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A pickleback is a type of shot wherein a shot of whiskey is chased by a shot of pickle brine. The pickle brine works to neutralize both the taste of the whiskey and the burn of the alcohol.[1] The Pickleback is sometimes also called a Piskey.[citation needed]


The origin of the pickleback can be traced to two brothers at Florida State University. In 1998 at a house party the alcohol was running low. The only thing left was a bottle of tequila. One of the brothers looked in the refrigerator to find a chaser. The only thing left was a gallon of milk and a jar of dill pickles. The brothers’ immediately chose the pickle brine over a shot of milk, and the pickleback was born.[citation needed] The term "Pickleback" was introduced to the patrons of The Bushwick Country Club bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Reggie Cunningham in 2006.[2]

Reggie poured me a pickleback, which he described as the house specialty: a shot of Old Crow bourbon and an accompanying shot of brine from a jar of McClure’s spicy dills. It was shockingly good. Not the Old Crow part, exactly, but the pickle brine, which washed that away, leaving a snappy, savory tang that curled about the last remnants of the smoky bourbon. It was exactly the “specialty” you expected in that den of insobriety.

—Toby Cecchini, The New York Times Style Magazine[3]

International Reach[edit]

The "pickleback" has spread internationally with many bars now offering picklebacks on their menus. The drink has had significant success in Aberdeen, Scotland thanks to their reputed popularity amongst staff of the craft brewer BrewDog whose Flagship bar is in the city. This has resulted in city establishment "The Tippling House" having to increase their nightly supply of pickle brine to ensure that the drink can stay available.[4] Several British visitors have returned to the United Kingdom from New York City (where the drink enjoys significant popularity) with the recipe, introducing it to bars in both London[5] and Devon.

In 2012, Minister of Brine, the Rev Byron Knight created Pickleback - the UK's first pickleback shot - using his own homegrown dill pickles and a flavour profile of ginger, mustard seeds, dill, garlic and dark sugar.[citation needed]

The Rivington Grill in Shoreditch, London, developed a variation of the Pickleback in February 2014, replacing dill pickle brine with a mixture of olive brine and a drop of pickled onion vinegar. A group of New York residents voted the London Pickleback a success.[citation needed]

At The Burlington Hotel, in Sheringham, England, the Pickleback is available with 10 varieties of pickle chaser, including pickled Strawberry, Radish and Garlic. Callum Ringer of the Burlington is said to be the father of these particular types of Pickleback.[citation needed]

The drink has also spread to Canada where it is consumed at events such as parties and bat mitzvahs.[6]

In 2013, American expats in Shanghai founded the "Shanghai Pickleback Co." through which they take over bars and events across town to serve shots. [7]


  1. ^ http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323384604578325771838126866
  2. ^ Cecchini, Toby. Case Study: Got Your Pickleback. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/case-study-got-your-pickleback/, 2010
  3. ^ Toby Cecchini (2012-03-16). "Got Your Pickleback". 
  4. ^ Pease, Victoria. The Tippling House shakes up the perfect intimate cocktail bar. http://local.stv.tv/aberdeen/news/going-out/220554-cocktail-bar-the-tippling-house-on-belmont-street-is-a-success/, 2013
  5. ^ Hume, Tim. Half Full: The Power of the Pickleback. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323384604578325771838126866.html, 2013
  6. ^ "Cocktails: The Pickleback". 
  7. ^ Shanghai's foremost food figures reflect on the 2013 food year, Shanghaiist http://shanghaiist.com/2013/12/31/2013-food-authorities-year-end.php

External links[edit]

  • [1] - 5 Best bars for Pickleback shots
  • [2] - Product specifically designed for Pickleback or Pickle Shots