Food & Drink » Happiest Hour

Happiest Hour

Rocky Mountain Pickleback



What it is: The pickleback is traditionally just whiskey and a pickle brine chaser. The Rocky Mountain version takes its inspiration from the tequila-lime-salt shot. It combines three excellent things: pickle juice, tequila and Sriracha (God among condiments). Try it. Just trust me.

How to get pickled: Line up a shot each of tequila and pickle juice. Smear a dab of Sriracha on the back of your hand. As quickly as possible, knock back the tequila, then the pickle juice, then lick the Sriracha. The rapid hit of booze, brine and spice will leave your mouth tingling and refreshed. It's a kick-start to your evening's drinking, and a pick-me-up during the wee hours of a house party.

  • Photo by Kate Whittle

The cool kids are doing it, too: Picklebacks are trendy, believe it or not. Big-city hipster bartenders have taken to offering gourmet versions with chasers like pickled nectarine juice. A Wall Street Journal article investigated some of the science behind this most classy of shots, explaining: "When compounds in the brine combine in the taste buds with some of those left by the whiskey, they create a pleasant umami flavor that isn't present in either liquid alone."

Where to get it: Bars that serve food can likely create a version of this for you, but you're best off making it at home. You most likely already have at least two of the ingredients.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

Add a comment