Via Derek Brown, David Wondrich has a handwritten recipe by Colonel Joe Rickey for the original Rickey. Here’s what I think it says:
Col. Rickey’s Recipe for a “Rickey.”
Long glass – Ice
Whiskey [illegible] –
Don’t Drink too Many
Anyone want to take a guess at what the word(s) after “Whiskey” say?
Update: Consensus is clear, the first line is “Whiskey or Gin”. Thanks for the help everyone!
On Twitter, Dave Wondrich addresses my confusion that Rickey’s original recipe called for whiskey, not a choice between the two:
Rickey wrote that in 1895, at which point he was resigned to the ubiquity of the gin version
So while this is not the original recipe for the Rickey, as created at Shoemaker’s in Washington DC by Col. Joe Rickey, it is the first written version tied to the fine Colonel.