Happy April, everyone! I can’t believe it has been a year already since I featured the foolish “Apple Martini” which wasn’t really … I’m all through with fooling around now. This year’s pairing of potion and puzzle is strictly professional. Promise.
To roll out April I’m featuring a pleasant puzzle box called the “Roll Box” which has got something rolling around inside, and an amazing surprise … I’d like to roll back in history as well for the potion to pair with this puzzle. The weather is getting warmer, especially in Houston, and one of the all-time classic beat the heat cocktails is the Gin Rickey. Often thought of as the official drink of Washington DC, the Rickey recalls a time in American politics when disputes and deals were settled at the bar, and no issue was so partisan it couldn’t be resolved over a few friendly drinks and a handshake. To cool things off both figuratively and literally, a base spirit such as bourbon or gin was often diluted in an ice cold tall glass filled with seltzer – a classic “highball”. “Colonel” Joe Rickey was a well known lobbyist and campaign strategist in the late 1800’s. His favorite watering hole and the place to politic was Shoomaker’s Bar next to the National Theater. It was there at “Shoo’s” that Rickey invented his famous drink, in 1883, with rye whiskey, lime juice and soda, although soon after the drink became more famous with gin. To commemorate the true origins of the drink I’ve used St. George Spirit’s special “Dry Rye” gin, which perfectly captures the essence of both the original and the more famous version of the Rickey. I've also used a kaffir lime leaf cordial (recipe from Death and Company) rather than the standard lime juice, which adds a layer of complexity and sweetness to the drink which is just perfect. Colonel Joe Rickey went on to buy the bar in the 1890s, which has, sadly, since been demolished. The drink stands the test of time as a refreshing, cool gin and tonic alternative for those sweltering days in the swamp. Perhaps Washington should order a few now – seems everyone could use a drink. Here’s to the Rickey, rolling up our sleeves, and having a good old fashioned sense of humor. Cheers!
Gin Rickey circa 1883
2 oz London Dry gin (I used St. George’s Dry Rye gin to capture the spirit of the original as well)
¾ oz kaffir lime leaf cordial or fresh lime juice
Combine the gin and lime juice in an ice filled highball glass. Add the soda water and stir. Garnish with a wedge of lime and let the good times roll.
For more about the fascinating "Roll Box" and an April Fool's surprise see:
Boxes and Booze: Roll with it!