Counter Intelligence

Chin-Chin for Gin in July, Part One

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on July 28, 2009

DC Bartenders Guild’s reminder that July is Rickey month made me thirsty for one or several, so I recently did a drink around inspired by the Rickey contest to be held at Bourbon on August 3rd.

“A Rickey should quench your thirst,” says Derek Brown of The Gibson and The Passenger , set to open late fall. Bourbon’s Owen Thomson encourages the quick sip by serving his super-refreshing Watermelon Rickey with a straw .

I always thought Rickeys had to be made with bourbon or gin, but Brown sets the record straight in his column for  The Atlantic Food Channel:

. . .  is a category of mixed drinks made from a base spirit, half of a lime squeezed and dropped in the glass, and topped with carbonated water. Little or no sugar is added to the Rickey. Originally made with Bourbon whiskey, the Rickey was invented in Washington, D.C. around 1883 at Shoomaker’s bar by bartender George A. Williamson, purportedly in collaboration with Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey. It became a worldwide sensation when mixed with gin.

In addition to Owen’s, I sampled the jalapeno spicy, Is that A Cucumber in Your Pocket? from Sebastian Zutant at Proof, the terrific pickled cherries in the Crickety Rickey at Zaytinya, the best liquid summer dinner–roasted red pepper Rickey at Rasika, a lovely classic Bourbon Rickey at Poste Brasserie, and a tiki-inspired Rickey from Tiffany Short at The Gibson. I’d like to sample others featured in this year’s contest over the next couple days.

In the meantime, mark your calendar for Monday, August 3rd at Bourbon where, starting around 6 pm, cocktailians can vote for their favorite Rickey.


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