In April of this year, Hendrick’s posted an Instagram prank advertising Hendrick’s-branded pickles. Clever, but not an earth-shattering level of jokery, really.
Only now the pickles are real, courtesy of a collaboration with iconic Katz’s Delicatessen in New York, where they are available in store and for nationwide shipping, for a limited time. They’re made with a much different recipe than in Hendrick’s Instagram post, which has them brining in actual gin. Instead, the pickles from Katz’s (available by the quart) are described as half-sour, infused with traditional Hendrick’s gin botanicals — including rose and lots of juniper.
Much like Hendrick’s Gin, the process for creating Hendrick’s Gin and Katz’s Delicatessen Gin-Inspired Pickled Cucumbers was intricate and detailed, with a two-step brining process taking over 72 hours. Katz’s unique recipe features whole juniper berries and cubeb berries to best incorporate the botanicals of the gin into its half-sour brine.
While the full pickle (about 4 inches long) might be too large to be considered a true cocktail garnish, a slice or a spear might do the trick. Or you can simply eat them as a snack. Katz’s airlifted a sample to California for us to taste ahead of tomorrow’s rollout, so let’s get to it.
To start with, don’t come expecting a bracingly briny, vinegary traditional pickled cucumber like you get alongside your hoagie. The moderately sized cukes are brined in a surprisingly mild slurry that really protects the cucumber flavor. They are crisp and green, and they maintain that vegetal character that a classic, raw cucumber offers — the impact of the half-sour style showing itself. The brine is loaded (full) with juniper berries and cubeb, and aside from the cucumber itself and a lightly salty character, that piney juniper is the most prominent flavor present — though it’s mild. A floral note is also there, but it’s very subtle, along with what appears to be a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg that’s just barely detectable on the finish.
Does it taste like gin? Not exactly, but it’s closer to gin than any other pickle I’ve encountered, and it’s especially fun for its novelty value. Either way, I prefer a saltier style of pickle; the half-sour comes across as a bit too understated for me.
That said, if I may be so bold as to suggest a future collaboration: How about Hendrick’s and Katz’s Pickle-Flavored Gin? Make it happen, guys.
Note: These are fresh pickles that continue to pickle in the container and are recommended to be consumed within 5 or 6 days.
B / $15 per quart / katzsdelicatessen.com