Picklebacks: How One Editor Fell in Love With Pickle Juice Shots

Pickles are involved, in a very good way.
A jar of deli styled pickled gherkins (Cucumber) isolated on a white background.
A jar of deli styled pickled gherkins (Cucumber) isolated on a white background.

When a friend offered me a "pickle juice shot" at a Fourth of July party, I understandably met her follow-up of "it's the best chaser ever!" with a fair share of skepticism. I wasn't actually jumping at the offer, but I wasn't exactly running in the opposite direction either (maybe because that would've been towards a keg of Keystone).

Either way, I was intrigued, and either way, I went for it. After all, I could be the girl in the Vlasic commercials for how much I enjoy a good pickle.

After successfully taking a shot of vodka and chasing it down with a sip of pickle juice from a plastic water bottle (go ahead, judge me), I was immediately a convert. It was genius -- the pickle juice, heavily salty and overloaded with flavor, instantly and fully cut the gag-inducing flavor of vodka (as you may be able to tell, I'm not exactly a fan of the taste of alcohol). It wasn't long before I had declared myself a new pickle juice ambassador of the party and was approaching other partygoers with the same phrase that my friend had roped me in with: "this is the best chaser, ever!"

Upon further research following this transformative experience, I've realized a few things:

  1. Surprise! My friend was not, in fact, the first to discover this brilliant chaser. According to CBS New York, it is rumored to have been pioneered at Brooklyn's Bushwick Country Club in 2006.
  2. What we amateurs had deemed a "pickle juice shot" is actually more commonly referred to as a "pickleback."
  3. Picklebacks are usually with whiskey, so we were a little off target using vodka.
  4. A shot glass usually stands in for the plastic water bottle I was offered. Well, I guess this one was a little obvious.
  5. This trend seems particularly popular on the East Coast, but doesn't seem to have really taken hold anywhere else.

Which left me with one main question: why is this not more popular? Though I assume the answer is an obvious one (because it involves drinking pickle juice), with the pickling craze in full force this might be an obvious next step. So don't let your skepticism get the best of you, it really is the "best chaser ever."

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