If that was Feh-bruary, I’m hoping this doesn’t become Meh-rch.

Part of the reason I didn’t post much last month was, Sean and I conducted a mega cocktailing session a couple weeks ago that yielded, like, 8 or so bloggable potations — zero-ish of which I felt any excitement about. We were going for volume, and aiming to keep the necessary ingredients in line with what we already had on hand.┬áSuch cocktailing under pressure can still yield inspiring results — and in fact, I always try to err on the side of fridge and pantry staples when composing recipes, because, you know, Shit At-Home Bartenders Have.

So maybe it was just Feh-bruary working its dour magic, or maybe the problem was that we relied on one book out of our entire cocktail reference library, a book I must now admit I find lacking in its organization, writing style, fonts and pretty much anything else you eyeball when you open a book.

(If you see this book cover, crack with caution…)

So, here I am with a backlog of recipes and a complete lack of anything to say about them… except, I suppose, this one. Because it doesn’t matter how poorly laid-out a rickey recipe may be within the pages of a particular tome; a rickey recipe is forever timeless and foolproof (and boastworthy as its own mini-history lesson). Never mind the five inches of snow that’s accumulated since this morning OF MARCH FIRST on the Montreal side street I look out at every day; wherever you’re downing a rickey, it’s at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. Writer’s block may be the sad side effect of a neverending winter and a glut of who-cares concoctions, but a rickey can always get your juices flowing.

A rickey is one of those categories of cocktails — well, firstly, it’s not technically a cocktail, it’s a highball; second, what I mean is, it’s like a smash or a shrub or a julep – defined not by its primary liquor but by all the other stuff, which in this case means lime juice, club soda and a lime garnish. So you can have a bourbon rickey, a Scotch rickey, a sloe gin rickey, a vodka rickey, a brandy rickey and so on. (Although whatever you do, don’t have a vodka rickey. Drink with purpose!)

Really, the rickey embodies all those qualities that make me most love a five o’clock cocktail (it’s not just a blog; it’s a thing you can do!). It’s a good and proper drink, imbued with history and flavor (the gin rickey’s especially nice with its gimme combo of juniper and ┬ácitrus), and it’s got that elegant simplicity thing going that allows a feeling of all-is-rightness to wash over me, even when I’m stuck in a glut of wrong.

The Gin Rickey

(Adapted from the book pictured above, and really, I”m not looking to start turf wars here, I just don’t find this book as handy and delightful as many others)

2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Club soda

Lime wedge or wheel, to garnish

Pour gin, lime juice and club soda, in that order, into a tall, ice-filled Collins glass. Stir briefly. Garnish with lime wedge or wheel.

Tasting Notes

A less-tall highball glass will suit if you don’t have a nice, tall, slender Collins glass. Trivia: Add simple syrup or sugar to a rickey and you have a Collins.

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