Pickle Juice Belongs In Your Margarita This Summer—Trust Us

Don't knock it until you try it.

Classic Margaritas on the Rocks
These are potent, yet amazingly smooth-tasting when you use good-quality tequila and orange liqueur and thoroughly shake the mixture with ice before pouring over ice cubes to serve. Recipe:. Photo: Southern Living

Pickles are one of the most common accouterments for a Southern table. We put pickles in just about any recipe under the sun: deviled eggs, potato salad, even martinis. Come spring and summer, the quick pickle is a mealtime staple. Simply combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and herbs of choice (such as dill), add the concoction until it covers your favorite veggie, and refrigerate. Whether you choose cucumbers, okra, or carrots, the result is crisp, fresh pickles.

Once you devour those dills, you're left with a jar of briny liquid. Don't toss it! Save your leftover pickle juice. You'll be surprised by how many recipes pickle juice can upgrade. Think marinade, canning, and even more pickles. However, the best way to use leftover pickle juice just might be to mix up a tangy twist on a classic cocktail: a pickle juice margarita.

I had my first pickle margarita in Columbus, Georgia at Saltcellar. Dubbed the Pickle Rick after a particularly notorious episode of the animated series, Rick and Morty, the drink includes house-infused jalapeno tequila, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, and you guessed it, pickle juice.

Why Pickle Juice Works in a Margarita

Incorporating pickle juice into an otherwise basic margarita adds the slightest salty flavor which creates a zesty finish. "It's not overly sweet, and I don't think it's too sour," says restaurant owner Tom Jones. It's the ideal balance of sweet and salty that our tastebuds crave.

The Pickle Rick is a collaboration between Jones and his bar manager, Callie Howard, and it landed on the restaurant's cocktail menu thanks to an abundance of leftover brine. "We sell a lot of hamburgers, so we buy five-gallon buckets of pickles. We simply take the juice out of the pickle buckets because that's something that would otherwise be wasted," says Jones. We've heard of whole-hog and whole-fish cooking, but whole-pickle is a new concept we can't help but love, too.

How to Make a Pickle Juice Margarita

To create your own pickle juice margarita at home, add a splash of brine to taste to your favorite margarita recipe. Don't forget to garnish your glass too. Jones says that's the ticket to an especially delicious drink. "We add a little bit of lime zest to the salt rim to make it tarter. Then comes the pickle slice and the jalapeno as a garnish to give more depth and color," he says. Cheers to a new drink to relish!

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