Sometimes you’ve got to get back to basics to enjoy the captivating flavors of truly great ingredients, and that’s where the Bourbon Rickey comes in. This super simple cocktail can be poured in two minutes flat, but the elements thereof come together so beautifully that it tastes like an elegant drink that took far longer to compose. Total winner for a beginner! Here’s how you do.
Opt for gin to turn it into a green-tinged Gin Rickey
An orange slice or a dash of orange bitters adds a very delicious citrus note
Ginger ale or lemonade can turn up the sweetness if you prefer
Add ice to a Highball glass
Add the rest of the ingredients
Give it a gentle stir, and serve
What makes a drink a Rickey?
The Bourbon Rickey cocktail is one of a series of easy-peasy drinks that fall in the Rickey category. But what exactly makes a cocktail a Rickey, exactly? It all harks back to one trailblazing drinks enthusiast called Colonel Joe Rickey who was a democratic lobbyist in Washington in the late 1800s.
Contrary to the fashion of the time, Colonel Rickey did not like his drinks sweet, so he would request a simple cocktail of bourbon and sparkling water on hot summer days when suit-wearing was not a vibe at all. The bartender at Shoomaker’s Bar, where the colonel was a regular, would add some fresh lime to the drink to spruce it up a little, and so a whole new line of simple, elegant drinks was born.
Today, purists will tell you that a Rickey refers to a cocktail that contains a single spirit, charged with an effervescent soda, without any sugar or syrup in the mix. However, that does not mean that you are not allowed to play around with the format, of course!
Which cocktails are similar to the Bourbon Rickey?
If you love a Bourbon Lime Rickey and feel in the mood to try a few cocktails that play in a similar flavor space, you are in luck! There are quite a few Rickey-adjacent drinks to try out. Our top recommendations include:
Classic Gin Ricky
The Gin Rickey follows the exact same cocktail format as the Bourbon Rickey, only with gin as a base. The clear, green notes that underpin the flavor profile of a London Dry gin like Bulldog Gin makes this simple yet wholly wonderful cocktail a superb option for sweltering summer days when you don’t want anything weighing you down.
Autumn Bourbon Rickey
The Autumn Bourbon Rickey is a seasonal spin on the classic, which adds a touch of maple syrup to the mix. As such, it’s a little sweeter, and the hints of caramel, vanilla and prune that are characteristic of this natural syrup pick up on the creamy vanilla notes in the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon. A match made in heaven if ever there was one!
Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail
If you’re keen to push out the boat and bring in a little more depth of flavor, you have to give the ultra-cozy Bourbon Apple Cider cocktail a try. It combines bourbon, apple cider, Cinzano Vermouth Rosso, lemon juice and orange bitters to arrive at a beautifully integrated drink that is robust enough to get those cheeks glowing on even the nippiest fall days – like the best bourbon Christmas cocktails are wont to do.