All in a pickle

in Food and Drink · 29-11-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The tartness of a pickled cucumber is tough to beat, whether you're tucking into a plate of cheese and crackers, or stuffing the frog-green slices in with a burger.

But have you given much thought to what can be done with the vinegary liquid left over in the jar? Generally, once you're out of crunchy, sweet-sour veg, it ends up being tipped down the drain - but next time, stop yourself, there's a lot of potential in that pickle juice.

We caught up with Florence Cherruault, founder of The Pickle House and author of drinks book, Pickle Juice, to find out what the fuss is about...

Why pickle juice is great mixed with alcohol

Cherruault first started making pickle juice from scratch after being introduced to picklebacks - a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice - in New York. "It sounds kind of mental, but interesting at the same time," she remembers thinking. "I tried it and it was quite an insane mixture."

Thoroughly hooked, she returned to the UK and started coming up with her own pickle juice recipes - before deciding to start bottling and selling it to bars and restaurants, hence The Pickle House.

It's really taken off as an addition to cocktails because, Cherruault says, it "adds a really nice savoury, sweet, umami flavour to drinks".

Why it works in non-alcoholic cocktails

Cherruault also quickly realised that pickle juice is an ideal ingredient when it comes to soft drinks, especially non-alcoholic cocktails.

"There are quite a lot of sweet soft drinks on the market at the moment, and when you don't want to be drinking [alcohol], you probably don't want to spend the whole night drinking lots of sugary drinks," she muses. "I found that adding pickle juice into non-alcoholic cocktails adds that depth of flavour a normal soft drink doesn't have - the vinegariness gives it a bit of a twang."

Why it's a good pick-me-up if you're hungover

Cherruault may have started out with the possibilities of pickle juice and booze on her mind, but she's since discovered that the salt and the vinegar in it "means it's full of electrolytes, so it helps rehydrate your body with nutrients" too.

While drinking it in your cocktails won't mean you'll wake up hangover-free, sadly, when you do feel a bit groggy the morning after the night before, Cherruault notes that anecdotally, a shot of pickle juice can help pep you back up.

Same goes if you've been working out: "A couple of shots of pickle juice can help rehydrate your body with those nutrients you're losing when you're sweating." In fact, some athletes even drink pickle juice to help reduce muscle cramps.

Why you should get to grips with shrubs

No, not the garden border plants. Shrubs in drink terms are actually "a sweet version of a pickle juice".

"It's where you macerate fruit with sugar, and then mix it with apple cider vinegar," explains Cherruault. "It creates this really delicious cordial. You can have that just on its own with sparkling water."

Three ways with pickle juice

Not sure where to start your pickle juice education? Cherruault recommends, firstly, "A shot of vodka, a shot of pickle juice, topped up with ginger ale, with a squeeze of lime - and you can do that without the vodka and it's still really delicious."

Secondly, she promises that "pickle juice is really good in a Bloody Mary".

And thirdly: "In summer, it's really nice to have a little bit of pickle juice mixed with mango juice, and you use that as a base to mix with prosecco - it's a bit like a mimosa."

Pickle Juice: A Revolutionary Approach To Making Better Tasting Cocktails And Drinks by Florence Cherruault is available now.


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