Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We're in Quite a Pickle

The first time I tried a McClure's pickle was a newer restaurant in Astoria called Sweet Afton. They are served as a side, battered and deep fried. The best part about them is that they are spicy. They leave a burn in your mouth that makes you want another one. Before you know it you've eaten them all and are sad.

We had kind of forgotten about them until recently when Heather and I were watching the Food Network. It was during one of their ever-present marathons of food porn. Ten Diners, Drive-ins and Dives followed by a bunch of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. On one of the episodes of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Ted Allen talked about McClure's pickles as the perfect snack food. He mentioned their crunchiness, their spiciness and his ability to house an entire jar without thinking. It got me thinking about them...and talking about them to Heather. I was getting all wistful about how how good they were. The crunch. The burn. Heather--having the product fresh in her mind--ran off and bought a jar for us to enjoy.

I know what you're thinking..."Today is Wednesday...Wednesday is for drinks. The Wednesday booze blog on Epicurette is the one constant I have in my life. For the love of Pete, please don't take my drink blog away." Well relax. I thought it would be fun to try a noble experiment. Occasionally, in the places we go and the circles we travel, we will see a "Pickle Martini" on a drink menu. It is quickly dismissed, by us, as an eye grabber--something to show off how creative and bold a bar can be. "We put pickle brine in our drinks. We're CRAZY." This was kind of in the back of our heads when we got the jar.

The other day, Heather--that internet-happy partner of mine--was checking out the McClure's website for recipes, serving suggestions and what-have-you when she noticed a funny thing. There is a recipe for a McClure's Pickletini that reads:
Using your favorite gin or vodka, add a splash of McClure's spicy or garlic dill brine to liven up your cocktail. Garnish with a pepper, pickle or garlic clove left in the McClure's jar.
We decided to finally put this subject to rest, and what better way to test the mettle of this cocktail that with a trusted local brand like McClure's.

I mixed one up and decided to garnish with a bit of pickle. The result: The first couple of sips were an interesting sensation. Not entirely unpleasant and it had that nice burn that is indicative of a McClure's pickle. The next couple of sips were a bit more difficult because of the heavy sour/saltiness. By about midway through, I was struggling and not long after that I decided to throw in the towel. The drink was tasty but ultimately, I don't think it's for me. Part of it may be my small mindedness--the cognitive dissonance that comes from drinking a cocktail that tastes like a pickle; part of it may be because I used too much brine (a little under half an ounce.) Nevertheless, it is probably something I will not make again even though I will continue to eat and enjoy pickles--particularly McClure's brand pickles. If only I could get them to sponsor this blog...

The beer that I brewed is all done and we are in the process of tasting it. Stay tuned to next week's blog to find out how the beer turned out.

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