Classic Pickleback & Creative Pickle Shot Recipes

Pickled cucumbers in a glass jar

The art of pickling has been around for hundreds of years, with both chefs and mixologists using pickle juice to make the most complexly flavored dishes and drinks, like when they first created the pickleback shot and cocktail. This original two-step shot is incredibly easy to prepare, as the vinegary pickle brine works against the heat of the Irish whiskey. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, take a look at these pickleback drink recipes.

Pickleback Shot

The original pickleback shot actually involves two separate shots: Irish whiskey and pickle juice. In order to prepare, you pour an entire shot of Irish whiskey as well as an entire shot of pickle juice, and chase the alcohol shot with the brine.

Pickleback Shot

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces pickle juice, chilled
  • 1½ ounces Irish whiskey

Instructions

  1. In one shot glass, pour in the pickle juice.
  2. In a second shot glass, pour in Irish whiskey.
  3. Drink the Irish whiskey shot first and then chase it down with pickle juice.

Pickleback Variations

Now, if you've mastered this two-step shot recipe and are looking for new ways to incorporate pickle juice into your cocktails and shots, take a look at these variations on the classic pickleback drink.

Pickleback Cocktail

To transform the pickleback shot into an entire cocktail, simply increase the amounts of both Irish whiskey and pickle juice being used as well as add some freshly squeezed lime juice on top.

Pickleback Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces pickle juice
  • 3 ounces Irish whiskey
  • Ice
  • Pickle slices for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
  4. Top with pickle slices speared with a toothpick and serve.

Apple Barrel Shot

For a pickleback shot that has an autumnal profile, check out this apple barrel Shot recipe, which substitutes Irish whiskey for Crown Royal Apple whisky.

Apple Barrel Shot

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounce Crown Royal Apple
  • 1½ ounces pickle juice, chilled

Instructions

  1. In one shot glass, pour in the pickle juice.
  2. In a second shot glass, pour in Crown Royal Apple.
  3. Drink the Crown Royal Apple shot first and then chase it down with pickle juice.

Canadian Pickleback Shot

In honor of the internationally renowned Canadian product, maple syrup, this shot recipe sweetens the original pickleback by adding a ¼ ounce of maple syrup to the concoction.

Canadian Pickleback Shot

Ingredients

  • ¼ ounce maple syrup
  • 1¼ ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1½ ounces pickle juice

Instructions

  1. In one shot glass, pour in the pickle juice and set aside.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the maple syrup and Irish whiskey.
  3. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  4. Strain into a second shot glass.
  5. Drink the Irish whiskey and maple shot first and then chase it down with pickle juice.

Pretty Please Pickle Shot

Some would say that the pretty please pickle shot combines two unusual flavors in it's recipe; however, the shot is quite full-bodied because of the way it mixes whiskey with plum simple syrup and chilled pickle juice.

Pretty Please Pickle Shot

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the plum simple syrup and whiskey.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a shot glass.
  4. In a second shot glass, pour in the pickle juice.
  5. Drink the whiskey shot first, and then chase it with the pickle juice.

Hot and Spicy Pickle Shot

Those with a penchant for spices and heat will love this pickleback shot that combines lime juice, tequila, and pickled jalapeños juice together for a fiery experience.

Hot and Spicy Pickle Shot

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 1½ ounces pickled jalapeño juice, chilled

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice and tequila.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a shot glass.
  4. In a second shot glass, pour in the pickled jalapeño juice.
  5. Drink the tequila shot first, and then chase it with the pickled jalapeño juice.

Personalize the Pickleback

One of the easiest ways to customize a pickelback shot or cocktail is simply to substitute the pickled juice being used as a chaser. Although it may seem contradictory to use a non-pickle pickling juice, it can open up the number of possibilities for delicious flavor combinations. For instance, some liquors will pair better with apple cider vinegar or slaw juice than they will with pickle juice. Here are a few ideas for different chasers you can experiment with:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Pepperoncini juice
  • Pickled beet juice
  • Coleslaw juice
  • Pickled okra juice
  • Pickled onions juice
  • Pickled jalapeño juice
  • Olive brine

Transform Old Traditions

Pickleback recipes let you connect to your family's past of at-home pickling and canning and celebrate it in a new, modern way. So, it's time to browse through your nearest grocery store's pickling aisle for some inspiration on how you're going to personalize your own pickleback recipe.

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Classic Pickleback & Creative Pickle Shot Recipes