Making your own whiskey pickled cucumbers at home is easy and delicious! These boozy pickles are bursting with flavor from the whiskey brine.
Whiskey pickles are a fun twist on classic dill pickles. The whiskey adds a subtle aroma and taste that enhances the natural flavors of the cucumbers.
This easy whiskey pickle recipe only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. Then you just need to wait at least 5 days for the flavors to properly develop before enjoying. The end result is crunchy, tangy and perfectly pickled cucumbers with notes of oak and vanilla from the whiskey.
Keep reading to learn how to make whiskey pickles at home with a simple list of ingredients. We’ll cover step-by-step instructions, storage tips and serving suggestions so you can enjoy these boozy Southern-inspired pickles all season long!
How To Make Whiskey Pickles
To make about 1 quart of whiskey pickles, you will need:
- 1 pound small pickling cucumbers
- 1 cup whiskey (bourbon or rye)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Step 1: Wash and dry the cucumbers.
Rinse the cucumbers under running water and scrub off any dirt or debris. Pat them completely dry with a paper towel or clean dish cloth.
Step 2: Trim the ends.
Trim off the ends of the cucumbers and any imperfections or mushy spots. This prevents spoilage during pickling.
Step 3: Make the brine.
In a medium saucepan, combine the whiskey, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes (if using).
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, remove from heat.
Step 4: Let the brine cool.
Let the brine cool completely to room temperature. This process can be sped up by placing the saucepan in an ice bath.
Step 5: Pack cucumbers into a jar.
Tightly pack the trimmed cucumbers into a 1 quart mason jar or other heatproof glass container.
Step 6: Pour cooled brine over cucumbers.
Slowly pour the cooled brine over the packed cucumbers until they are completely submerged. Leave at least 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
Step 7: Seal and refrigerate.
Secure the lid tightly on the jar. Refrigerate for at least 5 days before eating to allow the flavors to properly develop.
Whiskey pickles will keep refrigerated for up to 3 months. Over time, they continue to get more flavorful.
Make sure the cucumbers stay fully immersed in the brine during storage. Top it off with additional vinegar if needed.
For long term storage, process the sealed jars in a water bath canner for 10-15 minutes. Then they can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Serving Whiskey Pickles
Whiskey pickles are delicious served cold, straight from the jar. The possibilities don’t stop there though! Here are some ways to enjoy your homemade boozy pickles:
- On a cheese board
- In a classic Southern pimento cheese sandwich
- On a burger or hot dog
- Chopped up in potato or egg salad
- As a topping for nachos or chili
- In a Bloody Mary cocktail
- Alongside smoked meat, cheeses and crackers
The sweet, tangy and whiskey-infused flavor complements so many recipes. Get creative with how you use these tasty pickled cucumbers!
FAQs About Making Whiskey Pickles
What type of whiskey works best?
Bourbon and rye whiskey are traditional choices that add great flavor to the brine. Tennessee whiskey like Jack Daniels also pairs nicely.
Stay away from heavily peated Scotch whisky, as the smoky notes will overwhelm the other flavors. Vodka can be substituted for a lighter flavor.
How long do they need to ferment?
At minimum, the pickles need 5 days refrigerated to ferment and absorb flavors from the brine.
For best flavor, allow them to ferment for 2-3 weeks before sampling. They will continue to get more complex over time.
Can I use frozen or jarred cucumbers?
It’s best to use fresh pickling cucumbers for the crispiest texture and most flavor. Frozen or jarred cucumbers tend to go mushy during pickling.
What if the cucumbers start to float?
Over time, air pockets can form in the cucumbers, causing them to float. Simply push them back down to re-submerge in brine.
If they won’t stay down, make a “pickle weight” by putting a sealed plastic bag filled with extra brine on top to weigh them down.
Can I customize the flavor?
Absolutely! Some other flavor additions to try:
- Fresh dill
- Garlic cloves
- Pickling spice
- Coriander seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Bay leaves
- Onion slices
- Chili flakes or jalapeno slices (for spicy pickles)
Get creative and add the seasonings you enjoy most!
With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can easily make your own delicious whiskey pickled cucumbers. The secret is allowing time for the brine to properly infuse the cucumbers with flavor.
Keep a batch of whiskey pickles stocked in your fridge to enjoy all season long. They also make a great homemade gift!
We hope these tips help you learn how to make whiskey pickles just like the pros. Let us know if you have any other pickle-making questions.