Whiskey Rickey Cocktail Recipe

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Whiskey Rickey Nutrition Facts






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 7, 2024


The Whiskey Rickey is a classic cocktail that dates back to the late 19th century. It was first created in Washington D.C. at Shoomaker's bar by bartender George A. Williamson. The drink was named after Colonel Joe Rickey, a prominent lobbyist and bourbon enthusiast.

  • Originally made with bourbon, the Whiskey Rickey later became popular with other types of whiskey, such as rye and Irish whiskey.
  • The Whiskey Rickey is part of the Rickey family of cocktails, which also includes the Gin Rickey and the Vodka Rickey.

How Whiskey Rickey Tastes?

The Whiskey Rickey is a refreshing, slightly tart, and subtly sweet cocktail. The whiskey provides a warm, robust base, while the lime juice adds a zesty citrus note. The club soda gives it a light, effervescent finish.

Interesting facts about Whiskey Rickey

  • The Whiskey Rickey is considered a 'hair of the dog' hangover remedy due to its light and refreshing nature.
  • The Whiskey Rickey was declared the official cocktail of Washington D.C. in 2011.
  • The Whiskey Rickey is often served in a highball glass, but can also be served in an old-fashioned glass.



The whiskey is the heart of our Rickey, bringing its soulful notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of smokiness depending on the variety. We use 2 oz because it's the Goldilocks amount—not too weak, not too strong. If you skimp on it, the drink becomes a sad whisper of a cocktail; too much, and it's a one-way ticket to Tipsy Town.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice

Fresh lime juice adds a zesty punch that cuts through the whiskey's complexity. The 0.5 oz is just enough to be noticed without turning the drink into a sour face contest. Skip it, and you'll be missing a key player that brightens the whole team. A lemon could pinch-hit, but it’ll bring a different, slightly sweeter vibe.

Mary Mitkina

Club Soda

Club soda is the sparkle in our cocktail's eye, giving it the effervescence that makes it so refreshing. Pour in 4 oz to ensure a balanced dance between bubbly and booze. Too little and our Rickey feels flat, too much and you're in diluted drink territory. No club soda? Tonic water could work but expect a touch of bitterness to the party.

Alex Green


Ice is our silent guardian, keeping the Rickey cool and diluting it ever so slightly for that perfect sipping experience. As needed, because everyone's chill level is different—but no ice, and you have a room temp puzzlement that's not half as inviting.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Wedge

The lime wedge is the flashy accessory that says, 'Yes, I am indeed a cocktail.' Garnish with it to add a pop of color and a quick hit of aroma when you lift the glass. Forget it, and nobody will judge, but your Rickey will be naked.

Mary Mitkina

Mint Sprig

The optional mint sprig is like a fresh breeze on a hot day—a subtle hint of coolness that pairs beautifully with lime. Add it, and you have an elevated drink experience; leave it out, and your Rickey is still great—just less fancy.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Whiskey Rickey Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz of whiskey to the glass.
  3. Squeeze 0.5 oz of fresh lime juice into the glass.
  4. Top with 4 oz of club soda.
  5. Gently stir the cocktail to combine the ingredients.
  6. Garnish with a lime wedge and an optional mint sprig.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass before preparing the cocktail to keep it cool longer.
  • Don't over-stir the cocktail to maintain the fizziness of the club soda.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Meats: The robust flavors of whiskey will complement the charred, smoky flavors of grilled steaks and barbecued ribs.
  • Seafood: Lighter seafood dishes, like grilled shrimp or a ceviche, can be highlighted by the Whiskey Rickey's crispness.
  • Spicy Foods: The effervescence of the club soda and the tartness of the lime can help soothe the heat from spicy dishes like wings or a spicy Asian curry.
  • Salty Snacks: Salted nuts, chips, or pretzels make for a simple yet perfect pairing, as the salt will enhance the flavors in the drink.

Drink Pairings

  • Craft Beers: A hoppy IPA can be a nice follow-up to a Whiskey Rickey, as the bitterness of the hops can contrast nicely with the cocktail's citrus notes.
  • Dry Wines: A glass of dry white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, before or after a Whiskey Rickey keeps the palate refreshed.
  • Iced Tea: Non-alcoholic option that complements the whiskey's warmth and the cocktail's refreshing qualities.

Remember, pairing is subjective and the best pairing is one that suits your individual taste!

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What you could change in Whiskey Rickey

  • Whiskey: Can be replaced with bourbon, rye, or Irish whiskey.
  • Club Soda: Can be replaced with tonic water for a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Lime Juice: Can be replaced with lemon juice for a different citrus note.

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

Bourbon Rickey

Swap out the whiskey for bourbon, and you'll have a sweeter melody playing in your glass. The corn-forward bourbon dances well with the lime, adding a touch of Southern charm.

  • Ingredients: Bourbon instead of whiskey, rest remains the same
  • Recipe: Follow the original, just with bourbon's sweet hug

Rickey Goes to the Orchard

Add a splash of apple juice for an autumnal take on the classic. The apple's tart sweetness will give a crisp edge, making it an orchard in a glass.

  • Ingredients: Add 1 oz apple juice
  • Recipe: After lime, add the apple juice, then follow the rest

Sparkling Rickey

Use sparkling wine instead of club soda for a celebratory twist. You'll tickle your nose and palate with a bubbly kick that's perfect for special occasions or just because.

  • Ingredients: Replace club soda with an equal amount of sparkling wine
  • Recipe: Same as always, but with more sparkle

In case you forgot basics how to make Whiskey 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 Whiskey Rickey

What type of whiskey is best for a Whiskey Rickey?

While the Whiskey Rickey can be made with any type of whiskey, many bartenders prefer using a high-quality bourbon or a smooth, well-aged Irish whiskey for this cocktail.

Can I make a Whiskey Rickey without the lime wedge garnish?

Yes, while the lime wedge adds a visually appealing touch and a hint of citrus, it is not a vital component of the drink.

Can I add sugar or a sweetener to a Whiskey Rickey?

While a traditional Whiskey Rickey does not contain any added sugar, it is ultimately up to personal preference. If you find the cocktail too tart, you can add a sugar cube or a dash of simple syrup to sweeten it.

What is the proper way to sip a Whiskey Rickey?

There's no 'right' way to enjoy a Whiskey Rickey. You can sip it slowly to savor the flavors, or take bigger swallows if you prefer. Just ensure you consume alcohol responsibly.

Can I use a lime-flavored soda instead of club soda and lime juice?

Yes, you can. However, using lime-flavored soda may make your cocktail sweeter than a traditional Whiskey Rickey.

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