In last week's installment, we learned that Rhode Island has an official state beverage. It turns out that Washington, D.C. has an official alcoholic beverage: the Rickey.
What's a Rickey? For a definition, and the story behind it, we turn to an unusual place: the Washington D.C. Municipal Regulations. ACR 19-97, "Rickey Recognition Resolution of 2011," reads in part as follows:
WHEREAS, the Rickey was invented in Washington, D.C. in the 1880's and contains gin, bourbon, or rye whiskey, half a lime squeezed and dropped into a highball [glass] or goblet, ice, and sparkling mineral water;
WHEREAS, George A. Williamson, a prominent member of the business community and bartender, named by the Washington Post in 1911 as the "King of Juleps," created the Rickey, which was subsequently named after lobbyist Col. Joe Rickey;
WHEREAS, the Rickey was created at a prominent District landmark; Shoomaker's, which was formerly located at 1331 E Street N.W. (now Pennsylvania Avenue)... a place known to have been frequented by the District's most famous denizens, including every U.S. President from 1858 to 1917, with the exception of non-drinker Rutherford B. Hayes;
WHEREAS, the Rickey has enjoyed worldwide fame, been printed in cocktail books past and present, and immortalized in media from the Martha Stewart Show to the Simpsons;
WHEREAS, during the warm District summers, the responsible consumption of Rickeys by those of legal drinking age is said to be "air conditioning in a glass";
The Council of the District of Columbia recognizes the Rickey as the native cocktail of Washington, D.C. and declares the month of July as "Rickey Month" in the District of Columbia.
And that's pretty much the story: invented by business leaders, promoted by lobbyists, consumed by presidents, and given its own piece of legislation.
The Rickey is more of a summer drink than a winter one, due to its ability to make Washington's sweltering summers more bearable. But it's going to be 83 in Tampa today, so why not?
In recipe form (from TheBar.com):
- 1.25 oz. dry gin
- .25 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. soda water
Add gin and lime juice. Serve over ice in highball glass. Top with soda water.