Spicy Beer or Bourbon Pickles

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Photo by Philippa Langley
These pickles taste well on a sandwich or by themselves.
2-4 days DURATION
2-4 days PREP TIME
4 8-ounce tall jars SERVINGS


  • 2 1/2 pounds small pickling cucumbers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup local craft beer or a bourbon whiskey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes, or to taste


  • Trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut lengthwise into quarters. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
  • Prepare the brine by combining the rest of the ingredients, along with the garlic, in a medium, stainless steel pan, then bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • Collect the cucumber quarters into one big vertical bunch and pack them lengthwise (upright) into warm, dry sterilized jars.
  • Pour in the cooled brine to fill the jars to about 1/4 inch below the rim. Tap the jars gently to remove any air bubbles and top up with brine if necessary.
  • Seal and store in the fridge for at least 2–4 days before eating to allow the flavors to permeate.   Keeps for up to 4 months in the fridge unopened. Once opened, keep refrigerated and eat within 4 weeks.

    More From The Modern Preserver:

    Mulled Apple CiderSummer Berry and Lemon Thyme Jam   • Berry Curds
    Excerpted from The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton (The Countryman Press). Copyright © 2015.

The Modern Preservermodern preserver by Kylee Newton (The Countryman Press, 2015) guides you through how to preserve produce. Newton puts her contemporary twist on classic preservation favorites. These pickles have a little boozy twist with the addition of beer or bourbon.

These New York-style pickled cucumbers, a bit like gherkins, are great for barbecues and burgers but are also good enough to eat straight from the jar. Cucumbers absorb other flavors really well so they make the perfect ingredient for pickling with booze, such as a local craft beer or a good bourbon whiskey.