Bourbon Is Begging To Be Mixed With Tangy Pickle Juice

Bourbon is a go-to spirit for many cocktail enthusiasts. Its gorgeous amber hue and complex flavor, accompanied by a subtle sweetness, makes it appealing on its own as well as with a combination of other ingredients. You likely have heard of popular bourbon mixers, such as lemon juice or even coffee, but you may not have considered one more unorthodox option: pickle juice. While it may seem strange, this combination is well worth a try.

If you think about it, pickle juice pairs well with bourbon for the same reason many mixers pair well with liquor. Its intense sour flavor helps to cut the strong bite of the distilled spirit while also contrasting the tasting notes found in bourbon. For example, the salty brine juxtaposes the fruity or dessert-like notes in sweeter bourbons while also complimenting notes found in spicier, smokier bourbons. The result is an enhanced drinking experience that allows for elevated flavors and a smoother beverage.

Pick great ingredients for a great cocktail

No mixer can make up for subpar ingredients, which is why it's important to select the right bourbon and pickle juice for the job. Since pickle juice is an assertive flavor, you don't want to invest in an expensive or especially unusual-tasting bourbon for this combination — otherwise you will find all of the nuances promised in those types of spirit get overwhelmed by the brine. For help finding a solid everyday bourbon, you can look to our ranking of the best bourbon brands. In terms of pickle juice, it really comes down to personal preference. Any classic brine will work, but fun variations like brine that comes from hot pickles or full sour pickles can also pack a novel punch.

If you aren't sure where to start when exploring bourbon-based pickle juice cocktails, we recommend beginning with classic drinks like the famous pickleback shot or our pickle juice whiskey sour recipe. When adventuring beyond these staples, pickle juice can be used in any application where acidity or salt would be appreciated. For example, it wouldn't be out of place in a bourbon sidecar, where it could balance out the sweetness of the triple sec while still blending in with the other tangy ingredients. It could also be used to cut the cloying flavor of a Kentucky kiss — a cocktail that features strawberries and maple syrup. Don't be afraid to experiment and find the bourbon and pickle pairing that works best for you.