The Pickleback

Whisky lovers have been chasing whisky with pickle brine for ages, and nobody really knows where or how it started. One thing is for certain though-- that the name Pickleback wasn’t coined until 2006. A Brooklyn bartender, Reggie Cunningham, was the one who came up with the name. As he tells the story, it was in the year of the Lord 2006 that he was approached at the Bushwick Country Club by a gold-toothed woman. It was in a “filthy redneck voice” that the woman made the bartender down a series of whisky shots followed by brine. Reggie Cunningham fell in love with this combination and named it the Pickleback, as the pickle brine follows the shot of whisky.

Old Crow was originally served as the whisky in the Pickleback cocktail, but tastes are changing with the times. Jameson is now the tipple of choice, and is outpacing the Old crow. Since its inception in Brooklyn, the Pickleback has spread throughout the US, travelled across the Atlantic, and even become a popular cocktail in European countries. All you need to do is try this cocktail yourself, to truly appreciate the symbiotic relationship of good whisky and brine.

The Process

Slice the cucumbers and onions thickly and salt them. Leave them to rest for six hours and salt them. Then proceed to press them under a heavy weight to get all the liquid out and make them crunchy. Put all the ingredients for the juice into a large pan and heat to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then add the cucumbers and onions, and boil. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and stir. The pickles will have turned a little bit brown by now. Put your pickles in a jar, and leave them to rest for at least a week. The longer you leave it, the better it will taste.

Once your pickle is ready, start with a shot of good-quality whiskey, Old Crow or Jameson, and chase it immediately with a shot of pickle juice. This just might turn out to be your tipple of choice, and even people who can’t hold whisky will regard this as a godsend.