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Spirits: Aw, rickey!

On Monday night, I attended the finals of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild’s third annual rickey contest at The Passenger. I wrote about the first Rickey Month back in 2008, but the event has grown even bigger, with more than two dozen bartenders mixing up their variations of Washington’s classic, signature summertime cocktail. All of the rickeys this year had to use Hendrick’s gin or Woodford Reserve bourbon (or both) since they sponsored the event.

The basic rickey is very simple: Into an ice-filled collins glass, dump 1.5 ounces of gin or bourbon and juice from half a lime, sweeten with sugar or simple syrup, then fill with soda water. The rickeys in the house on Monday, however, went well beyond that basic formula, with several even featuring housemade sodas.

The five finalists were:

  • Rickey Ricardo, with gin, lemon juice, and a cantaloupe-and-coconut soda, by Gina Chersevani of PS 7's.
  • Lemon Balm Rickey, with bourbon, lime, and lemon balm leaves, by Dan Searing of Room 11.
  • Salty Limey Ginny Thing, with gin, lime-juice, and a salt-cured lime/anise soda by Adam Bernbach of Proof.
  • Smokin’ Joe Rickey, with bourbon, Averna amaro, lime juice, club soda, and garnished with a smoked lime wheel, by David Fritzler of Tryst.
  • Root of all Rickey with both gin and a bourbon, lime juice, and a root soda (with jicama, ginger, taro, cassava and spices), by Alex Bookless of The Passenger.

Bookless was named winner of the contest, but all five were great. And definitely worth asking for the next time you visit one of these bars.

-- Jason Wilson
(Follow me on Twitter.)

By The Food Section  |  August 4, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags: Jason Wilson, spirits  
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Jason - There is no way simple syrup or any sweetener should be in a classic rickey. That is just wrong.

Posted by: popopo | August 4, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with popopo -- just say no to sugar in Rickeys!

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | August 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Popopo and Scott -- While, I completely agree with your position of taking no sweetener in my own rickey...Colonel Joe Rickey, for whom the drink was named, would unfortunately disagree with us. The choice to sweeten or not has been there since the rickey's inception.

Posted by: jasonwilson1 | August 4, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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