Oregon Tavern Age: Pickle Juice

An OTA woman sat in OTA country and drank a cheap corporate lager. She was the joint’s cook and had just finished her breakfast shift and was done for the day. She was talking to the female OTA bartender and had the deepest voice I’d ever heard from a woman.

I sat at the corner table, sipped a porter, and was alternately writing a love poem about herons and looking out the window to see tourists taking selfies of themselves in the storm.

A game show played quietly on television and two cranberry farmers shot pool and bullshitted.

The bartender said she was cramping up. She hadn’t drank enough water.

“Drink pickle juice,” said the cook. “I always take a couple of shots from the pickle jar before work.” She explained the multiple health benefits of drinking pickle juice. It was damn near the elixir of life! The Internet said so.

The bartender left the bar and walked into the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator, took out the industrial-size dill jar of dill pickles, unscrewed the lid, and guzzled down some juice with both hands.

That was a first for me in OTA country.

A tall, thin, young, bearded man entered the bar and shook out the storm. He was clad head to toe in black and wore a ball cap sideways.

He glided toward the bar.

“Can I have a shot of Jameson and a shot of pickle juice?” he said.

Another OTA first for me, but I was more skeptical than surprised. Gimcrackery in motion. I mean, Jameson tastes good. Why kill the Irish burn with vinegar?

The bartender informed him that she’d just finished the last of the pickle juice, but then laughed, and said, “I’m just kidding.”

She walked into the kitchen and retrieved the pickle jar. She poured him a shot of juice and a shot of Jameson. He slammed the Jameson. Then the juice.

He shot two more Jamesons and two more pickle juices. Then a final belt of Jameson. The last shot made me wince.

All of this took five minutes.