A pickleback is a type of shot wherein a shot of whiskey is chased by a shot of pickle brine. Alternatively, the shot of whiskey can be chased by a bite of a pickle (generally, a whole dill pickle). The pickle brine works to neutralize both the taste of the whiskey and the burn of the alcohol.
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
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 among 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. 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 and Devon.
In 2012 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.
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. Callum Ringer of the Burlington is said to be the father of these particular types of Pickleback.
- Cecchini, Toby. Case Study: Got Your Pickleback. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/case-study-got-your-pickleback/, 2010
- Toby Cecchini (2012-03-16). "Got Your Pickleback".
- 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
- Hume, Tim. Half Full: The Power of the Pickleback. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323384604578325771838126866.html, 2013
- "Cocktails: The Pickleback".