Pickleback: a tasty shot recipe to enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day

Total time: 5 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 1 person
By Cookist

Pickleback shots are a popular shot to take when you're out with friends, especially if you like whiskey. The pickleback is a shot of chilled pickle juice which is taken after drinking a shot of whiskey or bourbon.

Jameson is usually the go-to whiskey when taking a pickleback, so this delicious combo is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. The savory, briny flavor of the cold pickle juice is perfect for taming the boozy burn of a shot of alcohol. All you need to make picklebacks is some high-quality pickle juice and whiskey – it's that easy!

Pickleback Origins

The pickleback is thought to have originated in Brooklyn's Bushwick Country Club bar in the mid-2000s, possibly by bartender Reggie Cunningham. The trend quickly caught on, and now you can order a pickleback at bars all over the country.

What is the Best Whiskey for Pickleback?

Original pickleback recipes called for Old Crow, which is a type of Kentucky straight bourbon. Today, Jameson has overtaken it in popularity.

You can use any type of whiskey, but typically, you won't want to use your high-end or more expensive whiskey for a pickleback.

What is the Best Pickle Juice for Pickleback?

Any type of pickle brine works for a pickleback. Many people enjoy a pickle brine with plenty of spice and flavor to help mellow out the burn from the whiskey.

How Strong Are Pickleback Shots? 

Because picklebacks aren't mixed, this shot isn't stronger than taking a shot of whiskey on its own. Alcohol levels will vary from brand to brand, but if you use Jameson, the whiskey will be 40 percent alcohol.

Tips for Picklebacks

Use high-quality pickle juice for your pickleback.

If desired, you can garnish the pickle juice with a pickle or pickled veggies.

The pickleback is usually paired with a shot of whiskey, but you can drink the pickleback following any type of shot you like. Certain alcohol, like rum, probably won't pair well, but let your taste buds be your guide!

Need a chaser after this shot? A crisp, cold lager is a perfect choice.

Irish whiskey
1 oz
pickle brine, chilled
1 oz

How to Make a Pickleback

Pour whiskey into a shot glass.

Pour pickle brine into a second shot glass.

Take the shot of whiskey, then follow it with the shot of pickle brine.


Don't forget to chill the pickle juice before taking your pickleback shot!

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