Pickleback Shots Blend Whiskey and Pickle Juice Into the Perfect Pair

If you're out for a night on the town it's not uncommon to hear someone order a pickleback shot. If you're wondering what that is, it's a shot of whiskey with a chaser of pickle juice. If you're a pickle lover you're probably excited, and if you hate pickles or whiskey cocktails, your stomach may be turning. While people have been drinking pickle juice for centuries, the original pickleback shot wasn't invented until 2006. Even if you're not a fan of pickle or pickle juice, it's worth trying for the unique umami flavor. There's really no other drink like it around.

History of the Pickleback

In March of 2006, bartender Reggie Cunningham invented the pickleback shot at The Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, New York. According to bar owner, John Roberts,"  Cunningham was hungover and eating pickles behind the bar when a woman from Florida came in. The two shot some Old Crow, followed by McClure's pickle juice." In a somewhat ironic move, McClure's Pickles had opened its pickle shop 2 doors down from the bar. It was a match made in heaven.

Once Cunningham coined the term, the popularity of the shot exploded. It can be found at bars all over the world, from NYC to London to Japan.


People have known to chase whiskey with pickle brine as a hair of the dog remedy for hangovers. The pickle brine acidity also helps neutralize the burn from the alcohol, making it the perfect chaser.

What's in the Pickleback Shot?

The shot recipe is incredibly simple: 1 shot of Irish whiskey followed by one shot of pickle juice or shot of pickle brine. While the original pickleback was made with Old Crow Bourbon, the most common whiskey used today is Jameson Irish Whiskey. The key is making sure to use separate shot glasses for each of the drinks.

Get the full recipe here.

Another New York City bar, Starlight, is putting a twist on the original pickle back. Their version of a pickleback cocktail is a shot of tequila followed by a shot of watermelon rind juice. Since both bars are within walking distance of one another, you can easily try both if you're in Brooklyn. If not, try making them at home.

Get the recipe here.

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