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Bourbon Rickey Cocktail

We can’t all be heroes. Not every colonel or lobbyist ends up with a monument, some end up entirely forgotten. Colonel Joe Rickey is lucky.

Bourbon Rickey Cocktail

Rickey ended up with something far more fun than a statue. He got something that’s enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Enter: the Bourbon Rickey.

About the Bourbon Rickey Cocktail

Colonel Joe Rickey, the man whom the Bourbon Rickey was named for, was a Democratic Lobbyist. Towards the end of the 1800s, he was living in the US capital where he frequented a little tavern called Shoomaker’s bar.

He was quite well-known by the generous bartender George Williamson, as his then-regular drink stood out. Rickey disliked sugary drinks, so he only drank bourbon mixed with sparkling water, which refreshed the colonel and served him well.

Rickey’s drink was standard and basic until one day, Williamson decided to spice up the drink with some fresh lime juice to see how Rickey would like it. Rickey clearly loved it, hence the drink’s popularity that became widespread in the 1890s and still stands strong today.

Bourbon Rickey Cocktail

Bourbon Rickey Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Be sure to use your favorite bourbon for the drink if you want to fall in love with it fast. If you don't have a go-to bourbon brand then any bourbon will do in this recipe


  • An ounce and a half of bourbon
  • Half of a freshly squeezed lime
  • Sparkling water to fill the rest of the glass


    1. Ensure your glass is full of ice
    2. Squeeze the lime in first
    3. Put the lime in the glass
    4. Add your bourbon, more than an ounce and a half if you're daring
    5. Top off the glass with sparkling water
    6. Stir
    7. Serve

Did you make this recipe?

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The Gin Rickey: A Twist on the Classic

The Rickey drink has one more beverage that greatly resembles it, born in the 1890s and still popular today. When the original beverage was gaining its popularity, people tended to make it with gin instead of bourbon.


With those ingredients and such a simple mixing method, you’ve got yourself a fantastic, strong bourbon drink. Be sure to think of Colonel Joe Rickey when you take your first sip.

Bourbon Rickey Cocktail
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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