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Cocktails: The Pickleback Add to ...

Burger Bar 319 Augusta Ave., Toronto 416-922-7423 www.theburgerbar.ca

The idea of drinking pickle juice should be familiar to anyone who enjoys a dirty martini or the occasional Caesar with their brunch (clam juice, the vital component of Clamato, being a natural brine). To the rest of us, though, the Pickleback (aka the Pisky Whickle) might take some getting used to.

As served at Toronto's Burger Bar, a Kensington Market burger joint that looks like the kind of place Yosemite Sam might get thrown out of, consists of a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey (bourbon is also acceptable) and a shot of Vlasic's pickle juice. You shoot the whisky and let the burn settle in, then follow it with a shot of green pickle juice. With its dill overtones and distinctly grippy flavour (not unlike a super grassy Sauvignon Blanc), the salty brine mellows the whisky and vice versa, resulting in a surprisingly satisfying experience.

In the far reaches of hipster havens such as Brooklyn, Manhattan's Lower East Side, Portland and L.A.'s Silver Lake, the drink has developed something approaching cult status. Brock Shephard, Burger Bar's owner, originally listed the drink on the blackboard, "as a bit of a joke," after reading about it on a food blog. Since then, he has sold about a dozen of them - more than he expected; even so, the drink has yet to become anyone's go-to libation, remaining something of a novelty. Think of it as an acquired taste.

The Pickleback


1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey (bourbon can also be substituted)

1 ounce pickle brine (slice of pickle optional)


Place the two shots side by each. Shoot the whisky. Wait a beat. Shoot the brine.

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