June 10, 2019

Gin Rickey, the Tart Bubbly Cocktail for Gin Lovers

If you're into gin and don't like sweet drinks, this one's for you. It's bubbly, super easy to make, and as tart and sour as you please.

So what is a Gin Rickey?

The Gin Rickey is an old highball style cocktail (meaning it combines alcohol and something bubbly) that uses gin, lime and soda water. The result is a very tart yet refreshing drink where the more subtle flavors of a quality gin can shine.

It's basically a code name for a gin and soda with lime.

And why is it any good? It's simple to make, easy drinking, and a refreshing way to highlight your favorite gin.

Adding ice to a collins glass

How to make a Gin Rickey

  1. Fill a Collins glass with ice
  2. Add the gin and lime juice
  3. Top with soda water
  4. Garnish with lime

You can also add a splash of simple syrup to mellow it out.

Technically, a Rickey cocktail isn't supposed to have any sweetener since the cocktail was "invented" by removing the sweetener from a Collins or fizz style drink, but if you want to I support it.

Also try dialing back the lime juice as much as you like.

Pouring gin into the glass

Which gin to use for a Rickey cocktail

A good quality gin of any style will work great for a Rickey. In this version I used Tanqueray which was delicious but choose any gin you enjoy.

Experimenting with some of the more unique gins can also be fun.

There are plenty of different flavored gins that would take the drink in a whole different direction. Try looking for flavors like rose, cherry blossom, or cucumber that would go nicely with the lime.

Squeezing lime juice fresh

Make up your own variations

With a drink this simple there are endless modifications to make, but here's a couple to get you started.


A couple dashes of bitters can go a long way in adding layer of flavor to any cocktail. Just about any kind of bitters would work here but Angostura, cucumber, or any type of fruit would probably be a good place to start.


Before building the drink add some fruit to the bottom of the glass and muddle it up. Fresh berries or pineapple come to mind but you could choose just about anything.

Or maybe add a little splash of homemade cocktail syrup like pineapple, banana, or raspberry.

Measuring the lime juice into the glass
Slicing a lime garnish

A quick Gin Rickey history

The Gin Rickey has a few potential origin stories but both are associated with the same Col. Joe Rickey who was a well liked "gentleman gambler" and civil war veteran.

One story goes that the Rickey cocktail came about from the Colonel Rickey himself having something to do with the creation by asking for bourbon and soda with citrus, which became known as a "Joe Rickey".

However, there are accounts that he had nothing to do with the drink's creation and was even annoyed that it was named after him. 

Topping the rickey up with soda water

Garnish with a slice, wedge, or twist of lime, stick in a straw and enjoy!

Gin Rickey Cocktail Recipe

If you're a gin lover with a taste for tart cocktails this is the perfect refreshing drink for you.


  • 2 oz Gin - any quality gin works well
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice - fresh
  • 4-5 oz Soda Water - to taste


  • Add ice to a chilled collins glass.
  • Measure in the gin and lime juice.
  • Top with soda water and gently stir to incorporate.
  • Use any type of lime garnish you prefer (wheel, wedge, or slice of peel)


Any high quality gin will work for a Rickey. Stay clear of anything that's priced cheaper than gasoline... it just might be.
Also feel free to dash in a little simple syrup if only lime and gin is a bit tart for you (it's too tart for my taste).
Total Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

Share the Rickey!

Gin Rickey Pinterest

The Gin Rickey is not much of a recipe (more a simple concept) but if you need something real tart and crisp on a hot day it sure will do the trick!

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