Are you wonder what is a pickleback? Don't worry we have the answer along with how to enjoy a shot of pickle brine paired with a shot of bourbon or Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Pickleback Shot Recipe
A pickleback shot is a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle juice.
I read that the Original Pickleback started at Brooklyn's Bushwick Country Club in March 2006. The country club is neighbors with McClure's Pickles and was storing some pickles for them in the bar's storage.
The bartender Reggie Cunningham decided to pair Old Crow Bourbon with a side of spicy pickle juice instead of the Pabst Blue Ribbon they had been serving. Customers loved it and the Pickleback was born.
Bartender Reggie Cunningham coined the term pickleback.
When the drink was brought to another bar in New York City it was changed to be paired with Jameson Irish Whiskey instead of bourbon.
This Whiskey chaser has become a modern cocktail phenomenon that has quickly escalated to being found on bar menus around the world.
While McClure's pickle juice is the original you can use any pickle juice you have available. Simply put this recipe is Irish Whiskey chased by a shot of pickle brine.
Using pickle juice in cocktails is not new. Many martini drinkers will add a splash of pickle brine to their martinis.
We even made a pickle juice martini for anyone who LOVES pickles.
Here is a quick overview of the simple ingredients needed for an epic Pickleback Shot with Jameson Irish Whiskey! The printable recipe card at the bottom of the post includes specific measurements and step-by-step instructions.
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Chilled Pickle Brine/Juice
Garnish - Mini Pickle
Pickle Brine - We use dill pickle juice, but you can use a spicy variety for some heat. We make the original with McClure's spicy pickle brine.
You can buy pickle juice by the bottle on Amazon or you can just pour it out of a jar of pickles.
This is one of our favorite 2 ingredient cocktails.
You’ll need two of these 1 oz shot glass
How to Make a Pickleback Shot
I've included complete instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here's a quick and dirty version.
- Add Jameson Whiskey to a shot glass.
- Add pickle brine/juice to a separate shot glass.
- Drink the whiskey, then follow it with the pickle juice as a chaser.
Preparation and Storage
Make Ahead + Storage: Make the Pickleback Shot ahead of time if upsizing to cocktail form, like in our pickle juice martini. Increase the ratio according to your desired serving size and the recipe card below, add the ingredients to an airtight jar and store in the fridge, serve on the rocks within two days of preparing the mixture.
Freezing/How to Freeze: Tipsy Bartender has this recipe for Pickleback Popsicles, and Food Network has this recipe for Spherified Picklebacks if you feel like flexing your molecular gastronomy muscles.
Substitutions: Although Old Crow bourbon is the whiskey used in the original Pickleback Shot, and Jameson Irish Whiskey has become the most popular choice of spirit for this cult-following shot, you can use any quality whiskey you enjoy.
If you want to get really fancy you could make a pickle shot glass by cutting into a pickle.
Vegetarian + Vegan Option: Both of the ingredients in this shot, Jameson Irish Whiskey and pickle juice, are both vegetarian and vegan-friendly, as they contain neither animal products nor by-products.
Gluten-Free: The FDA maintains that distilled food and beverage products are gluten-free, making this a gluten-friendly shot and chaser combo!
Alcohol-Free Option: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey to make the Pickleback Shot into a virgin version.
Make it Spicy: Turn up the heat on your Pickleback Shot with pickle juice from a spicy variety. You’ll taste the same heat from the pickles!
Larger Group/More Servings:
Sugar-Free: According to its website, Jameson Irish Whiskey contains no sugar. Check the nutrition label on your pickle juice of choice to determine the sugar content of this ingredient.
Tips for the Best Pickleback Shot
- You can follow this drink with a beer chaser.
- This drink is also called a pisky whickle, pickle puffer, or Jameson Pickleback.
- Pickle lovers who enjoy the salty brine flavor of this beloved sandwich condiment will love saying “cheers” to this popular shot.
- Nutrition information, including calories, protein, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, cholesterol, sodium, trans fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and more, will vary depending on the products used.
When to Serve
This popular shot is perfect anytime you want to combine the taste of a fine whiskey and the salty brine of pickle juice! It is often served on St. Patrick’s Day due to the Jameson Irish Whiskey, also a staple of this iconic springtime party day.
We have a ton of epic St. Patrick's Day Drinks perfect for your parties or family fun!
Have you heard this called "hair of the dog?"
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Did you see our article on funny drink names? There are so many unique cocktail names.
- 1 Ounce Jameson Irish whiskey
- 1 Ounce Pickle Juice Chilled
- Add 1oz Jameson Irish Whiskey to a shot glass.
- Add 1 oz Pickle Juice to a separate shot glass.
- Drink the Jameson and chase it with the Pickle Juice.
- Shot Glasses