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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.[citation needed] The Pickleback is sometimes also called a Piskey.


While the origins of a pickle brine chaser are unknown, the term "Pickleback" was used in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown for decades and later introduced to the patrons of The Bushwick Country Club bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Reggie Cunningham in 2006.[1] Also the name of a Facebook petition to see if a Pickle could gain more fans than Nickelback.[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]

The drink, as described, has since become commonplace in many Brooklyn bars. It was introduced to the Long Island bar scene by Rob LoCascio while bartending at Michael's Porthole in East Rockaway

International Reach[edit]

The "pickleback" has since spread from Fishtown to Brooklyn to Europe, with many elite bars now offering picklebacks on their menu.[which?][citation needed] 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. 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.

At The Burlington Hotel, in Sheringham, England, the Pickleback is available with 10 varieties of pickle chaser, including pickled Strawberry, Radish and Garlic.

The drink has also spread to Canada where it is consumed at events such as parties and bar 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. ^ Cecchini, Toby. Case Study: Got Your Pickleback. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/case-study-got-your-pickleback/, 2010
  2. ^ http://www.vulture.com/2010/02/nickelback_pickleback.html
  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