My love for pickles runs deep, and I’ve unpacked that love multiple times here at The Takeout. But something that has warmed my briny heart recently is that major food and beverage brands—and by extension, the general public—are finally beginning to recognize everything pickles have to offer.
From fast food to fine art, pickles are in the spotlight, just as they deserve to be.
Back by popular demand (though for a very limited time), Sonic is offering two pickle-focused items on its menu once again. The drive-in chain announced in a press release that both the Pickle Juice Slush and the Big Dill Cheeseburger are available at participating locations until August 28. (If you miss that window, Bon Appetit has you covered.)
For those unfamiliar with these previously launched menu items, the Pickle Juice Slush combines “the flavor of a salty dill pickle with a sweet slush for a refreshingly tart treat that tastes just like you’re sipping out of the pickle jar,” reads the press release. Sonic also notes that the slush is one of the most highly requested items on its social media accounts since its debut in 2018.
The Big Dill Cheeseburger, which launched in April of this year and sold out quickly, according to Sonic, is topped with American cheese, lettuce, pickle fries, pickle slices, and a dilly ranch sauce. Although our taste test noted that this pickly offering could have been a little better, I cannot commend Sonic enough for making pickle-lovers like myself feel heard by the fast food industry.
Thanks to a collaboration between Grillo’s Pickles and Ithaca Hummus, I have finally tasted a mass-market pickle snack worthy of its name. In a press release sent to The Takeout in June, the delicious hummus creation was described as one that “amplifies any burger or hot dog with a refreshing, pickle-forward bite and brings a kick of dill when topped on sandwiches and dipped with crudité.”
Having tried the hummus myself, I can attest that each note of the spread is pickle-forward. Unike a previous collaboration between Grillo’s and Utz, which resulted in disappointingly one-note (read: dill-flavored) potato chips, this pickle hummus finally delivered on the flavor—the salty sourness of a real pickle is on full display. Although it was originally announced as a limited-time release, this hummus is still available for purchase, and I have a feeling it could become a permanent offering.
Busting out of drive-thrus and grocery store aisles, pickles have even made it into the art world. A pickle installation was recently featured in Auckland, New Zealand’s Michael Lett gallery, reported The Cut. An artist named Matthew Griffin took a single pickle slice from a McDonald’s cheeseburger and threw it at the gallery ceiling. The pickle managed to remain stuck there for an entire month, and that is what I call artistry. If you’re still doubtful of pickles’ recent cachet, consider that the art installation was priced at $6,275.
Why wouldn’t pickles be having a moment? It’s one that’s well deserved; even the brine has multiple valuable purposes. I hope that as 2022 comes to a close and new trends come rolling in to replace the old ones, brands never stop believing in the power of the pickle.