What’s A PickleBack?
A pickleback is a shot of whiskey followed by a chaser shot of pickle juice brine. Yes, you read that right. You take a perfectly good shot of whiskey and wash it down with that yellowish green liquid leftover in the pickle jar. Hopefully with the floaters strained out.
Its No Surprise - A Pickleback Is Not Surprisingly Refreshing
You might think its kind of like eating a pickle, but its not. The tsunami of sour taste from the wave of salt water rushing down your throat chases away any umami* or other flavors from your palate leaving you puckered up with a strange, sickly feeling and wondering why you just did that. Unless its Saint Patrick’s Day, then that explains it†.
People are trying to propel this pickled potation’s popularity though. The perception of a perfect pickleback pairing is being perpetrated by pubs on their patrons, and not just for St. Paddy’s Day either.
Peter Piper is behind the bar picking pecks of pickles out of the jar of many pub’s own secret recipes so they can pour a pickleback with the brine left behind. Preposterous?
Many pubs profess pickleback perfection only when their peculiar potion & poteen pairing is poured. So, is this progression of pickleback popularity purely personal or prodded from public promotion by a poteen producer as proclaimed in a presumed press release?
How Do I Get This Taste Out Of My Mouth
If there is such a thing as the perfect pickle juice and whiskey pair, then why do you need a beer to wash it down. Pretty good question considering there are plenty of recommendations for the perfect pickleback and beer pairings out there, which seems to suggest that you do. Puzzled?
While this piece paints a putrid picture of the pickleback, some things you just need to find out for yourself. In many ways, the pickleback shot is to a St. Patricks Day party what the bloody brain shot is to Halloween parties. Neither is recommended, period, especially for your at home bar, but ..
If you subscribe to the “I’ll try anything once” theory, then throw back a pickleback and judge for yourself. Its unofficially the official shot of Saint Patrick’s Day and you can say you were initiated and move along to something delicious to drink.
May the leprechauns be near you,
To spread luck along your way.
And may all the Irish angels,
Smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.
* - Umami is a savory flavor and along with sweet, sour, bitter & salty is one of the five basic tastes.
† - Drinking pickle juice is rumored to prevent seasickness in sailors and frequent pit stops by truck drivers. Apparently from the vinegar in the first case and the salt in the other. If true, you’ll have to look elsewhere to support those claims, they at least have a reason other than thinking its tasty.