So I got a wild hair one day in Feb and filled a bunch of Mason jars half full with random things and started soaking them in whiskey, vodka and sweet whiskey.

  1. I put a few pickle Spears in some whiskey (80 proof) was that a bad decision and will this make someone sick?
  2. I cut some strawberries in half and put them in vodka, 100 proof and some in the 80 whiskey.
  3. I then put some blueberries in vodka
  4. Quartered plums in whiskey
  5. I threw some halved strawberries in Tennessee honey

Other than one jar of strawberry/vodka, I didn't add sugar to any of these. I've been keeping them relatively dark and at room temperature. My plan is to bust them open near the holidays. Is any of this setting off red flags for someone who has done this before or does this regularly? I just don't want to make anyone sick unless its from drinking too much. (Kidding) My biggest concern is the pickle whiskey.... Everything else seems pretty normal as far as what I've looked up. Thanks in advance for any insight.

  • Pickle spears as in fresh cucumber or already picked? And what proof is the Tennessee honey?
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 5:55
  • Already pickled store bought quartered Spears. The tenesee honey is 70 proof.
    – Jacob Gray
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:16
  • 2
    Did you wash the outside of any of this? That would be the primary concern that I see; that, and 70 proof is fairly low for this type of infusion. The pickle infusion is probably okay from a safety perspective, even if it sounds... disgusting.
    – logophobe
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


You made something what in Poland we call tincture Nalewka . But we usually use 160 proof spirit. Fresh fruits in alcohol will infuse it with it's taste and sweetness. Very good with clean alcohol. Not so great with one that already have some aroma in it. May produce strange things as whiskey wood may not go well with some fruit freshness (for me anyway).

But the first things may be a red flag. First, what was the pickle made of? Vinegar, sugar, herbs, salt? If yes you may get something close to Smokey Martini.

Or did your pickles are type of polish ones? Not pickled but, you know, fermented, more salty, acidic ones?

The best way to check on how the infusion is going is to check bottom of jars, there should be some "dust/mud" at the bottom, this show that the alcohol is filtrating through the fruits. that bottom dust should not be drank. Also the nalewka should be more dense and sticky at it will absorb sugar.

You can open them and check the taste (I usually us syringe as not to stir the slime). And I would do that on the pickled ones.

  • Yeah I've noticed some mud at the bottom. Not sure what kind of pickles I'm sure they were more acidic because they were quartered Spears out of a store bought jar. 80 proof whiskey might not kill off as much bacteria is my concern I guess. I also added a bit of the pickle juice too...
    – Jacob Gray
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:15
  • 2
    80 proof is 40% so it's enough to kill acid bacteria. Was the pickle juice clear kind of yellowish hue or rather foggy, milky one? Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 11:20
  • The juice was yellow/transparent pretty sure it was vlassic brand pickles
    – Jacob Gray
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 7:32

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