A classic Gin Rickey may very well be the most refreshing cocktail there is. Three simple ingredients, lots of ice, fizz and fresh flavor. It’s easy to change up and we are sharing a strawberry spin along with the classic version.
If you are looking for an easy cocktail recipe to take the simmer out of a summer day, this recipe is just that.
Fresh flavor, refreshing fizz, and a great cool down.
Fun to change it up too!
What is a Gin Rickey?
Gin, lime juice, ice and club soda is all you need to make a classic Gin Rickey. It’s usually made in a highball glass with lots of ice.
Pour in the gin, squeeze half a lime (drop it in the glass too) fill with ice and club soda for a thirst quenching light cocktail.
A ‘Rickey’ is the same thing but can be made with bourbon, gin or rye whiskey.
Gin Rickey History
The original cocktail was created in the 1880’s for a Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey.
He did not like sugary cocktails and the bartender of the Washington DC bar Shoomaker’s Bar, created the bourbon version for him. This version became known as the ‘Joe Rickey’.
The bartender added lime to his ‘daily dose’ of bourbon, lump ice and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water. Who knew it would unleash a whole new family of cocktails.
Ten years later the cocktail became all the rage when made with gin. It’s also referred to as a ‘Lime Rickey‘.
Rickey Cocktail Ingredients + Notes
Gin. Any type of gin will work.
Lime juice. Freshly squeezed always had the best flavor. I use a handheld juicer for this.
Half a fresh lime can also be squeezed directly into the glass. And dropped into the cocktail if desired.
Sparkling water or Club Soda. The original cocktail used sparkling mineral water. We tend to use Club Soda. Seltzer water is perfect too.
If you have a soda water machine, use that! Any carbonated water can be used.
Ice. You’ll fill the glass with ice.
Typically this cocktail is made in a highball glass which is a tall 10-16 ounce glass. She show the strawberry version in the photos in an Old Fashioned or rocks glass.
Rickey Cocktail Variations
A classic gin rickey is refreshing and delicious but there are some fun ways to change it up too.
Strawberry Rickey. Adding strawberry simple syrup adds a light touch of strawberry flavor without making the classic cocktail overly sweet.
Strawberry Basil Rickey. Gin already has a botanical flavor so adding some basil leaves when making strawberry simple syrup gives a sophisticated flavor.
Other flavored Rickey’s. An easy way to change up the flavor is to add flavored simple syrups. Try everything from orange to lavendar. Use our guide how to make simple syrup (flavored) for help.
Virgin Gin Rickey. To make it a mocktail (which is popular by the way) remove the gin, add more lime juice and some simple syrup.
Like it really cold? Combine the gin and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass with fresh ice.
How to Make it
No shaker or fancy tools required.
Add the gin and lime juice to the glass. Add the ice. Fill with sparkling water.
If you are making the strawberry or other flavored version, add the simple syrup with the gin.
Make it in a a pitcher
This cocktail is fast to make by the drink but if you prefer a pitcher that’s easy too.
The ingredients will be multiplied to create 8 cocktails worth.
Because melting ice dilutes the cocktail we suggest using reusable ice in the pitcher unless serving immediately. Ice can be added to the serving glasses instead too.
Detailed ingredients in the recipe card below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Rickey is made with carbonated water so it’s not sweet and the flavors in the gin come through. Tonic water has a distinct slightly bitter flavor and will add sweetness to the cocktail.