How to Make a Pickleback from Your Garden-Grown Pickles

by Corinne Mossati

When I posted a photo of my very first garden-grown cucumber which I dedicated to a certain gin known for its cucumber and rose botanicals, a bartender friend suggested I dedicate the next one to a pickleback.


Pickleback – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

What is a Pickleback? To put it in simple terms, a pickleback is a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle brine. It may sound like an odd combination but the logic behind the drink is that the brine helps to neutralise the burn of alcohol from the whiskey. It’s also purported to be a hair of the dog, whereby a shot of the umami liquid is said to aid in a hangover.

The term was coined in 2006 by bartender Reggie Cunningham at Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their neighbours, the famed McLure’s Pickles had stored some of their pickles in the bar’s basement which led to the bartender offering a shot of pickle brine with bourbon before the later was replaced by Irish Whiskey.

Whether you believe in its hangover cure qualities or not, a pickleback is worth a shot (pun intended), and if you haven’t had one before, it’s your excuse to give it a go on St Patrick’s Day.

As home gardeners, we’re always preserving, pickling and fermenting our garde-fresh produce. This is another way to drink it.

How to Make a Pickleback

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 30ml of your favourite Irish whiskey
  • 30ml of the juice from your favourite garden-made pickles
  • 2 identical shot glasses
  • a jigger, or any liquid measure
  • Garnish with a slice of pickle (optional)


  1. Fill a small shot glass with the whiskey.
  2. Fill the other small shot glass with pickle juice.
  3. Take a shot of the whiskey followed by the pickle juice.
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