Pickle Shots / Photo by Caitlin Bensel
This strong-and-sour shooter has been making the rounds on social media for the past couple of years. We can see why: it’s a fun, playful drink that’s easy to make and adapts to whichever ingredients are in your bar/kitchen.
To be clear, the Pickle Shot — which mixes everything in one glass — is a different drink from the Pickleback, which features two glasses: a shot of whiskey (usually Irish whiskey, usually Jameson), chased with a separate shot (a “back”) of pickle juice.
To make the drink, equal parts spirit and pickle juice are shaken with ice, then strained into a shot glass. While any spirit can be used, tequila and vodka seem to be the most popular options, followed by whiskey. We recommend sticking to unaged or lightly-aged spirits to keep the drink looking bright.
The second key ingredient is the pickle juice, of course. While juice poured straight from a jar of your favorite dills is the classic option, there’s plenty of room to experiment. For those so inclined, here are a few options for creative pickling brines to try, if you’re feeling fancy.
Yet, most people stick to the tried-and-true for the pickle shot base, and riff with garnishes instead. From a pickle round perched on the side of the glass to munch after drinking, to spicy options like a dash or two of hot sauce for pleasing visual contrast and fiery tingle (* but don’t overdo it, hot sauce can overwhelm when it’s just a couple of ounces of liquid in the glass).
Glass rims are another option: try rimming all or half of the glass rim with chili powder, cayenne pepper, or celery salt. Or go over-the-top with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on the glass rim (you can thank #hotcheetos TikTok for that idea, as well as Hot Cheetos-infused pickle juice).
How To Make a Batch of Pickle Shots
Since you’re likely not drinking Pickle Shots alone, here’s a quick formula to build eight servings: one cup tequila + one cup pickle juice. Shake with ice and divide among eight shot glasses, garnished as you like.
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a shot glass.
Cut a slit in the pickle round and place it on the rim of the glass.