Gin Rickey


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Welcome to the invigorating world of the Gin Rickey, a classic cocktail that epitomizes simplicity and refreshment. This highball drink, with its harmonious blend of gin, lime juice, and club soda, offers a tart and effervescent experience that’s perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon. Let’s dive into the crisp, citrusy notes of this beloved concoction and discover why it’s remained a favorite for over a century.

The Gin Rickey’s straightforward composition belies its complex flavor profile, which can be tailored to individual tastes. Its low-calorie count and refreshing nature make it an ideal choice for health-conscious drinkers and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Stick around as we explore the rich history, tantalizing flavors, and various ways to enjoy and elevate your very own Gin Rickey.

Key Facts About the Gin Rickey

  • Alcohol Content: Typically ranges from 14-22% ABV
  • Calories: Approximately 150 per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Highball glass to accommodate the effervescence
  • Typical Garnish: Lime wheel or wedge for a zesty finish

Interesting Facts about the Gin Rickey

  • The Gin Rickey was originally made with bourbon before gin became the spirit of choice.
  • It’s considered a “Rickey” cocktail, a family of drinks characterized by the presence of lime juice and carbonated water.
  • The drink’s low sugar content makes it a popular option for those looking to enjoy a cocktail without the guilt.

Gin Rickey Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Gin Rickey is a study in balance, with the botanicals of the gin dancing with the sharpness of fresh lime juice. The club soda adds a cleansing carbonation that makes the drink particularly thirst-quenching. It’s a cocktail that appeals to those who appreciate a less sweet, more spirit-forward beverage.

Perfect for outdoor gatherings, casual get-togethers, or as a relaxing end-of-day refreshment, the Gin Rickey suits a variety of occasions. Its versatility and lightness also make it a fantastic base for experimentation, allowing both seasoned mixologists and novices to put their own twist on this timeless classic.

History of the Gin Rickey

The Gin Rickey boasts a storied past, with its roots tracing back to the late 19th century. Named after Colonel Joe Rickey, a lobbyist in Washington D.C., the cocktail quickly gained popularity for its refreshing qualities in the humid capital. Originally made with bourbon, the switch to gin occurred as the spirit became more fashionable.

During the Prohibition era, the Gin Rickey maintained its status, often being made with “bathtub gin,” a homemade spirit of dubious quality but plentiful availability. Its simplicity and the ease of masking the harshness of inferior gin with lime made it a practical choice during those dry years.

Today, the Gin Rickey remains a testament to the enduring appeal of uncomplicated, well-crafted cocktails. Its history is a reflection of American cocktail culture, evolving with the times while maintaining its original charm.

Gin Rickey Ingredients

  • Gin: 2 oz (60 ml) – The backbone of the drink, providing a complex botanical profile.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Adds a tart, citrusy punch that brightens the gin’s flavors.
  • Club Soda: To top up – Brings effervescence and lightness, making the drink crisp and refreshing.
  • Garnish: Lime wheel or wedge – Offers an aromatic hint and a visually appealing touch.

Did you know? The Gin Rickey is sometimes referred to as the “air conditioning in a glass” due to its cooling properties.

Preparing Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey Method

Preparing the Glass

Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes to the brim. This ensures your drink stays chilled and dilutes slowly, maintaining its integrity.

Mixing the Ingredients

Pour the measured gin and freshly squeezed lime juice over the ice. The order doesn’t affect the taste, but it’s traditional to add the spirit first.

Adding Fizz

Top up the glass with club soda, pouring it gently to preserve the carbonation. The soda should fill the glass, leaving just enough room for a gentle stir.


Using a bar spoon or stirrer, mix the ingredients with a light touch. Over-stirring can lead to excessive dilution and loss of fizz.


Finish by adding a lime wheel or wedge to the rim of the glass or dropping it into the drink. It’s not just decorative; it also imparts a subtle aroma.

Serving Suggestion

The Gin Rickey is traditionally served in a highball glass, which is tall and straight-sided to accommodate plenty of ice and soda without spilling. The glass’s shape also helps to preserve the carbonation, ensuring that every sip is as bubbly as the first.

For garnishes, a fresh lime wheel or wedge is essential. Not only does it add a pop of color and a fragrant nose to the drink, but it also allows drinkers to adjust the tartness to their liking.

Elevating the Gin Rickey

  • Quality Gin: Opt for a premium gin with a flavor profile that complements the lime’s tartness.
  • Homemade Club Soda: Use a soda siphon to carbonate your own water for a fresher, more refined fizz.
  • Ice Matters: Use large, clear ice cubes that melt slowly, preventing over-dilution.
  • Experiment with Garnishes: Try adding fresh herbs like mint or basil for an aromatic twist.
  • Bitters: A dash of bitters can add depth and complexity to the cocktail.

Gin Rickey Finished Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Gin Rickey

If gin isn’t your spirit of choice, a Bourbon Rickey is a fantastic alternative that harks back to the drink’s origins. For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the gin and add a splash of lime cordial for a mocktail that’s just as refreshing.

Similar cocktails that share the Gin Rickey’s DNA include the Tom Collins, which adds sweetness with simple syrup, and the Mojito, which introduces mint and uses rum as the base spirit.

Add a Twist

For a seasonal variation, muddle fresh berries at the bottom of the glass before adding the other ingredients. This adds a fruity sweetness that complements the gin’s botanicals.

Another twist is to infuse the gin with flavors like cucumber or rosemary for a unique, herbaceous profile. Simply let the gin sit with the infusion ingredients for a few hours before straining.

Lastly, consider swapping out the club soda for a flavored sparkling water to introduce a new dimension to the drink without adding extra sugar.

Preferred Liquors for the Gin Rickey

When crafting a Gin Rickey, the choice of gin can make or break the cocktail. London Dry gins like Beefeater or Tanqueray are classic options that provide a clean, juniper-forward taste. For a more modern take, try an American craft gin with unique botanicals that can add an interesting twist to the drink.

Similar Cocktails to the Gin Rickey

If the Gin Rickey has piqued your interest, you might also enjoy the French 75, which combines gin with champagne for a celebratory fizz. The Gimlet is another gin-based classic, offering a sweeter lime flavor profile.

For those who enjoy the Rickey’s effervescence, the Aperol Spritz is a bubbly, bittersweet alternative that’s equally refreshing.

Food Pairings to go with the Gin Rickey

The Gin Rickey’s crispness pairs beautifully with light appetizers like ceviche or fresh oysters. For a casual setting, consider salty snacks such as roasted nuts or kettle chips, which contrast nicely with the cocktail’s acidity.

For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy foods like Thai or Indian cuisine. The drink’s effervescence and citrus notes can help cleanse the palate between bites.

Gin Rickey FAQs

Can I make a Gin Rickey without fresh lime juice? While fresh lime juice is preferred for its bright flavor, in a pinch, bottled lime juice can be used. However, the taste may be slightly less vibrant.

Is the Gin Rickey a good cocktail for beginners? Absolutely! Its simplicity makes it an excellent choice for those new to mixology.

How can I make my Gin Rickey less tart? Adjust the lime juice to your taste, or add a small amount of simple syrup to balance the tartness.

What type of gin is best for a Gin Rickey? A classic London Dry gin is traditional, but feel free to experiment with different gins to find your preferred flavor.

Can the Gin Rickey be batched for parties? Yes, you can mix the gin and lime juice in advance. Just add the club soda right before serving to maintain the fizz.

Gin Rickey_001

Gin Rickey

The Gin Rickey is a refreshing classic cocktail that's perfect for warm weather. It's a simple mix of gin, fresh lime juice, and club soda, creating a tart and bubbly drink that's both invigorating and easy to sip.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 drink
Calories 150 kcal


  • Highball glass
  • Ice cubes
  • Bar spoon or stirrer
  • Measuring Jigger


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
  • Club soda to top up
  • Lime wheel or wedge for garnish


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the gin and fresh lime juice over the ice.
  • Top up the glass with club soda.
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge.


The Gin Rickey can also be made with bourbon for a twist on the classic, creating a Bourbon Rickey. Additionally, you can adjust the amount of lime juice to taste if you prefer a more or less tart drink.
Keyword Citrus, Classic Cocktail, Club Soda, Easy, Gin, Gin Rickey, Highball, Lime Juice, Low-Calorie, Refreshing

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