Pickle Brine Is Why the Polish Don’t Get Hangovers, by Kamila Rymajdo (Vice)
... As our photographer looks on in disgust, I down the whiskey and brine shots McGraw offers me. I’m surprised—I rather enjoy the taste, despite not usually liking whiskey. Pickle brine, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. Essentially vinegar infused with herbs and spices such as garlic, dill, peppercorns, and chilies, it’s a well-known hangover tonic back in my native Poland.
If you've ever been to points throughout the Slavic East, the notion of chasing shots with food will be very familiar. The beauty of dining out in Russia on black market money during Communism wasn't the main courses, but the openers, lots of salted, pickled or smoked nibbles for downing along with the bottle of vodka. It's been a while for me, but surely this cultural tradition remains intact.
“I discovered pickle juice when I started drinking vodka as a teenager. I didn’t like vodka cocktails so I started having shots. Some people don’t need to chase vodka with anything but I did and I always preferred chasing them with food. Slices of tomato or cubed cheese—whatever, really. Then someone recommended pickles as a good chase. I tried them and it became my favourite. I wasn’t able to drink vodka without them. One day, I woke up after a night of drinking and there was half a pickle jar left. I ate them and then I had the juice too and I started feeling much better.
“Basically you drink and eat all night. Nobody ever drinks on an empty stomach. Snacks like pickled cucumbers, marinated mushrooms, and ham are of most importance—hence we are able to drink vodka straight from the glass or by the bottle. Pickled juice is like an easy transition: you’re no longer able to chew but you’re still able to swallow!”