Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Four Loko Pickles. That's Right, I Said it. (Part 1: The Beginning)
So I had a can of Four Loko (watermelon) hidden away in the cabinet. I had bought this can prior to the recent ban with ideas of keeping it around as a cultural artifact. But it turns out that Four Loko is coming right back out sans the caffeine. If I am just going to be able to buy a close facsimile, I didn't really feel the need to keep ahold of the tall boy for posterity. As I certainly wasn't going to drink the nasty shit, the rusty gears of my culinary mind (the mind that previously brought you Bacon Rice Krispies Treats and White Castle Casserole) started to slowly turn as I pondered what to do with the camo can of caffeinated swill.
Divine inspiration was quick in arriving. I recalled a NY Times article about the deep south specialty that is the Kool Aid Pickle (I link to Slashfood because the stupid Times makes you log in now). Kool Aid pickles are your normal kosher dills that have been steeped in sugary Kool Aid brine. Supposedly, the pickles come out with an addictive sweet/sour tang, and the added bonus of having absorbed the garish color of your chosen Kool Aid flavor. It seemed to me that the Four Loko might be a good analogue for the Kool Aid in this recipe, only with more alcohol and caffeine.
I cracked open the watermelon flavored malt beverage and poured a little in a cup to get a look at its hue. Although there was a pungent stink, the Four Loko was not as vibrantly colored as I had hoped for. I think I might have to supplement with a little red food coloring. We shall see.
For the pickle component I had read that Mt. Olive Kosher Dills where a popular choice.
I poured the pickle juice, the whole can of Four Loko, and about a cup of sugar into a sauce pan and brought it up to a simmer. Watermelon Four Loko mixed with pickle brine smells about as good as you may have imagined it would...
When the pickle brine/malt likker/shoogar mixture had cooled somewhat I dumped it over the reserved pickles in a larger container. I also threw in a good healthy squirt of vodka, just for good measure. I washed and saved the actual pickle jar for presentation sake when the Four Loko pickles are ready.
As you can see, the Four Loko brine doesn't appear to contain the requisite food dye to give the pickle that nice, freaky, artificial color that you are looking for in this genre of pickle. I think I am going to add a little red food dye tomorrow to add to the final visual effect of the pickles. They are supposed to swim in the brine, refrigerated, for about a week.
I shall warily state that I have my suspicions that the Four Loko pickles might come out OK. It just may be one of those bizarre combinations that works for no particular reason at all. However, I will say that the phrase "watermelon-y, salty, sour, caffeinated, boozy pickle" starts my stomach a-churnin' just a little bit.
All there is to do now is wait. I shall definitely issue updates on this project as necessary.
If you are looking for another of pickle innovations whilst you wait, have a looksy at Sriracha Pickles.