How Pickles Became Everyone's Favorite Alcohol Flavor

If you feel like you're hearing a lot of talk about pickles lately, you aren't just imagining things. The tangy, briny flavor notes are being added to just about everything from potato chips and popcorn to salad dressings. Trader Joe's even released a dill pickle seasoning blend that folks can add to anything their heart desires. And finally, the dill pickle is mingling with booze. In 2022, we saw Lord Hobo release pickle beer, and in 2023, the pickle brand Claussen collaborated with Spritz Society to release a pickle-infused sparkling wine spritzer. If at first, this seems a little too bizarre to be true, there's actually a good reason for pickles and alcohol to co-mingle. 

Some people use pickle juice as an all-natural hangover cure because it contains electrolytes and helps rehydrate you, similar to why you might reach for a Gatorade over water sometimes. Dill pickle juice also has a lot of highly crave-able, tangy, briny, almost zesty flavor that makes it a perfect shot chaser, also known as a pickleback. With this in mind, actually infusing booze with dill pickle flavor isn't as wild as it might seem at first.

Why the people want more pickles

The cocktail space has been dominated by sweet drinks for years — until now. The dirty martini recently ousted the Moscow mule as America's second-favorite cocktail, though it still falls behind the beloved margarita. This indicates that Americans are more open to savory flavors in alcohol than in previous years. So if the brine of olives is getting its time in the spotlight, pickle brine is the next natural step. Consider adding a few ounces of the stuff to your next martini, or even swap in some pickle juice for citrus in a margarita, and you'll quickly see the wonderful world of pickley alcohol. 

Dill pickles are most likely getting all the hype because they are currently the most common pickle. While other pickled vegetables have their fair share of haters, the dill pickle is pretty ubiquitous thanks to their inclusion on just about every sandwich ever made. But there's a wide world of vinegar-pickled and funky fermented flavors out there to explore, and with recent cocktail trends leaning savory (hello to you, chicken soup martini), it's probably likely more of these striking flavors will have their boozy debut soon.