Friday Question of the Day – What Should DC’s Official Cocktail Be – The Rickey or Something Else?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Yesterday, the Rickey was named DC’s official cocktail. According to Wikipedia:

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 in the 1880s, purportedly in collaboration with Democratic lobbyist, Colonel Joe Rickey, it became a worldwide sensation when mixed with gin a decade later.

When I was away on vacation and Eric the LoP took over I loved reading about the perfect song for DC. And while I personally like a Gin Rickey and the history is cool – I’m curious to hear if you guys have better suggestions.

So for a fun summer Friday Question of the Day – what should DC’s official cocktail be?

82 Comment

  • I’m happy to stick with the Rickey. I had never had one before moving to DC, so it seems to fit.

    I had a pickle rickey at some overpriced winebar in Cleveland Park last summer. The usual ingredients, plus a splash of dill pickle juice. It was crazy delicious.

  • A good old welcome to Washington has always been a half-smoke served up with a Gin Rickey.

    Here the news from Pamela’s Punch:

    • From the article:

      A plaque unveiling celebration, with honorary guest Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, honoring the birthplace of the Rickey will be held at 1331 Bar and Lounge at a private invite-only event on Sunday.

      Nothing like celebrating DC’s official drink through an invite-only event! Seems fitting.

      The drink in the picture looks nice, but does it need THAT much ice?

  • Years ago, after reading about the Rickey from a City Paper article, I decided to give one a try. Asking for Gin Rickey at a Dupont Circle bar got me an annoyed look and asked “What’s a Gin Rickey?” by the female bartender. Okay, so it’s gin with soda and a squeeze of lime. Not the most amazing drink in the world. Kind of fits DC quite well, actually.

    • Sounds terrifically mundane. Perfect for DC.

    • Yeah, I’ve been greeted with blank stares when I’ve requested a classic gin rickey in the past here- hopefully, making this our “state drink” will change that. I think it’s a solid classic that works well for DC, with the lime juice countering the oppressive heat & humidity and the ample alcohol countering the oppressive douchebaggery.

  • Mint julep

  • $1 beers at any Hill Bar.

    Seriously? I drink my bourbon straight, to give a punk FU to the straight edge movement that evolved here. A real punk would do nothing less…as the Dillinger 4 song says…


    The high falutin snobbery is only a segment of DC. The rest of us have to live here.

    • I thought Native Americans aren’t supposed to drink.

      • Alcoholism is the greatest problem on native American reservations according to the Interior Department.

        • From the same department that provides so many unearned benefits to these people living in an enclave that they have no personal initiative endlessly living in the past whining about generations of them long dead instead of pulling themselves up and making something of themselves and what surrounds them.

          • Pulling oneself up is a very Western, Protestant concept. Maybe we should stop shoving alcohol AND our cultural standards down their throats and let them be. They already made something of what surrounds them, but Europeans took it away and made their own “things” on that land.

          • elcal,
            one needs to live in the present and make the best out of their own lives.
            also, thats a crock of shit that “Pulling oneself up is a very Western, Protestant concept. ”
            learn more history. not just history written by western protestants.

          • I think we can all agree that it is government’s intervention into private lives with all manner of handouts and disincentives for self reliance that has destroyed families and the lives of these people with all these good intentions.

            Come to think of it, much like the rest of the country right now.

            Agreed also that a half-smoke and a Gin Rickey is a Washingtonian welcome.

          • Actually, I don’t think we will agree. I don’t believe the conservative myth that “handouts” disincentivize self-reliance.

            I’d love it if someone introduced me to an alternate history of the capitalist rags to riches story that somehow incorporated non-Western, non-Protestant cultural backgrounds.

          • elcal,

            Been to India or Brazil lately ?

            Private capital, freedom, individual liberty, private property, commerce, freedom of choice, trade, free enterprise know no race or ethnicity.

            Why do you choose to see all of life through the prism of race ?

            Most of us like to make our own choices in life and not have them made by central planners so that we live a miserable life by government ration.

            We are all just people.

          • Race, really? I’m not sure I ever mentioned race. Gotta love this town. In fact, racial diversity is pretty much standard in the West. I’m talking about cultural values and history; I’d love to hear your theory on how the Vedas describe a proto-capitalist world completely devoid of the English tut-tutting around Mumbai. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on individual liberty and purchasing power in Brazil and India. Oh, and you think those countries are ethnicity- and race-blind? Laughable. As is the thought that Americans somehow live a miserable life by government ration.

            I’m asking for a history of the concept of rags-to-riches, not a description of which globalized nation has taken up the faith and used the myth to further oppress its people.

          • Perhaps, you might read some Horatio Alger, ecal.

            Perhaps be a little more accepting of your American history and culture.

            All things considered, it’s been pretty good, quite successful, too.

          • I’m sorry? I’m asking for alternatives to the Alger story, which is patently Western and Protestant. I’m trying to argue that this is a concept brought to world by this culture, as against the comment:

            “learn more history. not just history written by western protestants.”

            Sure, there is non-Western history and culture, but you won’t find Horatio Alger there! I’m fine with American culture to a point, but our importation of rags to riches is just that, a globally exported product, not necessarily right, wrong or applicable to the ways other cultures live and view life. I sure hope these are different and distinct ‘Anonymous’ commenters.

          • Too many strings, not enough work.

            It’s 4 PM, elcal. Weekend’s up.

            Time for a cool Gin Rickey.

            God bless America.

    • Yeah, cos Coke is so punk.

  • me

    Is there a drink that would represent condesension? Maybe with a little swizzle stick that is shaped in the form of a middle finger? That’s about what would represent the city.

  • Anything used with Rock Creek soda as a mixer.

  • Since DC is so close to Maryland, which sort of has an official drink, I propose a new one called the Crack Eyed Susan πŸ™‚

  • i think dc has enough “official”

  • andy

    The Snyder. It’s cat urine in a glass.

  • The Fizzy Dog…

    3 parts Mad Dog 20/20, 1 part tonic.

    Only to be served in bars with lots O toilets for people to “boot” in after.

  • I think a more interesting exercise would be to assign a cocktail to each neighborhood. πŸ™‚

    • I discovered GINger Beer. Two parts ginger beer (Goya) to one part Bombay Sapphire in the biggest glass you can find. Perfect for outdoors.

      perfect for Petworth

    • This would be a fun exercise. Although as a resident of Adams Morgan, I’m not too excited about the Test Tube Shot with a stale Bud Light chaser that I suspect would be my ‘hood’s drink.

    • Adams Morgan: Jello shots with a side of Jumbo Slice.

      Dupont: Gin & Tonic

      U Street: Dirty Martini

      H Street: PBR

      Georgetown: Pretty pink shot with a fondant flower floating on top. You have to stand in line for 3 hours to get it.

  • Something called “B*tch Set Me Up”.

  • The NIMBY – a shot of single malt scotch, or a glass of good wine, served next to an empty bottle of malt liquor.

  • Whatever was trendy in NYC ten years ago.

  • A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat.

  • I am going to go with DC Brau. Only locally made beer, although not a cocktail. Had some the other night (the IPA) and it was yummy. No, I don’t work for them.

  • All this recent Rickey talk has me confused. As a seasoned drinker, I’ve heard of this thing but still associate Rickey with a slightly-off former base stealer who tended to refer to himself in the third person, but my question is still, what is the difference between a Rickey and a gin and tonic? More lime juice?

    • me

      The Rickey only has a splash of seltzer, not a lot of tonic. Plus, lots of lime juice instead of just a quick squeeze. I’ve only known of it as a gin drink…. the whiskey version sounds awful.

      • Ah, got it. Having never drunk tonic in a non gin and tonic form, I didn’t realize it was more than just seltzer water. Your response and a wikipedia check of tonic water have set me straight. Going to have to try one of these Rickey things after 18 years in this city.

    • no tonic in a rickey

      • me

        That’s what I said. It has a splash of seltzer (the seltzer isn’t really a “mixer” because there isn’t a lot of it), whereas a G&T has a lot of tonic. Maybe I should have worded it differently, but yeah.

  • that hottie over at metrocurean’s got the story

  • The DC Russian

    49% Kahlua
    49% Milk
    1.8% other stuff
    0.2% seltzer

    Mix it rigorously together and watch it explode.

    PBR – 4 LOKO – St Germain – Hurricane

  • A pint of Chocolate City beer.
    I’d vote for pineapple juice, 3 kinds of rum and a splash of Belle Creole’s Seventh Heaven mixer (with Ginger and Bois Bande) – it’s made in St. Lucia and makes everything taste like a Caribbean vacation.

  • The Dog Park- 2 parts DC Brau, and 1 part wine purchased from a MD or VA wine festival, muddled with a boutique cupcake, and a squeeze of organic lime from a neighborhood farmers market.

    The Ex-Dog Park- Same ingredients as “The Dog Park” but substitute the cupcake for a whoopie pie purchased from a food truck.

  • Totally thought it was Colt45 in a paper bag…and I was born here. Shows what I know.

  • Hennessy, neat.

Comments are closed.