A couple of years ago, I made Molotov cocktail pickles with vodka. Before that I made maple whiskey/whiskey pickles & hop pickles. There was also a grilled pickle recipe I made a while back. Maybe I’m kinda known for making odd or unique pickles at this point.
So when the idea struck me for these I don’t think anyone was surprised.
See, in Russia, apparently it’s a thing to serve pickles with vodka. Not only that, but it’s a big process with shots of vodka, dill pickles & a piece of pumpernickel bread. I didn’t know this, which maybe I should considering Jay is part Russian. And very Russian at that: his great-grandfather fought in the Russian Army in the 19-teens.
But at any rate as soon as I heard this little bit of information it got me thinking (just like how the idea of “pickle backs“ got me thinking of whiskey pickles). First I thought of just adding vodka to regular pickles, then I figured why not go all the way…
All the way to a martini, that is!
A traditional martini is made with gin (and nobody wants gin & pickles together, ever. EVER.). So this is a spin on a vodka martini; and therefore it contains olive juice, an olive and two pearl onions. Vodka martinis can be “dirty”; served with olive juice & an olive, or straight up. A Gibson martini is served with an onion, usually a pearl onion.
So it stands to reason in this batch of pickles, there’s both olive juice and pearl onions. Oh! And an olive too.
Makes a quart or more
- 4-5 Kirby cucumbers, sliced into chips
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup white vinegar, 5%
- 1/3 cup vodka (I used Stoli, because Russian)
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 2 springs fresh dill
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon pickling spice
- 2 whole pearl onions (on the large side)
- 1 teaspoon olive juice (the liquid from a jar of stuffed Manzanilla olives)
- 1 stuffed Manzanilla olive
- Pack the cucumbers loosely in a jar along with the dill sprigs & olive.
- Bring water, vinegar, pickling spice, peppercorns, pearl onions and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add vodka. Pour the hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/2″-inch headspace. Place lids, screw bands to fingertip tight, and process jars for 10 minutes in a waterbath canner.
- Check for seal after 12 hours, if not sealed put them in the fridge and eat ‘em now. If they are sealed, let these bad boys sit for a week or so to infuse all the flavors together.
- Alternatively, make them refrigerator pickles and omit the water bath step (as I did). They still need to sit for a week!
Serve them in a martini glass for extra cuteness. Or just any little glass dish…
Disclaimer: No, it’s not cucumber or pickle season yet. But when you have an idea, sometimes you have to just run with it!