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How to Make a City Rickey Cocktail Inspired by Gin Rickey

How to Make a City Rickey Cocktail Inspired by Gin Rickey

What is Gin Rickey Cocktail?

Gin Rickey is one of the classic cocktails with 3 basic ingredients and easy to make. A colonel named Joe Rickey invented this cocktail in 1883 with the suggestion of his friends. Initially, when Joe Rickey started to drink it, bourbon was the main ingredient but in time it evolved to rye whiskey and gin. Nowadays, when you search for the recipe of City Rickey, gin will come up as the main ingredient. This is probably the reason we call it “Gin” Rickey =) You just need a highball glass filled with ice, 2 parts of bourbon, gin or rye whiskey, juice of half a lime and soda water to top up to make a Gin Rickey. But today, we’re going to make a City Rickey that I found on Absolut’s website.

I value this drink a lot because although the recipe is quite simple, I believe that the ingredients and how to mix them teach a lot about the basics of cocktails.

The Ingredients

You need 5 ingredients to make a City Rickey but these are very common ones that you will not have trouble having. In fact, if you’re into cocktails, I’m sure that you already have them in your drinks cupboard.

Just like the modified version of Gin Rickey, City Rickey also uses gin as the main ingredient. Other than that, you need triple sec, lime juice, soda water and cranberry juice.

As a fan of fresh ingredients, I love squeezing fruits to include in my cocktails but cranberry juice is one of the exceptions I have to make for the recipes. Luckily, there is a not-from-concentrate alternative from Ocean Spray which I can use comfortably.

With the addition of cranberry juice, City Rickey has a beautiful pink colour.

Recipe of City Rickey

We talked about the ingredients and now let’s get to the recipe. The ratios given below can depend on the size of your tall (or highball) glass but, as always, remember that you don’t need to strictly obey these ratios. Make your own so that you’ll love what you drink. Here, mine is probably different from what you’ll find on a web search:

  • 1 1/2 parts Gin
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1/3 part Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 part Soda Water
  • 1 1/2 parts Cranberry Juice

A hand pouring cranberry juice in a tall glass, making a City Rickey Cocktail, filled with ice.

How to build City Rickey

You don’t need a shaker or any fancy equipment to build your City Rickey. Fill your glass with ice, Add gin, lime juice and triple sec (I use Cointreau for that) first. Give it a good stir. Then add soda water and stir gently.

This is the part I love: add the cranberry juice slowly and watch it go down through the ice slowly. After that, it’s all up to you to stir it once more or drink it as it is.

You can put a cocktail stir stick and drink it by sipping or use a straw and enjoy. My set of cocktail equipment is all gold rose coloured and I love using matching colours, even though it makes no difference. I bought the stick I used for this cocktail from Amazon for £7.19 and they’re very pretty. You can see it and some other alternatives here if you’d like to check them out.


Cranberry is not a sweet fruit and if you used no sugar added juice, this drink will give you a sour taste. If you want a sweeter version, you can use sweetened juice or add 1/4 part of Simple Syrup to your drink.

As you can see, making fancy cocktails at home is not hard or does not take too much effort. At first, you should try classic cocktails by paying attention to the ingredients and ratios. Firstly, try to understand what makes you happy, which taste you love more. Afterwards, you can start modifying the well-known recipes and then get your hands into creating your own.

Let me know what you think about this cocktail and tell me about any ideas of how to alternate this drink. Cheers!

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