All season long, we’ve served up pickle recipes incorporating crunchy dills in every way possible, from pickle pasta salad to bacon pickle fries, and though the process has renewed our love of the zesty snack, we’ll admit to feeling a bit … pickled out. However, we recently came across a pickle product so different and delicious that we just can’t keep it to ourselves. My friends, pickle vodka is here.
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Sparked by the popularity of mouth-puckering pickleback shots, one Washington distillery got inspired to create their own spin on the pickle and liquor combo. The experts at Blue Spirits Distilling hand-select pickles at their production facility on Lake Chelan to go into their potent, 120-proof, pickle-flavored vodka.
At Blue Spirits’ tasting room in Leavenworth — a cute, Bavarian-themed town 50 miles away —visitors get to taste the briny concoction, and they’re frequently shocked by how much they love it. Tastings allow visitors to choose three base liquors (the distillery makes other vodka flavors like cucumber and espresso, as well as gin, whisky, tequila and rum), which they sip straight, before the staff makes them creative mini cocktails using the spirits. According to one tester, drinking the liquor is like eating a fresh pickle. It’s smooth and has a salty flavor without being overpowering.
The pickle vodka makes a mean dirty pickle martini — perfect for those who loathe olives but still want to feel like Don Draper — and we have a hunch that it’d be insanely good in a pickle Bloody Mary. The distillery suggests adding a thimble’s amount (1/4 oz.) of the pickle vodka to the top of a cocktail made with unflavored vodka. Don’t forget — this stuff is strong, and a little bit provides more than enough of a fresh, salty kick. “The higher proof has a more enhanced flavor and aroma,” says Heidi Soehren, co-owner of Blue Spirits Distilling. “When applied as a topper to a cocktail, you get a delightful burst of flavor and scent at first taste.”
The pickle flavor shots are definitely a tasting room favorite — the Leavenworth distillery sells up to 600 of the cute, wax-topped 50ml bottles per month for $12.50 a pop. It’s popularity even inspired new concentrated flavors like lemon, almond-orange, ginger and lavender. For now, you’ll have to visit to bring some home — but pickle vodka is making its way around to several distributors in the U.S. and Canada, so expect to see it elsewhere once cocktail connoisseurs across the country catch on to the pickle trend. Until then, quiet your cravings with some pickleback Jell-O shots or gin & tonic pickles.