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Local Libations: The Slick Rickey

2011 June 10

By Andrew States

Slick-Rickey-IngredientsAfter reading Brianna’s post on the Nectarita, I was taken with her fresh, fruity and summery spin on a classic cocktail.  I decided to follow the same spirit by presenting my take on a different classic, The Gin Rickey, with a touch of fruit.

Rickeys, like most classic cocktails, are simple combinations of readily available ingredients.  The only notable distinctions between different versions of the cocktail are minute changes in portion, depending on the palate of the drinker. Like most surviving quaffs, the Gin Rickey comes with an origin that reads like a rumor.  Cocktail buffs generally agree that “Colonel” Joe Rickey liked to take his with Bourbon.  Things got muddied from there and eventually lead to the perennial gin version.  That’s what you get when everyone present at the inception was drinking.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

It’s getting progressively hotter here in the city, the ice melting in the glass more quickly than I can bolt it down, and a Rickey is just the inner antidote for sweat busting out all over.  It’s the sort of drink you enjoy while settled in front of a fan.  It’s also simple and quick, a boon on days like this where any and every movement is a battle against lethargy.  I generally switch to gin and tonics this time of year, but the Rickey is an alternative for those among the initiated who like to taste their booze a little more.  After tinkering with the classic (and delicious) Gin Rickey recipe I opted to try to sweeten things up a bit.  This is generally considered taboo, but there aren’t too many taboos I’m unwilling to vault over after a couple of drinks.  Benefit of false courage, I suppose.  I’d been kicking around the idea of using pear brandy for something since this winter’s marathon of apple brandy concoctions, so I took the opportunity to pick up a bottle made by the folks at Warwick Valley Winery. The nose is very strong, so I used it sparingly and found it added a layer of  subtle sweetness not present in Rickeys of old.  A hint was enough to take the drink sideways; I encourage the drinker to try mixing with it, there’s plenty of opportunity around that heady corner.

I tried a couple of different gins and settled on ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Breukelen Gin, previously used in both the Zephyr and Copper posts.  It was strong enough to stand up to the brandy and crisp enough to keep the drink sharp.  It also has the benefit of a touch of sweetness on its own.  Like the old timers, I squeezed half a lime and dropped the shell into the glass, topping it off with Saratoga Sparkling Spring Water.  The resulting concoction, refreshing and slightly sweet, was a welcome break from the day’s muggy oppression.

There’s only one fan in our apartment at the moment and it’s supposed to be 100 degrees today.  I know what I’ll be doing.  In honor of any and all escape from the heat, I’ve named this one the Slick Rickey.  I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.


The Slick Rickey

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Yeild: 1 serving


  • Breukelen Gin
  • Dash of American Fruits Pear Brandy
  • Ice
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Saratoga Sparkling Spring Water

A note before the recipe:

The idea behind this drink was to keep things easy.  Many times I’ll list an ounce measurement as a necessary tool.  In this instance I have not.  The portions are not supposed to be exact.  Just pour slowly from your bottle of gin and count to four.  That should give you around 2 oz.  If you want more, add some.  If you want less, count to three next time.


  1. Pour about 2 oz of Breukelen Gin into a glass
  2. Add a dash of Pear Brandy.
  3. Squeeze the juice of one half of a lime.
  4. Add ice.
  5. Top with soda water.
  6. Drop in juiced lime shell.
  7. Drink up.