Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | July 6, 2011

The Original Rickey Recipe

Col. Rickey's Recipe for a "Rickey"

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] –
Lime Juice
Carbonated Water
Don’t Drink too Many
JK Rickey

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.



  1. I think the words after “Whiskey” are “or Gin.”

  2. I’m with Mark there, looks like “Whiskey or Gin”

    • That was my first thought and that seems to be the consensus. It’s just that my understanding of the history was that Col. Joe Rickey’s original recipe was a whiskey-based cocktail & gin variations came later.

  3. Whiskey [not moonshine]

  4. Oh, OK, I actually looked at it. agree, it’s “Or Gin”

  5. Definitely “or Gin”. I’d say you have a concencus.

  6. […] Hits Matt Hamlin has a great scan of the original Rickey recipe, in Colonel Rickey's own hand. Typical of a Washington lobbyist to prefer the wrong ingredient in his own damn drink…. The top […]

  7. […] Gin Rickeys […]

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