July 14, 2017


About as bad a pickle-based idea as Pickleback shots seem
There was a time when whiskey was only drunk by old men with monocles and cigars who spent their time sitting in leather armchairs and betting large swaths of land on games of pinochle. Nowadays, thanks to industrialization, increased quality of life, and some handy bloody coups, whiskey can be enjoyed by anybody willing to shell out a moderate amount of cash. Which, has mostly worked out well for me. But familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt. I mean, what other reason can there be for the nonsensical things people are doing to whiskey these days? Which brings us to the Pickleback. A couple years ago, the internet got all up in arms (as it tends to) about this new trend of taking a shot of whiskey and immediately following it with a shot of pickle juice. Despite immediately having several important questions about this phenomenon (such as the type of, and quantity of, the drugs enjoyed by the creator), I managed to resist ever trying it. I enjoyed my whiskey pickle-less, and all was good in the world. Now, years later, I was reminded of this trend, and a morbid curiosity overtook me. So I decided to try it out with a couple of different whiskeys and see what happens.


Pickle Juice
Whiskey (According to the internet, Jameson is the preferred brand. Would the internet lie to you?)

Despite my natural aversion to ruining good whiskey, I actually talked myself into thinking I would like this. I like whiskey. I like pickles. Why wouldn't I like both of them together? (For the record, I also like steak and ginger ale, but I didn't decide to mix those together) So I went with 4 different whiskeys. I used the internet-approved Jameson, which is an Irish whiskey for those of you who don't know. I also decided to use my preferred basic Irish whiskey, Tullamore DEW, some Knob Creek bourbon, and some Benromach scotch (Which, because the Scottish apparently hate the letter E, is technically a whisky, and not a whiskey. In their defense, what has the letter E done for you lately?). So anyway, the first thing you're gonna have to do is get over the natural aversion that most living things have to just straight-up drinking pickle juice. I love pickles. I've even made them from scratch once or twice. But I never really considered drinking their leftover juice, mostly because I'm not starving or crazy. I mean, it's pretty much cucumber embalming fluid. But I digress. It's time to get over your hangups about not drinking things that, technically, were never meant to be consumed by any living creature, and pour yourself a nice full shot. Now pour a shot of whiskey, consume it, and then immediately follow it with your brine. 

Not pictured: Pickle Juice. It knows what it did.
So, personally, my initial feeling was one of disappointment. Not at the experience, more at how much it didn't actually feel like an experience. I tasted whiskey. Then I tasted pickles. I didn't really taste any blending of the flavors in any significant ways. The pickle flavor overpowered the whiskey and just replaced the flavor in my mouth. But, after 3 sad attempts, I came to the Knob Creek. This actually seemed to work. The harsher flavors were kind of mellowed, and some interesting subtle notes were emphasized by the pickling spices. Also, at this point I'd had 4 shots of whiskey in a fairly short period of time, so your results may vary. So in the end I'd say that mixing pickle juice with whiskey and then naming the concept after one of the most hated bands of all time wasn't a complete failure. It totally works if you're either already drunk, or if your whisky has more apparent bite than flavor. Or both! Or if you don't like the taste of whiskey, you drank it to try and impress somebody, and you just want to get the flavor out of your mouth as fast as possible. And replace it with pickles. Enjoy!

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