As a “cocktail guy,” I sometimes get asked about the simple cocktail I make most often, and when I really think about it, it’s not even close. While I make myself Old Fashioneds and Manhattans and Martinis pretty often, by far, the drink I make the most is a Gin Rickey.
A “rickey” cocktail is a mixture of spirit, lime juice and club soda, and you can make it any way you like: Whiskey Rickey, Rum Rickey (a very nice variation), etc. It apparently was a “worldwide sensation” in the late 1800’s when it was made with gin. There was probably some sort of connection to scurvy, too, the big reason gin and citrus started to mix so often in cocktail history books.
I started drinking Gin Rickeys because I found store-bought tonic water to be to sweet for my tastes, but still wanted a gin-and-fizzy-stuff experience. If you look at the ingredients, you’ll see there is no sweetener in this cocktail, only spirit, citrus, club soda. To me it’s crisp, refreshing, dry and the easiest to make. It remains the #1 cocktail I make for myself at home.
When I started Simple Cocktails, I noticed that usually, the classic cocktails are the simplest. A balanced drink is often an issue of a bit of trial and error, too, to get the ratio of liquor and mixer just right.
I’m excited to have Q Drinks on board for this drink in particular, because I feel like soda’s become more and more sweet these days from it’s original makeup, which was a bit spicy balanced with sweet, with notes of clove, cinnamon and vanilla. Q Drink’s Kola is just that, though, a less-sweet traditional cola that makes a killer cocktail mixer because it allows you to make a balanced cocktail, and mixing Kola with rum, which also has some great caramel and cinnamon notes, is a match made in heaven.
This is a cocktail that’s pretty well-known, a slightly jazzed up Rum and Coke really. Just add a touch of lime juice and lots of limes for garnish, and you have the Cuba Libre cocktail: