March 17, 2010

Liquor Snob Pickle Back Challenge

picklebacks.jpgWell, you can say what you want about us, but you can never say we backed down from a challenge. For those of you who have no freakin' clue what we're talking about, we here in the Liquor Snob offices made a vow when we first heard about the Pickle Back that if our readers wanted us to try them, we'd do it on St. Patrick's Day. For the record, we found the entire idea to be obscene, but the emails and Facebook messages we received convinced us we should think otherwise. Then, when we read the pickle juice in a Pickle Back can help avoid a hangover, we were all in.

Those of you who think were were just going to toss back a single shot of whiskey with whatever dill juice was lying around our fridge, however, are sorely mistaken. When we say we're going to do something, we do it, so we made an event out of it. We decided to find a Pickle Back winner among four different contenders - pickled egg brine, half sour brine, kosher dill brine, and the crap floating around in a pickled beet jar. Our findings are below, and while we aren't going to put this into our everyday drinking regimen, we have to admit people are on to something...if you find the right pickle juice.

Oh, and you might notice something odd about our pictured shot glasses - we decided to break out our Quaffers to cut down on the possibility of carpal tunnel from doing so many shot/chaser combos in a 10 minute period. And now, on to the show:

Contender 1: McKenzie Country Classics Pickled Eggs
OH MY GOD IT BURNS!!1! We love pickled eggs (what true barfly doesn't) but the vinegary solution they float in felt like hydrochloric acid as a chaser. Our eyes burned, our throat burned, our soul burned. Not recommended. Also, this might shock you, but according to the ingredients label, McKenzie Country Classic Pickled Eggs contains eggs.

Contender 2: Claussen New York Deli Style Half Sours
Delicate, salty, and not overly spiced, suddenly we're on to something. It covers the taste of the whiskey just fine, with the smokiness of the whiskey and the savoriness of the brine doing a little dance on our tongue. We're suddenly understanding why people like this idea. We're not huge fans of half sour pickles in general, but we might be changing our tune when we're drinking the brine.

Contender 3: Claussen Kosher Dill
This was the flavor we expected - tart, dilly, and sour. We made a "sucking a lemon" face when we tried this one, but we have to admit - it did blend well with the whiskey. We may be converted, but we're still leaning toward the half sour chaser (something we never thought we'd say).

Contender 4: Shaw's Brand Pickled Beets
We saw this in the store and had to pick it up because - well, because it said "pickled" on it. As a chaser, it completely took over the whiskey and the sweetness of the beets was almost overwhelming. We love beets, and if you're looking for something a bit sweeter and out of the ordinary, you might like this guy. Just don't be shocked when you have red teeth and a maniacal glint in our eye.

The verdict? We have to say we actually liked this chaser in practice, and if we're going to choose among these it was the half sour. Like we said - don't expect to drink them every day, but this is a nice little change from your everyday chaser, and a good opportunity to impress people in the bar who haven't heard of such a thing. Just expect to be picking pickling spices out of your teeth for the rest of the night...but that's a small price to pay for being awesome.

Feel free to comment or email us with your favorite Pickle Back pickle juice choice, and if we can we'll give those a try as well.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at March 17, 2010 8:10 PM
Recent Comments

I just had a Talisker backed by a shot of kosher dill juice and it's remarkably... not bad. Even good.

All I have right now is single malt, I don't drink whiskey much anymore (been on the red wine for a while) so no one fucking complain that I didn't use something cheaper.

Posted by: scotta at April 16, 2010 11:59 PM

Bread and butter pickle juice is ideal for this shot. Must be a play on the sweetness with the vinegar mixture. Wonderful! Ye Ha!

Posted by: T-Bone at March 29, 2010 10:18 AM

This is awesome. We're inspired. Cheers!

Posted by: DIA at March 25, 2010 5:02 PM

Pickle back fights off hangovers, my ass! I got one of the worst hangovers after these and I hardly ever get them maybe 1% of the time. I started the night with them for something a little Irish then I just drank my regular drinks. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the pickle backs. And you might say "it's because you're mixing liquors" B$, it must have been the whiskey.

Posted by: Mark Fleser at March 19, 2010 10:11 AM

Dammit, I knew we forgot something...

Posted by: Jake Jamieson at March 18, 2010 12:37 AM

Sir, your challenge isn't complete until you brave the brine of the pickled pigs' feet.

Posted by: Rich G. at March 18, 2010 12:03 AM
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