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


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Bourbon Rickey: All About This Drink

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.


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Are There Any Similar Drinks?

Yes, some similar drinks exist. Rickey’s drink is a lot like a Whiskey Sour, which is made from whiskey, sugar, and citrus. It also has the sparking water element of a Whiskey Collins which is whiskey, sugar, citrus, and sparkling water. It’s the perfect in-the-middle drink for spirits-lovers who dislike sugar but want a drink with an alcoholic kick and a nose-ticking fizz.


The result of the combination is a fantastically balanced drink that quenches your thirst, despite its tart flavor.



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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.


The gin gives the beverage a sharper taste and it lacks that classic bourbon burn, but it still has the bubbly bite of the sparkling water and the citrus squeeze’s strong flavor. If you’re not a fan of bourbon but still want to honor the lobbyist Joe Rickey, then consider a Gin Rickey instead. For the rest of you, now we’ll get into how you make the classic bourbon version of the drink.



First of all, 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


How to Make This Drink

The method is as simple as in the ingredients. Ensure you have a highball glass, then:

  • Ensure your glass is full of ice
  • Squeeze the lime in first
  • Put the lime in the glass
  • Add your bourbon, more than an ounce and a half if you’re daring
  • Top off the glass with sparkling water
  • Stir


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

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