sauce to the mix.

Mexican Pickleback

Swap out the whiskey for tequila or mezcal and chase it with pickle juice for a south-of-the-border twist.

Pickleback Martini

Mix vodka, pickle juice, and a splash of dry vermouth for a savory martini with a pickle twist.

Pickleback Bloody Mary

Use pickle juice instead of Worcestershire sauce in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe for a tangy, briny twist.

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Pickleback Margarita

Combine tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and pickle juice for a unique margarita that’s sure to impress.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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