Ask any good mixologist and they’ll tell you — the key to a good cocktail is good ingredients. We wanted to tell you more about what goes into our drinks and the people who make them, so welcome to Behind the Bar.
This time we’re talking to The Pickle House: discussing their award-winning pickle juice, life in the drinks industry, and of course, cocktails…
Hey Florence! Firstly, the thing you probably get asked the most — why Pickle Juice?!
I’ve always loved all things pickled but it was while on holiday in New York that I first tried a Pickleback, a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. The whole concept seemed totally mad but I loved it and loved the idea of drinking the leftover juice from a jar of pickles. After that, I was hooked and had to find a way of making pickle juice back home.
For those who haven’t tried it, what makes the Pickle Juice taste so special?
I created our recipe specifically for drinking. We infused it for 12 weeks in vinegar with sliced cucumbers, turmeric, fennel and celery allowing all the flavours to blend together nicely and create this delicious, umami-enriched flavour.
How did you first get into the drinks industry and how have you found it?
When I first started making Pickle Juice I was only making about 6 bottles at a time in my flat in Hackney. I’d then go around local bars to introduce them to it and get them to try it. We started selling it to Hawksmoor and the whole team there were great. I’ve found the drinks industry as a whole an amazing industry to work in. Everyone is so friendly and all want to help each other out.
What does a day in the life of a Pickle Juice founder look like? (We’re thinking you might be one of a very small number in the UK!)
Haha yes, apart from some really great bars making their own Pickle Juice I think I might be the only one bottling it and selling it. Most days can be quite different but I’ll always have a call first thing with Ed who heads up our operations and production. I try not to fill my whole day with emails but I seem to always be battling my inbox! I like to focus more of my time on collaborations and marketing. We just did a Bloody Mary workshop with Seedlip at a festival which was great! I’m now working with a hotel group and vodka brand to create some events that’ll take place this summer. We have a sales agency we work with but I also always try to allow 1-2 hours a day on new business, researching new bars, restaurants, and hotels along with export opportunities.
What are your favourite cocktails to make using the Pickle Juice?
My favourite refreshing summer cocktail is our In a Pickle - 1 shot Pickle Juice, 1 shot gin topped with a nice ginger ale and a squeeze of lime. Build in a rocks glass filled with ice. You can also add in a slice of chili if you want to spice it up a little. And of course, my absolute favourite is a Bloody Mary.
You also make an award-winning Spiced Tomato Mix (perfect for Bloody Marys!), what made you explore this?
When we were testing out different pickle juice recipes and trying out what it would taste great in. The Bloody Mary stood out by far. The addition of pickle juice into a Bloody Mary adds a whole new depth of flavour. I now can’t drink a Bloody Mary without pickle juice in.
What’s keeping you busy at the moment? Are there any new products we can look forward to?
I’m really excited about the launch of our Bloody Mary with Edmunds Cocktails. With both of us being Suffolk-based companies it’s been really nice to work together on this. We’re also currently working on a Bloody Mary Gift Box that’ll include all the amazing bits you’ll need to make a Pickle House Bloody Mary (along with some added extras!). We’re hoping to launch them in the next month.