How to use pickle juice in your margaritas

Row of margaritas in glasses on bar

With Cinco de Mayo coming up rapidamente, margaritas are on a lot of minds right now. (More than usual, anyway.) If you’re bringing the drinks to a party, consider toting along a jar of pickle brine to liven things up.

No! Wait! Come back!

It sounds bizarre, but hear me out. A little twist of pickle could be the perk your margarita needs — and it makes sense when you think about it.

Consider a chocolate chip cookie with grains of coarse salt on top: The salt serves to amplify the sweetness.


Really, a little extra salt enriches and deepens all of the flavors, making for a more satisfying sweet.

The same is true for a margarita. Remember that salt-dusted rim on the glass? It’s there to add deliciousness. So, why not see what happens with a zap of salty pickle brine?


There’s no set recipe for how to add brine to the cocktail. There’s also no one particular brine to use — saving some extra brine from an empty jar works just as well as homemade pickle juice.

One version, from the Washington Post, mixes 1 ounce of pickle brine with tequila, simple syrup, lime juice, Cointreau and orange bitters. Imagine the bright, citrus-y goodness!


A recent rendition featured in Southern Living suggests simply adding a splash of brine to your current favorite margarita recipe. You can garnish your glass with lime zest and salt, too, and throw in a little pickle spear while you’re at it.

After all, experimentation can yield some surprisingly tasty results. Just remember you can always add more of something, but you can’t take it out, so start small with the brine if you’re feeling timid.

Light, bright and not too sweet — if this is how you like your margs, that pop of pickle brine might be just what you need at this year’s fiesta.


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About the Author
Kathleen St. John
Kathleen St. John is a freelance journalist. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids and a fiercely protective Chihuahua.

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