Friday Happy Hour: Pickle Back

I was at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night for Gilt’s private Yeasayer show, which was totally great but ended really early – right around 10:15 or so. As it wrapped up, my friend and I walked the half-block over to American Ice Co. and settled in at the bar for some post-show drinking and carrying-on.

While the staff there are well-prepared to make elaborate, creative cocktails (and, indeed, bartender/manager Patrick started my friend and I off with a riff on a blood and sand that was pretty delicious), when they get slammed after a concert, it just makes sense to stick to simpler things. Things like beer, whiskey, and pickle juice.

A couple of years ago, pickle backs blew up as this super-trendy thing, which kind of put me off on the concept. I really dislike “novelty” or “dare” drinking in any form, which is probably more or less the origin of the popularity of a shot of whiskey followed by a shot glass of pickle juice. However, the guy I was with is a big pickle back fan and, if you are going to order one, American Ice Co is kind of known as the place to do so. Since they brine their own pickles in-house for their food menu, the pickle juice is plentiful and higher quality than just about anywhere else.

Drinking the brine after the whiskey is delicious and pleasurable. It washes over the palate with a salty, sour, savory freshness which is as delightful as it is strange. I paired mine with some Bells Oberon and it was like an awesome summertime picnic, in my mouth, soaked in booze.

Brittany has tried to leave DC, it just never lasts. She has lived in Chicago, California, and China – but she always comes back home. Brittany is a drinks, nightlife, and style correspondent for We Love DC. Between columns, you can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, or standing by the bar. Email her at brittany(at)

5 thoughts on “Friday Happy Hour: Pickle Back

  1. I just had one of these for the first time in nyc 2 weeks ago and loved it. However, none of my friends will believe me. Hopefully your recommendation will convince them that I’m not just crazy!

  2. I’ve been resisting these for a long time but now you’ve convinced me to give it another try… especially noting the house-brined pickles… hmm.