As a girl whose drunk eats preferences legitimately lean toward the Big Texas Cinnamon Roll you can purchase from the vending machine at Chuck E. Cheese's, rather than the normal human's slice of pizza, I was extremely hesitant to try my first pickleback shot. Salty is not my thing, so why on earth would I submit myself to two forms of liquid poison?

However, after a couple of shots chased with some of my favorite sweet drinks, my judgement became clouded, my inhibitions weakened, and like too many common drunken tales, I stumbled home with the wrong guy. Yep, I slept with a pickleback shot.

Rather than avoiding eye contact with one another for the next four months, we actually got married. I found my soulmate in a whiskey/brine match made in heaven, and I needed to know why we were all so compatible, so I did some digging. 

Where did you come from, you stunner, you?

Hannah Petersen

So, apparently, people have been chasing whiskey with pickle brine for years. You know the classic American history scene —colonial garb, corsets, sun umbrellas, coattails, a John Hancock on the constitution, and a pickleback shot to celebrate. To freedom! However, the drink wasn't officially deemed "pickleback" until 2006.

According to Brooklyn bartender, Reggie Cunningham, this is the year when he was approached by a woman at the Bushwick Country Club who encouraged him to do a series of whiskey shots followed by pickle brine. Like me, he fell in love, and he deemed it the pickleback. The rest is history.

Why are whiskey and pickle brine as compatible as french fries dipped in milkshakes?

oil, tea, vegetable
Christin Urso

According to Jamie Berger, co-founder of London's Pitt. Cue Co. barbecue restaurant, "It works because the pickle juice acts as a natural reset to your throat and tastebuds from the harshness of the whiskey." It's almost like it shocks your system.

Have you ever gotten a headache and felt like, if you could just bang your head up against a wall and send a pain wave throughout your skull, it'd numb the pain and the headache would be gone? No? Yes? Speaking from experience (Yep, I am, in fact, insane), this absolutely does not work, but in the pickle and whiskey scenario, it absolutely does. 

Pour some *salt on me

salt, flour, ice
Bobbi Lin

The fun food science doesn't stop there. According to Kantha Shelke, a spokeswoman for Chicago's Institute of Food Technologists, salt is one of the best masking ingredients known to mankind (finally some validation for dumping three shakers worth into grandma's flavorless broth). 

When the compounds in the brine combine in the tastebuds with what's left from the whiskey, an umami flavor that isn't present in either liquid alone is created. MAGIC — no, SCIENCE, which, by the way, is so much cooler when it has to do with creating novel flavor combinations and not with dissecting owl pellets.

mustard, pickle
Brianna Caleri

So, there you have it. Regardless of what nutritionists say, sometimes salt is absolutely not the enemy. If pickle juice and whiskey have the ability to create a flavor they don't possess alone, what other combinations might produce enticing tastes when combined? THINK ABOUT IT. 

Whoever wants to attempt cheese and apple pie, peanut butter and goat cheese, or a mayo and grape jelly sandwich, go for it, and let me know if you have any eureka moments. If you're not down, for now, we can all just be thankful for Reggie and agree to keep throwin' back the picklebacks.