Athena’s Pickle Juice Adventure

1. Athena idly wonders what, in fact, a shot of pickle juice might taste like:

2. Enabled Encouraged by her idiot loving father, our young adventurer soon has a shot glass filled with briny liquid.

3. Down the hatch.

4. Upon completion, Athena strikes a pose remarkably similar to that of Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

5. Her expression says, “It has a piquant body, with vinegar undertones and hints of cucumber and alum.”

6. Final verdict: A too-cool-for-school thumbs up.

Join us next week, when we try a mayonnaise smoothie!

69 Comments on “Athena’s Pickle Juice Adventure”

  1. Oh my GOD, your daughter is ROCKSAUCE. Also, she’s hardcore. Please tell her I said so.

    Also, her dad’s pretty cool, too. Even if he DOES use her “adventures” as blog fodder. :) Seriously, though, you two seem to have such an awesome relationship. Fabulous!

  2. You know, I always thought she took after her mother. But when she makes that pickle juice face, I can see her resemblance to you.

  3. Hell, we used to drink pickle juice all the time when we were kids. My favorite was bread & butter pickle juice.

  4. The thought of a mayonnaise smoothie is seriously turning my stomach. And at the same time I’m very curious to see what the pictures of that would turn out like.

  5. I think you have started a meme. My eight year-old read this and declared that she would take a shot of pickle juice if I would post photos of her to my blog.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have any pickles in the fridge, so the experiment might have to wait until tomorrow.

  6. I’ve been drinking the juice out of the pickle jars for years now. It is delicious.

  7. When I was a kid it was a well known fact that drinking pickle juice would solidify your blood. Even so, I loved it all the same.

  8. Please tell me you aren’t trying to work her up to a gallon of milk…

    Steven (who tried a deep fried lemon last week).

  9. In my hometown (San Antonio, TX) there we lots of people who would sell candy out of their converted vans in some of the poorer neighborhoods (which sounds so sketchy, but it wasn’t that bad). The one that always parked at our local pool also sold Raspas (snowcones) and giant pickles. You could specially request pickle flavor raspas, which was the brine poured over the ice instead of a flavor syrup. One of my friends was a big fan.

  10. During my own attempt at this when appx. 10 years old, I found that if you drink alot of Sweet Pickle juice it will cause hurling of epic proportions but Dill pickle juice sits easy on the stomach.

    I still don’t like sweet pickles for some reason…

  11. Vlasic pickle juice? Ew, ew, ew. Go for the quality pickle juice, like the juice from homemade pickled string beans. I used to drink jars of the stuff when I was Athena’s age.

  12. Yessssss.

    I admit to having done this all on my own without John Scalzi on hand to take photos of it.

    Though, addict that I am, I didn’t bother with the shot glass — I drank it straight from the jar.

  13. If you leave off the first image, you look like either the best or the worst father ever.

  14. I’m pretty sure I just listened to an interview with Tom Robbins where he admitted to a love of mayonnaise– he and some friends needed to add something to their gin, and all he had at home was some sort of syrup and mayo. The syrup and gin was not a hit, but they liked the mayo and called it a Gin Greasy.

  15. I’m surprised no one’s pointed this out yet–pickle juice is EXTREMELY effective for getting electrolytes and other essential things back into you after you exercise, surprisingly. Better than Gatorade. There is actually a company that makes a sports drink with pickle juice: They say it helps prevent muscle cramps when drunk in addition to other fluids during exercise.

  16. And THAT is why Athena is quite possibly the most awesome girl this side of the equator! I intend for my niece to turn out simarily.

  17. Julia @ 23:

    In the SCA, where soft modern folks put on poorly breathing leather/metal armor and beat on each other with sticks in the hot sun, pickle juice is a popular and historically plausible source of electrolytes.

    From personal experience I can say that while it is sort of “eww/pucker” if you haven’t been sweating your crack off, it is veritable nectar of the gods if you have been.

  18. There’s only one way to drink pickle juice, and that’s straight from the jar. (And I should know. Pickles are a Zugale family genetic addiction.)

    Step it up, Athena, step it up.

  19. Be careful. My significant other became addicted to pickle juice and we generally have a house full of brineless pickles…

  20. Well, the mayo smoothie sounds lovely, but you should make miracle whip and peanut butter smoothie.
    I mean that.
    Or if you don’t have the stomach for the smoothie, you can tone it down with MW and peanut butter, with lettuce on soft white bread. (do not toast – it ruins it.)

  21. The takeaway from the NY Times article is that it’s the vinegar in the pickle juice that does the heavy lifting. Of course, pure vinegar is not as easy to drink.

  22. I’m not the only one who drinks pickle juice straight from the jar? That’s good to know. I’ll have to tell my sis that when I get home – she thinks I’m just weird.

    Only dill pickles, though. Sweet pickle juice = ew!

  23. Athena is hardcore intense. Though you all claim pickles are delicious, I remain sceptical. I’ll take my cucumbers plain, thankyouverymuch!

  24. I came back to read everyone else’s responses but I couldn’t help adding that John, if I ever get to meet you, I frankly am going to just want to hang out with your daughter because she’s one cool cat and the world needs more of them her age.

  25. Yuck. I have a sensitive tummy. My younger son loves to suck on lemons. It’s like fingernails on a blackboard for me to watch him.

    You should get Athena and Joe Mallozzi to eat strange things (although I do admit pickle juice really isn’t that strange). Joe will eat just about any kind of food or drink any kind of drink. And he posts about it.

  26. Also, making your own pickles is fun and not too hard. Quick pickles are easy and fast, but the ones you need to let sit and ferment are even better.

    If you’ve never had a real old fashioned non-mass produced pickle, and are stuck with no other options than that Vlassik or Clausen stuff, ping me if you’re ever in NYC, I’ll hook you up. You won’t want to go back.

  27. Kids used to make popsicles with pickle juice when I was a kid. Ick! lol. Then there is always the Koolickle! Originated right here in the Mississippi Delta. Google it. Crazy stuff but I hear they are tasty. I’m not a pickle fan so I have no idea, lol.

  28. My wife is a pickle juice from the jar drinker. “It’s best that way”, she just said. I grew up in a mostly pickle-less home, and so I’m still a bit skeptical of drinking the juice. Eating them, fine.

  29. My first thought, as it usually is when pickles are involved, was to run current through it. A friend and I found that the brine works almost as well as the pickle itself. You really do have to use full wall current to get it to work nicely, though; batteries won’t cut it. (And be careful with whatever you use for “probes” to stick into the pickle; the pickle itself vapourizes around the probes, so the probes tend to move around a bit if they’re not attached to something.)

    I use the electric pickle to teach about quantum mechanics at university. Another friend of mine has actually managed to tie it into every science curriculum across all of high school, IIRC.

    Incidentally, pickled eggs work just as well. But take my word for it. The smell is… pretty much what you’d expect vapourized egg to smell like… The colour is the same, though. :)

  30. I am from San Antonio, TX and I’ve never seen or heard of pickle popsicles or anything like that, not even in the several neighborhoods I’ve lived in. I’m almost 40, so that’s over a decent length of time. I do remember seeing the large pickles sold individually at certain convenience stores, but would never have thought of drinking the juice. Of course, I’m one of those people who can’t eat pickles because they cause massive stomach upset, but I never really thought they tasted that good, so I’m not too sad about that. The rest of my family and friends, however, love them. I guess it’s not in the genes.

  31. The last picture makes me think of that old Red Skelton line: “Guzzler’s Gin–smooooooth!”

  32. Two thoughts:

    One, my partner apparently tried a shot of pickle juice as a child, ’cause they’d run out of actual pickles. Ruined him on pickles for years.

    Two: the look on Athena’s face is reminiscent of the expression of a kid I met at a party a few weeks ago, who, upon being urged to try one of the disgusting Scandinavian* salty tar-flavoured candies that all of the adults were touching their tongues to and then spitting out, chewed on it for several minutes and insisted that he liked it. (Then he came around to spit it out when no one but me was looking.) I can only imagine the hilarity if they ever met!

    *I don’t really know what they are, or if any self-respecting Scandinavian eats them, but I was told they were Scandinavian candies.

  33. In California’s Renaissance Faires, where people dress for England in the Little Ice Age and then go out in the blazing California summer sun, they have a backstage drink called “bat sweat” consisting of 50/50 pickle juice and gatorade. They test for dehydration by making people drink it: if it tastes good, you’re dehydrated.

  34. I learned to read rediculously early. One day when I was 4 or 5, I saw a jug on the kitchen counter. It said “Apple” and “Cider” plus one other word I didn’t know. I poured some in a glass and took a big swig. If you haven’t guessed, the other word was “Vinegar.” I still didn’t know what it meant, but it sure didn’t taste very good.

    My sympathies to Athena.

  35. tariqata@43: It’s called salmiak — salty licorice — and yes, people really do actually eat it because they like it. I personally think it’s vile, but I’ve seen people actually enjoying it. It must be pretty popular in Finland, at least, because it takes up a fair portion of the candy aisle in Finnish grocery stores…

  36. Max Kaehn @#44 – I thought bat sweat was lemonade and salt. Maybe the recipe varies by region?

  37. I have to confess I’m a pickle juice addict, however, only of the sweet, yellow variant. Furthermore, pickle juice is perfect when added to south German style potato salad instead of vinegar. Hmmm!

  38. My father has told me that when he was a boy, you could, for a nickel, buy a can of sauerkraut juice, which he always found to be a very refreshing beverage.

  39. I like to drink wine glasses full of pickle juice (because we have no other glass drinking containers, not to enhance the flavor). This has led many a spectator to ask, “Are you… is that… absinthe?”

    I like to leave it mysterious, but the smell gives me away sooner or later.

  40. my ex makes pickle juice martinis. we were once engaged and when I found out about it recently, I told him its a good thing we broke up because I’d have to divorce him for it.

  41. I used to drink Mountain Dew at the daycare I worked at. When a curious 4 year old would ask what I was drinking, I told them “pickle juice”. They had no further interest. :o)

    (I’d answer “tree bark juice” for any dark colored soda and “onion juice” for any clear sodas.)

  42. So, when I was in college we “invented” a drink that was half mini sweet gherkin pickle juice and half tequila; we had literally nothing else to mix the tequila with.

    Turns out to be pretty decent- it tastes like a margarita that had a really rough night and is trying to sleep it off. It got to the point where we were buying pickles to get the brine.

    We called it the “Lumpy Phallus.”

    I’m not recommending it for Athena, mind you, but the more adventurous (or drunk) should give it a shot.

  43. Everyone worries about kids facing peer pressure.

    They should really worry about kids facing parental pressure. ;)

  44. You’re only encouraging her to drink other things that would be more embarrassing when her college pals post the pics to YouTube.

  45. Pickle juice: Best enjoyed either straight or with a jigger of vodka, chased with chilled water. The adulterated⁽ⁱ⁾ form tastes better to me than the average martini.⁽²⁾

    [1] Also ‘adult-rated’.
    [2] The average martini tastes as if it were made with petroleum distillates ordinarily found in gravel road mix.

  46. I know this has nothing to do with your article, but I was wondering if I could bounce some of my work off of you. Would that be ok?

    I’m a talented young writer with a lot of ambition. I’ve read some of your work and I really like what I see. I would be grateful if you took some time out to review/edit/rate some of my pieces. Thanks

  47. Ok, the official parent side of me is at a loss for words. The standard mix of horror and disbelief.

    However, the rest of me is quite impressed by Athena making it through this ‘adventure’ more or less un-scathed. Kudos!

    Of course, there’s a little part of me screaming “AWESOME!” and eagerly looking forward to the mayonnaise smoothie. And for that, sir, I applaud (and fear) your evil genius.

  48. She needs to try pickle juice and sprite. (Which is one of those beverages I made up while working at a movie theatre that sold both sprite and pickles in the concessions stand.)

  49. @Jeff Zugale – You are wrong sir. Pickle juice over ice is the official drink of summer.

    If my aunt had ever caught us drinink straight from the bottle she would have whooped our asses.

  50. Another pickle-juice drinker here, though I often dilute it with water. G. Jules #18: Vlasic? Eww! Try Ba-Tampte brand for a real pickle!

  51. By the way, I know exactly what a tablespoon of liquid saccharin tastes like.

    It is not an experiment that I am likely ever to willingly repeat….