Usually when one of my jokes goes too far, I end up doing something regrettable, like committing to live off of post-apocalyptic protein shakes or eating over one dozen purportedly “healthy” frozen pizzas for the sake of art. When Hendrick’s Gin takes a joke too far, a beautiful new pickle is born. And from that pickle comes an even more beautiful new cocktail.
“What started as an outlandish April Fool’s joke, quickly became a reality, as Hendrick’s Gin and a jar of pickles have more in common than one may have thought,” reads a press release heralding the arrival of Hendrick’s Gin and Katz’s Delicatessen Gin-Inspired Pickled Cucumbers. The Instagram post (from April 1, naturally) featured a jar of Hendrick’s gin-infused pickles. “Are Hendrick’s Gin-Infused Pickled Cucumbers a fantastic idea? YES. Are they real? NO. Are we selling them? NO,” read the post in part. But then Hendrick’s got to thinking about it, and couldn’t shake the idea.
It’s not so outlandish a premise. Cucumbers are one of the key ingredients used in Hendrick’s distillation process, and the idea of a pickle-based gin is more enticing than off-putting (to some of us). So surely flipping the script and making gin-pickled cucumbers would result in something equally delicious?
Just about any old schmo can make pickles. But if you’ve got visions of gin pickles dancing in your head, you’re going to want the best schmo in the biz to turn your dreams into reality. Enter, the pickle pros at 133-year-old New York City institution Katz’s Delicatessen.
After several months of across-the-pond collaborations, Hendrick’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie and fifth-generation Katz’s owner Jake Dell developed a two-step, 72-hour brining process that blends the botanical, juniper, and cubeb berry flavors of gin with the coriander-heavy profile of Katz’s legendary half sour pickles. And, just like anything else from either Hendrick’s or Katz’s, these pickles aren’t exactly cheap: The only way to purchase them is either in person at Katz’s or by ordering through the Katz’s website, where a single quart will set you back $14.95, shipping not included.
I found these “gin inspired pickles” to be a true revelation in the pickle arts—but then again, as someone born and raised in New York City, I find it impossible to dislike anything that comes out of Katz’s kitchen. So I decided to get second opinions from three different people who had never been to NYC, and had never even heard of Katz’s.
All of my taste testers agreed that there was undeniably something special about the pickles, even if they didn’t think it was worth spending $15 plus shipping on a single jar. I pointed out that Katz’s offers free shipping on all orders over $100 and it’s remarkably easy to spend hundreds of dollars on the Katz’s website, but that might be my inner New Yorker shining through again.
A fancy pickle calls for a sophisticated cocktail recipe to go with it. This crazy simple cocktail, which uses ultra-effervescent Topo Chico to create a buzzy, tingling mouthfeel, lets you enjoy pickles and gin at the exact same time.
- 1 small half sour pickle
- 2 oz. traditional or zero-proof gin
- 1/2 oz. pickle brine
- 4 oz. Topo Chico mineral water, ice cold
Cut one thick slice of pickle for garnish, then dice up the rest of the pickle and put in the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Add the gin and pickle brine; stir. Fill the glass to the top with Topo Chico, garnish with the pickle slice, and serve immediately.