Savory Cocktails – The Pickleback

Published On 14 November, 2013 | Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan

Photo credit: THOR. On the eve of Chanukah last year, I set upon a mad dash to share eight cocktails with you, one for each night of the holiday.  In preparing for this years convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, I reached out to Greg of Sippty Sup to see if he would be interested in sharing a cocktail with me, and he was delighted to do so. 

The timing was perfect too as Greg’s new book Savory Cocktails hit the shelves recently and starting at just $9.99, there’s no reason not to buy yourself an early #Thanksgivukkah gift. Today I am sharing Greg’s Pickleback.

Savory Cocktails

I chose this cocktail for a number of reasons.  First of all, it’s the sort of drink I would try.  The combination of pickles and whiskey works well for me, and others like me that prefer a savory to a sweet.  I also get the chance to share a homemade pickle recipe with you — great for the cocktail and perfect in those sandwiches you’ll be making the day after Thanksgiving with all that leftover turkey.

The Pickleback

No one seems to want to claim this drink as their own, though its genesis appears to be in Brooklyn, New york. For a drink that nobody likes, it’s awfully popular. Such a simple combination: 1 shot Jameson whiskey and 1 shot pickle brine–served in two glasses. you could just open a jar of Vlassics — I’m sure that’s how it’s usually done — but I prefer to tackle this cocktail with more culinary acumen.

  • 2 pony shots / 60 ml / 2 fl oz whiskey (preferably Jameson)
  • 2 pony shots / 60 ml / 2 fl oz Spicy Dill Pickle Brine (recipe follows)
  • Pickles, as garnish
  • Fresh dill sprigs, as garnish

Pour the whiskey and brine into separate “double” shot glasses (about 3-ounce size). Garnish as you like — I suggest you go overboard. Makes 1

Sippity Sup - Serious Fun Food

Homemade Spicy Dill Pickles and Brine

  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 6 small cloves peeled garlic 
  • 1 red Thai bird chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping tsp dill seeds
  • 2 tsp prepared pickling spice
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 pounds very small Kirby cucumbers, about 3 inches long

Sterilize 6 pint-size jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a nonreactive medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer. Remove the hot jars from the sterilizing pot.

Divide the dill, garlic, chile slices, dill seeds, pickling spice, and mustard seeds among the jars.

Divide the cucumbers into 6 groups then tightly pack them into the jars.

Pour the hot vinegar-water mixture over the cucumbers to within ½ inch of the rim. Secure the jars with the sterilized lids and bands.
Place the jars back in the sterilizer or pot of water and process by boiling for 15 minutes. Remove carefully with tongs. Let cool, then store in a dry place for at least 3 weeks before opening. Makes 6 pint-sized jars.


Greg Henry is a cookbook author and also writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway and Alaska to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine MagazineLos Angeles TimesThe Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network and was named one of The LA Weekly’s 5 favorite podcasts for food lovers.

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