Adding pickle juice to your cocktail can cure hangovers
Drinking a Bloody Mary to cure a hangover doesn’t sound groundbreaking but Florence Cherruault’s concoction is super-powered. The Hackney mixologist and founder of The Pickle House says her revolutionary new cocktails will boost your immune system, curb sugar cravings and save you from a deadly headache the next day. The secret, she says, lies in a dusty Mason jar at the back of your kitchen cabinet.
The wonder ingredient is pickle juice, which is the miracle elixir behind Cherruault’s award-winning cocktail mix company and the name of her new book. It launches this month and it’s a micro-manual for surviving party season: a master guide to the capital’s hottest fermented concoctions, from a fiery Hawksmoor Bloody Mary to Cherruault’s own signature blend: spice, tomato juice and The Pickle House’s Original Pickle Juice, served over vodka.
It’s the ultimate hangover cure, says Cherruault. “The pickle juice is full of electrolytes which help rehydrate the body with nutrients, so there’s a health side to adding it into cocktails.” It’s also proven to soothe muscle cramps, boost vitamins and help with weight loss — crucial for surviving December’s revelry.
But there’s more than Bloody Marys: the book covers 50 of Cherruault’s hero recipes including a crowd-pleasing Dirty Pickled Martini, a refreshing Cucumber and Ginger Shrub and a fiery Pickleback (a shot of whisky followed by a shot of pickle juice) inspired by a trip to New York. “It’s very much a love it or hate it thing,” Cherruault explains. It’s a bit like trying your first coffee. “If you don’t like it the first time, you should always try a second.”
She’s always liked the sharp, briny taste of pickles ever since that trip to the US but understands that it can be a little “harsh” for the uninitiated. Which is why she includes a whole section on shrubs: pickles’ sweeter, fruit-infused cousin.
“It’s an easier way into drinking vinegar,” says Cherruault, and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Try the apple and cinnamon shrub for a festive tipple or join a cucumber shrub masterclass at Pickle Juice’s book launch this Wednesday at Coal Drops Yard.
It’s a customer favourite and pairs well with a G&T, though the beauty of a shrub is it makes a perfect mocktail if you want a night off drinking. “When you’ve got apple cider vinegar or pickle juice in your cocktail, it adds a depth of flavour to it,” says Cherruault. “It’s not like you’re just having Shloer.”
Which is important: people want that kick that makes them feel like they’re drinking something alcoholic. “The acidity from the vinegar adds a similar depth of flavour as spirits, so you can’t drink it as quickly as a really sugary drink,” she continues. Her mocktail of choice is one part shrub to three parts soda water, an alternative to sweet cordials, and a signature blend at neighbouring The Little Duck Picklery in Dalston.
Dirty Bones, Ping Pong and Sketch also offer fermented cocktails — some of which are in the book — but the beauty of pickle juice is how easy it is to make at home (and how colourful it looks in your cupboards). She wants Pickle Juice to be a beginners’ guide for mastering the art of fermented drinks but hopes that Londoners will start to get creative. Send in your own pickled elixir for a chance to be included on Cherruault’s website (or perhaps the next book). In the meantime, stock up Mason jars and get pickled, minus the hangover.