H&H Happy Hour: Pickleback

The past two H&H Happy Hour drinks featured were examples of light, refreshing, low alcohol, and to put it bluntly: “pretty” drinks. It’s about time I got back to basics by pulling out a bottle of Virginia bourbon, frying up some bacon, and simply…well… pickling some pickles.

You might not typically think of shots as a happy hour drink but you know somewhere between 5:00pm and say 1:00am you’ll be somewhere when one comes into play. Here’s the perfect opportunity to introduce the “Pickleback.”   Definitely not a new drink, yet picklebacking has been more of a recent fad that’s been hitting the bar scene in Brooklyn, NY.  Bars are becoming known not only for the whiskey they carry but also the secret pickle brines they’re making by hand in the evening. There are all sorts of variations of picklebacking and I’ve even learned Russians were famous for chasing vodka with a brine. Other variations include using Irish whiskey as opposed to bourbon. I of course was happy to keep my version local.

Virginia Gentleman

* If not pickling your own pickles you can use brine from store bought pickle juice.

Simply pour bourbon in your shot glass then pour cold pickle juice brine in another. Shoot the bourbon back, chasing it with the pickle juice.  Let me tell you, there is an “Art” to pickle backing. The pickle brine shots alone don’t exactly hold their own, yet when consumed after the bourbon - they complement one another in an unexpected but delectable way. It’s almost as if they cancel each-other out – which could be a good or bad thing depending on how many  you plan to have.

So there you have it – the Pickleback. Oh, I almost forgot the bacon. Where did the bacon come into play you might ask? Well, after I finished writing this happy hour installment, it made for a really yummy BLT!  This time of year nothing beats a BLT.

Can I get an Amen? (kidding aside bacon is wonderful with bourbon)

Let me know your thoughts; are you adventurous enough to try picklebacking or have you tried it in the past?

H&H Happy Hour is written by Forest Hill resident, Tim Vidra, and is a bi-monthly summer series of cocktail recipes with a twist – often incorporating finds from his own organic garden. View these and more recipes at Tim’s food blog, E.A.T., advocating the use of simple local ingredients and sharing tips for how to incorporate them into dishes that will impress.


  1. #1 • raftgeek •

    Have not tried it yet but just because of the bacon it will probably being used at Bacon Day 2012. My friend and I created a holiday devoted to bacon three years ago and so far we’ve failed at a good “bacon” drink. With over forty different bacon dishes last year we could really use a bacon drink too thanks!

  2. #2 • Mary •

    Bacon Day sounds amazing – I need to hear more about this!

  3. #3 • willard •

    Great combination, forgot about these. Watch out liver, here we come.

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