Gin Rickey

Gin rickey cocktail with lime wedge garnish

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
152 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 152
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 24mg 121%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 87mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The gin rickey is a refreshing and classic highball that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Designed to have a tart flavor profile, as it features zero sugar, it's an easy mixed drink recipe that requires just three ingredients. It's one of the most invigorating gin cocktails you can mix up and as far as alcoholic mixed drinks, one of the lowest in calories, too.

The story goes that the rickey was created at Shoemaker's in Washington D.C., a popular hangout spot for congressmen. It was named after Colonel "Joe" Rickey, a lobbyist who died in 1903 and who was known for entertaining elected officials in the area lounges.

The mix is simple: Choose your favorite gin, add a healthy dose of lime, and fill the glass with soda water. It's similar to the gin and tonic, gin buck, and gin fizz. Each differs only by the soda used, though the fizz does have a few extra ingredients. They make a great set of mixed drinks for any gin lover.


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"The gin rickey is for people who like tart, bracing cocktails. With no sugar or simple syrup, this cocktail is quite sour and dry, but that's by design. It's exceptionally refreshing; and heed the advice to get quality club soda. Fresh squeezed lime is also essential. No pasteurized stuff!" —Tom Macy

Gin Rickey in a glass with lime slice
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Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gin rickey cocktail ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Fill a highball glass with ice.

    Highball glass filled with ice

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Pour the gin and lime juice over the ice.

    Gin and lime juice in highball glass with ice

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Top with club soda.

    Gin and lime juice topped with club soda in a glass

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

    Gin rickey in a glass garnished with a lime wedge

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • The gin rickey is a transparent drink and is best with a decent gin.
  • It's also a perfect opportunity to step away from traditional London dry gins and explore some of the more unusual offerings. Hendrick's cucumber and Aviation's fruity-florals are both perfect options.
  • The natural flavor of fresh lime juice is highly recommended. As you drink, you may find yourself squeezing more juice into it, so don't skip the garnish.
  • The average lime yields 1/2 to 1 ounce. With either fresh or bottled juice, adjust it to fit your taste—this may change from one gin to another.
  • Club soda seems like a simple ingredient, though soda is just as important as any other element in drinks like this. There are some excellent soda companies, and both Q Drinks and Fever-Tree create cocktail-worthy sodas.

Recipe Variations

  • To add a little extra tartness, wet the rim of your glass with the lime wedge by running it around the edge. With each drink, you get an extra spark and it's a fantastic way to cleanse your palate during a meal.
  • The rickey formula works for other spirits as well. It's said that Rickey's initial request was for a sugar-free bourbon rickey. Vodka, rum, and other styles of whiskey are good, too.
  • Skip the liquor, add simple syrup, and you have the nonalcoholic lime rickey.

How Strong Is the Gin Rickey?

As with all highballs, you can make the gin rickey as strong or as weak as you like. If you pour the average 80-proof gin and the final volume is 7 ounces, you can expect it to have an alcohol content around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). This makes it a nice, casual drink, comparable to the average glass of wine.

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