How to Make a Classic Gin Rickey (And Why You Should)

Gin Rickey cocktail

Summer time around here typically means one cocktail above all else - the beloved gin and tonic. But this year, my husband (finally) really fell in love with gin, and when he ran out (read: drank all) of my fancy tonic water while I was away visiting family, he tried substituting seltzer water instead. He didn’t know it then, but what he was drinking is also known as a Gin Rickey. This simple combination of gin, half a lime’s juice, and carbonated water is as easy-going and fresh as it gets. Pretty soon, my husband told me he actually enjoyed his gin more this way, and after a bit of coaxing, I’m finally swapping out my G&T for a Rickey now and then too!

Gin Rickey cocktail

Gin + lime + carbonated water

Traditionally, a Rickey is the ultra-refreshing combination of freshly squeezed lime juice, carbonated water and bourbon. Eventually some smart cat thought to try it with gin, and the rest is history. Both versions are delicious, by the way. What really sets a Gin Rickey apart from other citrusy highballs like a Collins is the lack of sugar. No simple syrup or liqueurs here.

Why you should drink more Gin Rickeys this summer

A Gin Rickey is pretty much a “gin and soda” with a solid dose of lime juice. I guess that may have been why I was hesitant to embrace it at first, but there are three solid reasons I think Gin Rickeys should be on any cocktail lover’s top summer drink list:

  1. They’re incredibly refreshing. You’re hydrating and getting a dose of vitamin C while enjoying a cocktail. Score!

  2. They’re low cal / carb. Ok, so not everyone cares about this stuff, but let’s be real. Most of us could use a lower calorie cocktail option now and then (especially folks like myself who consume alcohol for a living. Let me just say that my swimsuit is feeling a bit snug these days, after all those poolside pina coladas).

  3. MOST IMPORTANT: You get to really taste your gin! See, unlike a typical vodka soda, this cocktail is all about taste. You can enjoy even some of the more subtle flavors in your gin of choice, and round things out with a splash of citrus. What’s not to love?

Gin Rickey cocktail with mint

A Classic Gin Rickey


  • 2 oz gin of choice

  • Juice of ½ a lime

  • 4-6 oz carbonated water (go with a mineral water for more flavor than a seltzer)


Fill a tall glass with ice. Seriously, fill it all the way, as pictured below. The more ice, the quicker the chill down and the less dilution overall. Using less ice will just give you a not-that-cold, watered down tasting drink. Pour the gin and lime juice over the ice and give it a stir. Top with your carbonated water of choice, stir gently, and enjoy! Garnish with a lime wheel and mint or other herbs that compliment your gin of choice, if desired.

STEP ONE: Fill a tall glass with ice.

STEP ONE: Fill a tall glass with ice.

STEP TWO: Add gin and lime juice.

STEP TWO: Add gin and lime juice.

Classic Gin Rickey - step three, top with carbonated water