There isn’t a lot that is considered native of Washington D.C. though perhaps one can consider lobbying as a profession that. If it wasn’t invented in Washington D.C., lobbying was at least perfected here and is strongly associated with the District. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that D.C.’s “native” drink, the Rickey, can trace its roots to a lobbyist.
Lobbying was said to have truly started in the United States during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. A smoker, he found himself banned from the White House by his wife and was said to have enjoyed his cigars in the lobby of nearby Hotel Willard where politicans and others started to approach him for favours while he was slightly intoxicated. Col. Joe Rickey was probably one of those lobbyists when he sat just a few blocks away from the Willard, at Shoomaker’s in 1883. There, he was served squeezed lime into bourbon and soda by barman Joe Williamson. History claims he liked the drink and ordered another round, giving the libation its name and D.C. ties.
Below is a recipe for a classic Rickey:
2 oz gin or bourbon
Juice of half a lime
On August 3rd, however, there will be nothing classic about the rickeys being crafted at Adams Morgan’s Bourbon. As part of the 2nd annual Rickey month (that would be July), the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild is organizing a contest to see whose Rickey reigns supreme. Competing mixologists are Gina Chersevani of PS 7’s, Owen Thomson of Bourbon, Chantal Tseng of Tabard Inn, Dan Searing of Room 11/Warehouse Cafe, Tiffany Short of The Gibson, Clinton Terry of PX, Jon Arroyo of Founding Farmers, Sebastian Zutant of Proof, Andrew Shapiro of Inox, Rico Wisner of Poste Brasserie, Jill Zimorski of Café Atlantico and minibar, Diego Zeballos of Jaleo, David Fritzler of Tryst, Rachel Sergi of Zaytinya and Jason Strich of Rasika.