The gin rickey cocktail is a twist on the classic gin and tonic that uses fresh lime juice as a zesty kick to wake up the gin. It’s a crisp, refreshing drink that’s easy to make and is the perfect addition to any sophisticated occasion.
Why the Gin Rickey, you ask?
Imagine a drink that’s so easy to whip up, it barely takes more time than pouring a glass of water.
Yet, it’s a cocktail that has stood the test of time, a classic that has mingled among the flapper dresses and jazz tunes of the roaring twenties.
In fact, it was so popular back then that trays of it were served at the Great Gatsby’s famous parties. (Which is why it was one of the signature cocktails at my Great Gatsby party).
The Gin Rickey drink is simplicity at its finest—a blend of gin, lime, and soda water that offers a zesty punch without any fuss.
It’s a recipe that delivers on flavor without requiring a pantry full of obscure ingredients or complex techniques.
And it has no added sugar, so it’s low calorie, too!
Whether you’re looking to impress your guests with a timeless cocktail, or simply want to treat yourself to a burst of citrusy freshness, this is the drink for you.
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This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
Here is your shopping list:
- alcohol – 2 ounces good quality gin.
- fresh fruit – 1 lime. We’ll use fresh-squeezed lime juice in the cocktail and slices of it for garnish.
- soda – Club soda – you’ll need enough to top up the glass, about 4 ounces depending on the size of the glass
- ice cubes – to fill the glass
- You can use bottled lime juice if absolutely necessary. But the drink tastes much better with freshly squeezed.
- No lime juice? Lemon juice can work in a pinch, but it will not taste like a true gin rickey.
- Any clear, unflavored carbonated water will work instead of the club soda.
- If you like sweeter cocktails, you can add some simple syrup or a little sugar to the mix.
How to make a gin rickey cocktail
Slice the lime in half across the middle.
Cut thin slices out of one half of the lime.
Juice the other half of the lime into a small bowl or cup.
Mix the drink
Fill a cocktail glass to the brim with ice cubes.
Besides keeping your cocktail is cold, this also ensures that you don’t end up with too much club soda (which can overwhelm the gin and lime flavors).
Pour 2 ounces of your best gin over the ice. This is the spirit of your cocktail, so make sure it’s a good one.
Add half an ounce of the freshly-squeezed lime juice into the glass.
Stir to combine.
Now, top up the glass with the club soda until it’s nearly full.
While not absolutely necessary, garnish makes the drink look much prettier.
To do this, slide a lime wheel or two down the inside of the glass.
You can also cut a slit partway into one of the lime slices and slide it onto the rim of your glass for that fancy look.
How to make a large batch
If you are serving a bunch of gin lime rickeys for a party and don’t want to be mixing all night, you can get them ready ahead of time.
To do this, you’ll want to mix the lime juice and gin in a pitcher ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to start serving.
Do not put the ice or club soda into this mixture since they will water the drink down and go flat.
At serving time, add the ice along with the lime and gin mixture to each glass and top up with club soda.
To figure out how much you need of each ingredient, just multiply by the number of cocktails you want to make in advance.
As an example, for 12 drinks you’ll need:
- 6 ounces of lime juice
- 24 ounces gin
- 1 large (1.5 liter) bottle of club soda (maybe 2, depending on how much club soda you add to each glass)
- a bag of ice
What is the best glass to use?
Traditionally, gin rickeys are served in a tall, thin highball glass.
However, I find that you end up with too much club soda using those types of glasses.
So I prefer a smaller cocktail glass that is about 10 ounces in size.
But either will work. You might want to try them both and see which one you like better.
What is the best gin for gin rickey?
London Dry gins are the traditional options for making a Gin Rickey. You can’t go wrong with well-known brands such as Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire (for a stronger juniper flavor) or Beefeater (for a lighter one).
However, there are many craft distilleries that make good-tasting gin with different flavor profiles which could add extra interest to the cocktail.
And if you’re a regular gin drinker and have a favorite brand, feel free to use it.
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- 1 jigger
- 1 cocktail or highball glass
- 2 ounces gin
- ½ ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
- club soda to top up
- lime wheels to garnish
- Fill a cocktail glass with ice.
- Pour over the gin and lime juice and stir.
- Add club soda to the top of the glass.
- Garnish with lime wheels.
- To make the drink sweeter, add a little simple syrup or sugar
- Any non-flavored, carbonated water will work instead of club soda.
- Make sure to fill the glass all the way up with ice or the club soda will overpower the lime and gin
- To make a large batch, mix the lime juice and gin in a pitcher. When you’re ready to serve, add ice, gin mixture and club soda to each glass.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.