A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 10, 2014
Pickleback (whiskey and pickle brine)

"Pickleback” is a drink of whiskey and pickle brine. The drink was invented by Reggie Cunningham in 2006 at the Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Cunningham used Old Crow whiskey and McClure’s pickles.

Wikipedia: Pickleback
A pickleback is a type of shot wherein a shot of whiskey is chased by a shot of pickle brine. The pickle brine works to neutralize both the taste of the whiskey and the burn of the alcohol. The Pickleback is sometimes also called a Piskey.

While the origins of a pickle brine chaser are unknown, the term “Pickleback” was introduced to the patrons of The Bushwick Country Club bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Reggie Cunningham in 2006. Also the name of a Facebook petition to see if a Pickle could gain more fans than Nickelback.
International Reach
The “pickleback” has since spread from Brooklyn to Europe, with many elite bars now offering picklebacks on their menu.

Bushwick Country Club (618 Grand Street, Brooklyn)
Yes, BCC created the “Pickleback” back in 2006 by Reggie in his utter brilliance.  Don’t believe us?  Google search.  Huzzah!

Bob McClure dropped off more spicy pickle brine, so yes, as always, Picklebacks are on.  See LINKS for more info on McClure Pickles and the “PickleBack”.

Google Books
Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in New York
By Broke-Ass Stuart
New York, NY: Falls Media
Pg. 376:
Bushwick Country Club, 618 Grand St. @ Leonard St.
Called The Supersize, you get a PBR tall boy and a shot of rotgut whiskey for $6. My advice is to ask for the “pickle back” which is a shot of pickle juice to chase the whiskey. I know.

Shecky’s NYC Nightlife
Pickle My Liver: Best Pickle Cocktails
September 12, 2008
“Pickle Back” at Bushwick Country Club
1 shot of Old Crow Whiskey
1 shot of McClure’s Pickle Brine

Take the shot of Old Crow followed by the shot of McClure’s pickle brine. Trust us on this one!

New York (NY) Times
Case Study | Got Your Pickleback
Littrell, meanwhile, has an interesting (though merely conjectural) theory about the drink’s possible origins. As the manager for a touring band, he spent a lot of time crisscrossing Texas. He says long-haul truckers there are known, when they stop for a drink, to take a shot of pickle juice to keep the alcohol’s diuretic effect tamped down. “Central Texas, it’s pickle culture: they drink the juice and that salt retains liquid. It’s an old Texas driver thing.”

Others point out a possible connection to the Russian custom of consuming pickles with vodka, or a similar ritual with tequila in parts of Mexico. Reggie Cunningham, who’s now widely credited with the drink’s invention at the Bushwick Country Club, was quick to set the record straight, while possibly supporting Littrell’s theory. “We were storing pickles for the McClure’s guys in the basement when they first started their Brooklyn operations,” he said. “I was just munching on some one night when this gravelly-voiced Southern chick asked for a shot of the juice alongside her whiskey. I said, ‘No way,’ but she made me have one with her, and I think I had, like, a dozen that night. Totally cured a cold I had, and no hangover. It took off like hell from there. That one drink totally cemented the bar.”

Urban Dictionary
A series of two shots, first whiskey (typically Jamesons) followed by a shot of pickle juice/brine.
Bartender! Another round of Picklebacks for my friends!
by DrinkPlanner March 17, 2010

The True Origin of the Pickleback
Awesome Dreams
Uploaded on Feb 23, 2011
Reggie Cunningham describes the invention of the pickleback. True story.

How to make a Pickleback - Tipsy Bartender
Published on Aug 8, 2013
It’s is one of the most popular shots in the world right now....THE PICKLEBACK. It’s a shot of whiskey (usually Jamesons) chased by a shot of pickle juice (brine). The origin of this shot is murky, but it is believed to have been created in America and now it is a hit the world over.

The most popular shots, cocktails and treats subscribe to the #1 bartending show on youtube; TIPSY BARTENDER!

1. People have been chasing whiskey with pickle brine for God knows how long, but the term “pickleback” wasn’t coined until 2006. As wordsmith/ Brooklyn bartender Reggie Cunningham tells it, in the year of our Lord 2006, he was approached at the Bushwick Country Club by a gold-toothed woman who, in a “filthy redneck voice”, made the barman do a series of whiskey shots followed by brine. He fell in love and dubbed it the pickleback.

2. Aliases for the pickleback include “Piskey Whickle” and “Bartender’s Handshake”.
5. Old Crow was the first whiskey served with a newly named pickleback. Currently, Jameson is outpacing Old Crow as the whiskey of choice for a pickleback.
8. The original pickleback used McClure’s pickles, which are manufactured in Brooklyn and Detroit (you may remember it from such pickles as “Spicy” and “Garlic Dill"). It is generally frowned upon to use mass-produced pickles for a pickleback.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, January 10, 2014 • Permalink