For those who hate pickles, it's a dare. For those who can't handle whiskey, it's a godsend. But regardless of who's drinking it, the pickleback is here to stay. But where did this mysterious, unlikely pairing of delicious whiskey and cucumber discharge come from? And how does it relate to boning Avril Lavigne?
We'll reveal all 11 mysteries of the pickleback, including why Avril's new last name should be "Lavinegar."
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1. People have been chasing whiskey with pickle brine for God knows how long, but the term "pickleback" wasn't coined until 2006. As wordsmith/Brooklyn bartender Reggie Cunningham tells it, in the year of our Lord 2006, he was approached at the Bushwick Country Club by a gold-toothed woman who, in a "filthy redneck voice," made the barman do a series of whiskey shots followed by brine. He fell in love and dubbed it the pickleback.
2. Aliases for the pickleback include "Piskey Whickle" and "Bartender's Handshake."
3. Cunningham is also a rapper named The Mr. Move. He once recorded the appropriately titled track "I'm Wasted" with Trouble Andrew and Lil Jon. And probably did a few picklebacks after. Yeeeeah.
4. Another rapper named Sickabod Sane recorded the song "Pickleback," in which the emcee ditched hip-hop for something that sounds like a piano-heavy duet between Tom Waits and Randy Newman.
5. Old Crow was the first whiskey served with a newly named pickleback. Currently, Jameson is outpacing Old Crow as the whiskey of choice for a pickleback.
6. After gaining traction in Brooklyn, the pickleback spread like wildfire throughout the US and Europe. London's Pitt Cue BBQ claims to be the first Euro League pickleback pro, introducing it to the menu in 2011.
7. Not to be outdone, the Burlington Hotel in Sheringham, England, has 10 varieties of brine to choose from, none of which are McClure's.
8. The original pickleback used McClure's pickles, which are manufactured in Brooklyn and Detroit (you may remember it from such pickles as "Spicy" and "Garlic Dill"). It is generally frowned upon to use mass-produced pickles for a pickleback.
9. Science calls brine a hangover cure. Well, it says that the acetic acid in the vinegar is an antidiuretic that contains electrolytes and absorbs salt. Pair it with hair of the dog, and you've got yourself a perfect breakfast drink.
10. Pickle juice is also said to reduce cramps in athletes, so it'll totally help your darts game or allow you to swim less than 30 minutes after consuming pickles.
11. In 2010, a Facebook user launched a campaign to see if a pickleback page could get more likes than Nickelback. It outpaced the Canadian butt-rock band's 1,423,000 likes. Then the page disappeared, and Nickelback's likes elevated to more than 18 million. Then the lead singer started banging Avril Lavigne. Nickelback wins.
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Andy Kryza is Thrillist's national eat/drink senior editor, and has proudly lived vegetable-free since 2001. Follow his adventures/slow decline via Twitter at @apkryza.