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all photos: Dakota Fine

After a full month of gin, lime, soda madness The DC Craft Bartenders Guild held a party to celebrate DC’s native cooler at the Passenger this past Monday.

For the uninitiated: The Rickey is a category of mixed drinks closely resembling a highball made from a base spirit, half of a lime squeezed and dropped in the glass and carbonated water. Little or no sugar is added to the Rickey. Originally created with Bourbon whiskey in Washington, D.C. at Shoomaker’s bar by bartender George A. Williamson, purportedly in collaboration with Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey, it became a worldwide sensation when mixed with gin.

Over the course of July, twenty nine local bars participated in the city wide rickey madness, each crafting their own take on the classic. On Monday, the 5 finalists (Alex Bookless of The Passenger, Gina Chersevani of PS7’s, Dan Searing of Room 11, Adam Bernbach of Proof and Estadio and David Fritzler of Tryst) faced off in front of a crowd of gin enthusiasts, all lined up for a refreshing yet boozy evening.

Recipes and misty lime colored photo memories below:


Alex Bookless won (on her home Passenger territory) with The Root of All Rickey, which you make like this:

  • 1 1/4 ounce Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Bourbon
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 4-5 ounces root soda (recipe available upon request)
  • Built over ice and served in a red wine glass or goblet”
  • Strong and tart, with earthy, refreshing and light flavors of jicama, ginger, taro, cassava and spices.

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Dan Searing (of Room 11) was the runner up with The Balmy Rickey which is a decidedly masculine version of the Col. Joe’s classic, combining basic elements of a Mojito and a Rickey for a near perfect summer drink, which you make someting like this:

  • 1 1/2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 1/2 Lime, quartered
  • 8 Lemon Balm leaves plus a sprig
  • 1 teaspoon 1:1 simple syrup
  • Soda water
  • Muddle lime with lemon balm
  • Add Bourbon and simple syrup, stir
  • Add ice, stir again
  • Top with soda water and garnish with lemon balm sprig

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the Smokin’ Joe Rickey

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The Salty, Limey, Ginny Thing courtesy of Adam Bernbach

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Derek Brown, in perfect host mode presided over judging and punches at his Columbia room (keep an eye out for an upcoming drink diary from him)

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Neck deep in the winning cocktails


Can August still be rickey month?