Something To Chew On

March 12-18, 2018

By Becca Bona


Dilling with the Pickleback Cupcake


I remember where I was when I first fell in love with pickles.


I was on a lunch date with my Mom and sister along the Emerald Coast. We grew up going to Destin, eating seafood at our favorite spots – the Back Porch and Pompano Joe’s.


This particular lunch date, however, took place at a nondescript sandwich shop a few jumps away from the beachy strip, one Spring Break long ago. We all ordered club sandwiches that came with fries and a nice, juicy Dill Pickle spear.


At that time in my life, sour, salty flavors dominated sweets, and I ate my pickle spear before everything else, quickly realizing it was the prize of my plate.


Without thinking, I reached over and snatched my Mom’s pickle off her plate, while she and my sister were in deep conversation. I gobbled the whole thing in one bite.


“Becca, did you see where my pickle went?”


“No ma’am, I have no idea,” I said, trying to play it cool, but my vinegar breath was a dead give-away. She eventually got a confession out of me and I still can’t live that story down to this day.


Pickles, although not as popular as pumpkin spice in autumn, have made something of a wave as far as funky food flavors go. From pickle flavored soda to pickle pizza and pickle bread, there’s no shortage of briny cucumber themed dishes you can’t enjoy. I myself had a pickle flavored snow cone recently and it was tops.


The process of pickling and pickles themselves are ancient – dating back to 2030 BC when cucumbers were pickled in the Tigris Valley. “Pickle” comes from the Dutch pekel or German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine” which pretty much explains the flavor profile.


In other words – these babies were clearly not meant for desserts – until now.  


First off, if you don’t know what a Pickleback is, and you like pickles, and you thought you were done with shots, you really need to … er, give this thing a shot. Coined in 2006, the shot includes whiskey followed by pickle brine.


Also known as the “Piskey Whickle” and the “Bartender’s Handshake,” the shot was said to have originally been engineered with McClure’s Pickles (a Brooklyn & Detroit-based brand), although bars proud of their offerings now offer multiple brines to choose from.


And that’s where the cupcake comes in – the Pickleback Cupcake.


If you like whiskey and trying new foods, if a strange combination of sweet and salty is your jam – give this thing a try. Besides, with Saint Patrick’s Day coming up, you’ll be the life of the party with the strangest best dessert to share.


Pickleback Cupcakes*


Ingredients for the cupcakes

1 ½ cup of all purpose flower

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup of butter, softened

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of sour cream

2 eggs

¼ cup of pickle juice (pick your favorite brine, I used Vlasic)

¼ cup chopped pickles


Ingredients for the frosting

½ cup butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup of bourbon (probably best to avoid Rye, I used Bulleit)

Pinch salt

Pickle slices for garnish



1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add sour cream and pickle juice and beat until evenly mixed. Then stir in the flour mixture and chopped pickles until just combined.

3. Scoop about a ¼ cup of the batter into each cupcake liner and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, bourbon and salt and beat until smooth.

5. Spread frosting onto each cupcake and garnish with a pickle slice.


*Recipe adapted from


Sources; AETN, Thrillist   


  • Becca Bona
    Becca Bona