Grapefruit Rickey Cocktail Recipe

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Grapefruit Rickey Nutrition Facts


Total fat:0g




Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Rickey is a classic cocktail that traditionally combines gin or bourbon with lime juice and carbonated water. The Grapefruit Rickey is a refreshing twist on this classic, substituting lime with grapefruit for a tangy and slightly sweet variation.

  • Origin: The original Rickey was created in Washington D.C. during the late 19th century.
  • Popularity: It's particularly popular among those who appreciate a less sweet, more refreshing cocktail.
  • Adaptation: The Grapefruit Rickey is a modern adaptation, perfect for grapefruit lovers and those looking for a citrusy, low-calorie drink.

How Grapefruit Rickey Tastes?

The Grapefruit Rickey offers a harmonious blend of tart and sweet flavors, with the grapefruit juice providing a zesty punch that's mellowed by the botanical notes of gin. The carbonation from the seltzer adds a lively effervescence, making it a light and refreshing choice.

Interesting facts about Grapefruit Rickey

  • The Rickey was named after Colonel Joe Rickey, a lobbyist who enjoyed the combination of bourbon, sparkling water, and lime.
  • Grapefruit juice can vary in sweetness depending on the variety, which can affect the taste of the cocktail.
  • The Grapefruit Rickey is often considered a 'brunch cocktail' due to its light and refreshing nature.


A few good options for Grapefruit Rickey are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The gin is the backbone of this cocktail, providing a complex herbal flavor that complements the grapefruit's tartness. Too much gin can overpower the other flavors, while too little won't provide that classic kick.

Alex Green

Grapefruit Juice

This juice adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, responsible for the cocktail's name. Without it, you'd miss the refreshing zest that makes a Rickey what it is.

Emma Rose

Grapefruit Seltzer

Adds fizz and amplifies the grapefruit taste without extra sweetness. Substitute with plain seltzer for a less fruity profile.

Mary Mitkina


Keeps the drink cold and refreshing. Without enough ice, the cocktail could become too warm and taste diluted as the ice melts.

Alex Green


Provides a sweet contrast to the drink's acidity. Rim without sugar would lead to a less balanced taste experience.

Emma Rose

Fresh Mint

Mint adds brightness and a cool finish. Leave it out, and you miss that refreshing aroma that elevates every sip.

Mary Mitkina

Fresh Grapefruit

A winning garnish that adds an extra pop of flavor and a visually refreshing look. It's also nice to have a piece of fruit to nibble on!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Grapefruit Rickey Drink

  1. Rim the glass with sugar by rubbing a grapefruit wedge around the edge and dipping it into sugar.
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. Pour in the grapefruit juice and gin.
  4. Stir the mixture gently.
  5. Top off with grapefruit seltzer.
  6. Garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit and a sprig of mint.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the Glass: For an extra refreshing experience, chill the glass before preparing the cocktail.
  • Quality Gin: Use a good quality gin with a flavor profile that complements grapefruit.
  • Garnish: Slap the mint gently between your hands before garnishing to release its aromatic oils.

Perfect Pairings


  • Ceviche: The citrus from the grapefruit pairs beautifully with fresh seafood.
  • Cheese platter: A selection of creamy cheeses like brie or goat cheese complement the cocktail's crispness.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken: Lightly seasoned, allows the cocktail to shine as a refreshing palate cleanser.
  • Fish Tacos: Tangy flavors of the Grapefruit Rickey can cut through the richness of the tacos.


  • Lemon Tart: The sour elements in both can harmonize, providing a pleasant contrast.
  • Fruit Salad: Fresh fruit would match the drink's bright and clean profile.

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What you could change in Grapefruit Rickey

  • Gin: You can substitute gin with vodka for a milder taste.
  • Grapefruit Juice: If fresh grapefruit juice is not available, bottled grapefruit juice can be used, though fresh is always preferred for the best flavor.
  • Grapefruit Seltzer: Plain seltzer or club soda can be used if grapefruit seltzer is not on hand, just add a bit more grapefruit juice.

Explore all drinks starting with G here

And of course - twists🍹

Gin Switch-Up

  • Replace gin with vodka for a more neutral alcohol base. The cocktail will have a smoother taste without the botanicals of gin.

Exotic Twist

  • Add a splash of coconut water and a teaspoon of honey. The coconut adds a tropical twist, while honey sweetens and adds complexity.

Herbal Rickey

  • Infuse the gin with rosemary for a few hours before mixing. The rosemary will add an earthy note that contrasts with the grapefruit's bright flavor.

In case you forgot basics how to make Grapefruit Rickey

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Grapefruit Rickey

What type of glass is best suited for a Grapefruit Rickey?

A highball glass is typically used for serving a Grapefruit Rickey to accommodate the ice and carbonated component comfortably.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of this cocktail?

Yes, you can create a mocktail version by omitting the gin and possibly adding a non-alcoholic spirit or a bit more grapefruit juice and seltzer.

Is it necessary to use fresh grapefruit for garnishing?

While fresh grapefruit garnish is preferred for its aroma and presentation, you can omit it or use dehydrated grapefruit slices as an alternative.

What are the best times of year to serve a Grapefruit Rickey?

Grapefruit Rickey is especially refreshing in the summer months or in warm climates but can be enjoyed year-round.

How long does it take to prepare a Grapefruit Rickey?

Preparation time is minimal, usually under 5 minutes, making it ideal for quick serving.

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