Monday, July 20, 2020

joe rickey

2 oz Bourbon or Rye (Angel's Envy Bourbon)
Juice 1/2 Lime (a short 3/4 oz)

Build in a Highball glass, add ice, garnish with a lime shell, and top with soda water (4 oz).

Recently, I saw a reference for a Joe Rickey and realized that I had never had one, and two Mondays ago seemed like the perfect evening to break the heat with this historic Cooler. For a recipe and history source, I turned to David Wondrich's Imbibe book. Wondrich attributed the drink's invention to a "Colonel" Joe Rickey (some articles call him a co-inventor along with bartender George A. Williamson) sometime between his arrival in Washington DC in 1883 and the recipe appearing in the newspapers in 1889 (the quotation marks to show that it was an honorary title). Joe taught plenty of bartenders how to make his drink but it is surmised to have first been constructed at Shoomaker's in DC, and later in the 1890s the Rickey became more of a gin phenomenon than an American whiskey one. Unlike a Collins-like tipple where the citrus would be balanced by sugar or other sweetener, Joe felt that "any drink with sugar in it... heats the blood." Despite that being a late entry throwback to the Ancient Greek theories of Humorism, the soda water does help to dilute and mollify the citrus' acid bite to make for a very refreshing Cooler.
The Joe Rickey greeted the senses with a Bourbon and bright lime oil aroma. Next, a crisp, carbonate sip of lime and malt notes flowed into Bourbon flavors blending into a fruity element from the Angel's Envy port barrel finish and the lime. DC bartender Chantal Tseng described the Joe Rickey as "simply refreshing, like air conditioning in a glass," and the combination did rather well in society until Scotch took over a little after the turn of the century both in the Highball and in the Mamie Taylor (a Scotch Rickey of sorts with the soda water replaced by ginger beer).

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