Gin Rickey Recipe: A Tall Glass of a Timeless Taste

Mojito cocktail with lime and mint in glass on a stone table

Originally conceived in Washington, D.C. in the 1880s, the Gin Rickey began its life as a bourbon cocktail. Soon, the bourbon was substituted for gin, resulting in a quick and easy, bubbly drink which could be enjoyed in both casual and formal settings. From the 19th century to the 21st, this cocktail has been made and remade time and time again. So, take a closer look at this classic gin drink and see the ways that modern mixologists have been spicing up the original recipe.

The Famous Gin Rickey

A Missouri state politician named Joe Rickey was a regular customer at the Washington D.C. bar, Shoo's, which served as a haven for the city's political crowd. Evidence suggests that Rickey was the first one to come up with the original recipe, originally asking for it to be mixed using rye, though gin would quickly eclipse that liquor. Eventually, Rickey bought Shoomaker's, and the business continued selling their famous Gin Rickeys until 1916.

Gin Sling on the rocks

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • Club Soda
  • Lime slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass filled with ice, pour the lime juice and gin.
  2. Top with club soda and stir.
  3. Garnish with a lime slice.

Gin Rickey Variations

With a really basic construction, there's a lot of opportunity for you to experiment with new flavors and ingredients when making your own Gin Rickey at home. These are just a few of the ways that you can put your own spin on this classic drink.

Limeade Gin Rickey

For something a little more sour than the original recipe, try out this Limeade Gin Rickey.

Limeade Gin Rickey

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • Lemonade
  • Lemon wedge for garnish
  • Cucumber slice for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass filled with ice, combine the lime juice and gin.
  2. Top with lemonade and stir.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge and a cucumber slice if you'd like.

Sunset Gin Rickey

The Italian aperitif, Aperol, has been all the rage of the past few years, with Aperol Spritzs dominating social media profiles around the world. Using this popular ingredient as inspiration, this Sunset Gin Rickey combines orange juice, Aperol, gin, and Prosecco, for a powerfully tart cocktail.

Glass of Spritz with orange on elegant dark brown background

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounces Aperol
  • 1½ ounces gin
  • Prosecco
  • Orange slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large wine glass filled with ice, combine the orange juice, Aperol, and gin.
  2. Top with Prosecco and stir.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice.

Teatime Rickey

It's teatime all the time with this Teatime Rickey which substitutes club soda for sweet tea. Feel free to use unsweetened tea or flavored teas instead of sweet; but if you do, make sure that you add a ½ ounce of simple syrup to balance your drink out.

Teatime rickey

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • Sweet Tea
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a tall glass filled with ice, combine the lemon juice and gin.
  2. Top with sweet tea and stir.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Paloma Rickey

The Paloma is a great brunch cocktail, and this Paloma Rickey recipe lets you take your brunch drink and transition it into something perfect for lunchtime.

Paloma rickey cocktail

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • Tonic water
  • Rosemary sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass filled with ice, add the lime juice, grapefruit juice, and gin together.
  2. Top with tonic water and stir.
  3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Fairy Lights Rickey

This vibrant cocktail gets its unique hue from the use of butterfly pea flower gin, whose flowers contain a pigment called anthocyanin that changes colors based on different pH levels. Watch this drink turn a delightfully purple shade right before your very eyes.

Gin and tonic with a slice of pink grapefruit

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces butterfly pea flower gin
  • Club soda
  • Rosemary sprig for garnish
  • Grapefruit wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a tall glass filled with ice, combine the grapefruit juice and gin.
  2. Top with club soda and stir.
  3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and grapefruit wedge.

Ways to Garnish a Gin Rickey

Since a Gin Rickey isn't altogether an exciting cocktail to look at, you want to garnish the drink with bright, eye-catching garnishes like these here:

  • Add a few drops of food coloring to your mixture to customize your drinks for a themed event or seasonal party.
  • Drop in a few edible flowers or a few dried flower petals on top of your finished drink.
  • A perfectly sliced fruit wedge can polish even the most average drinks.
  • For those with more advanced knife skills, you can turn some fruits into small fruit flowers to place on top of your finished drink.
  • A citrus twist is a staple cocktail garnish that you can't go wrong with having on hand.
  • Straws with fun prints or colors can tie a drink together; make sure you choose non-plastic, sustainable options to protect the environment.
  • Sprinkle a few fresh herbs or edible glitter into your mixture to create a snow globe effect in your glass.

Sometimes Easier Is Better

Unfortunately, a cultural reputation continues to pervade society, deeming things that are harder to do or more complex to make are somehow better, but drinks like the Gin Rickey show that this isn't the case. Gin Rickeys are perfectly simple drinks to make if you only have a few ingredients on hand and want something that tastes deliciously refreshing.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Gin Rickey Recipe: A Tall Glass of a Timeless Taste