INSIDE F&B charges chefs and bartenders with creating the next drink sensation
By Francine Cohen

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell

February 25, 2010 will forever live in infamy as the day that the beloved pickle back jumped the shark.

We’re thrilled for its popularity.  And still intend to enjoy them now and again.  But the pickle back no longer holds its own as a secret insider liquid handshake since  the cat’s out of the bag thanks to this terrific article by Robert Haynes-Peterson,

Known well to those who have embraced the briiiiiiine, the pickle back has a special place in the hearts of industry folks (and a select and welcome group of aficionados) who find themselves at bars late into the night/wee hours of the morning, often following a grueling shift and looking for nothing more than a simple drink, a savory pick me up, and some good company.  Now we expect to see lots of people bellying up to the bar for their backs.

Whatever its vaunted origins (Texas, Bushwick Country Club, The Randolph, The Rusty Knot ) and supposed instigators of its popular appeal (TJ Lynch and Jason Littrrell in NYC and H. Ehrmann and Danny Ronen in San Francisco) the pickle back is the quintessential answer to the complex cocktail.

Photo by Lush Life Productions

Depending on your choice of juice it is either a two part drink made up of a couple of contrasting sips (the Randolph’s use of Pickle Guys brine paired with Jameson, for example), or a comprehensive drink in two shot glasses (Jameson and the slightly sweeter house made brine created in The Breslin’s kitchen at The Ace Hotel, and you’re done.

Embracing the sweetness of the whiskey and the follow up punch of the salty pickle juice is an easy feat, and some even believe medicinal – we’ve personally got a whole theory about the sodium replacement needs it satisfies and how one round of pickle backs per every 4-6 cocktails can help balance things out and assist in the prevention of hangovers.

Photo by Lush Life Productions

Deliciousness extolling aside, we feel the need for something new. We don’t intend to relegate the pickle back to the fate of the Red Headed Slut which was so masterfully put to rest during a jazz funeral at the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail, because it does deserve to live. But we’re feeling like it’s time for the next generation of insider beverage given that it’s a proven fact that any time a  writer  uses the term “off-menu” it’s code to the guest for “you’ll be really hip and in the in-crowd if you go into the bar/restaurant and ask for this.”  That is fine, and good for business. But dilutes the original behind the scenes factor.

So, INSIDE F&B challenges you with coming up with something else.  What are we drinking next?