Pickle vodka exists—and it isn’t a joke. We might be in the age of extreme flavored spirits, like scorpion vodka and unicorn tears gin, but that doesn’t mean all non-neutral vodkas are jumping the shark and taking on flavors for shock value alone.
Blue Spirits Distillery makes a selection of fresh flavored vodkas, including grapefruit, cucumber, ginger and lavender, all infused with quality ingredients. This isn’t a distillery looking to make headlines with a prank. It isn’t trying to trend on Facebook or make something that’s only ever drunk on a dare. It’s a distillery looking to make great spirits that people will actually want to drink on a regular basis, which is why we had no choice but to trust that they knew what they were doing when they put out a pickle vodka.
Made in Leavenworth, Washington (the state’s own little Bavaria), the pickle vodka, like all of Blue Spirits’s other vodkas, starts with pristine, Lake Chelan water and American grains. It’s distilled seven times before distillers infuse it with hand-selected, pickled cukes. The resulting spirit is salty upfront with a creamy, dill-tinged middle and a briny burn, which makes sense—the vodka clocks in at 120 proof. It finishes on a fresh cucumber note, helping to cleanse your palate and ready yourself for the next sip.
This isn’t a flavored vodka for those who want to forget they’re drinking alcohol. It doesn’t taste like you’re biting into a crunchy spear or taking a shot of pickle juice. It is definitely, undeniably vodka. It tastes like vodka. It feels like vodka. It just happens to also include a savory slick of pickled goodness.
The pickle vodka is currently only available at the distillery’s tasting room (though the company is working on increasing distribution throughout the country), for $12.50 per 50-ml bottle. That’s not a lot of pickle vodka, you’re thinking. You’re right—but it’s enough, if you’re using it right. Unless you want a mouth-drying, ultra-high-proof, knock-you-on-your-butt Dirty Martini, it’s best used sparingly. Add a quarter ounce of the pickle vodka to your usual Dirty Martini mix and experience salty greatness (for a truly brine-tastic cocktail, dash in a few drops of The Bitter Truth’s new olive bitters). You could try a full shot-and-a-half in your Bloody, but we recommend starting light, blending this potent potion with a neutral vodka or even tequila for a balanced, umami bomb of a drink. Or, hell, down the whole mini bottle in one gulp and prove your mettle. Consider us impressed—and a little bit annoyed you didn’t share any with us.