Spiffed-up Floral Rickey

Spring hasn’t officially arrived here in Washington, DC, but we have had some intermittent spring-like weather over the past few weeks, and the cherry blossoms are already starting to come out. We took a quick trip to Philadelphia last weekend to see the annual Philadelphia Flower Show, and this threw us into full-throttle spring mode. We’re ready to spiff up our outdoor spaces, mix up a tall drink, and enjoy cocktail hour outside.

To get things started, we decided to freshen up a simple classic cocktail with some floral notes. A Rickey is a highball that originated here in the District of Columbia in 1883. This drink was born when a local bartender added a lime to Colonel Joe Rickey’s daily dose of bourbon and sparkling water, and it really became popular a decade later when the bourbon was replaced with gin. 

Traditionally, a Rickey doesn’t contain any sweeteners (so maybe our cocktail is more like a Tom Collins), but we’re going to call it a Rickey anyway. Our cocktail contains all of the Rickey's ingredients, we’re just embellishing it with the addition of floral liqueur (St. Germain) and some hibiscus bitters. After some experimentation we felt that this drink also needed just a touch of simple syrup.

Since the Rickey originated here in Washington, DC, it seemed right to use a local gin. Fortunately, we have an excellent option with Green Hat Gin. It has citrus and light floral notes – making it the perfect base spirit for our cocktail. Green Hat is named after another local character, George Cassiday, who was the bootlegger who supplied elected officials on Capitol Hill with their gin during prohibition. Reportedly, George wore a green hat.

Think of this cocktail as the liquid metaphor of a flower in Joe Rickey’s lapel – which, in our opinion, would make him look rather spiffy. The botanical and floral notes of the gin and St, Germain provide the taste of spring, and the hibiscus petals add nice spring-like color. The Cocktail Artist has been set the mood with some new floral watercolor paintings - which we’ve paired with our drink.

Hopefully Colonel Rickey would approve. Cheers!

The Floral Rickey with Close up Rose - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Spiffed-up Floral Rickey

2 ounces Gin (Green Hat)
¾ ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 ounce Fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ ounce Simple Syrup
dashes of Hibiscus Bitters (Dashfire Bitters)
splash of Club Soda

Pour gin, St. Germain, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake briefly to mix ingredients, and strain into a goblet or highball glass with cubes. Top with a dash of club soda, and garnish with a mint sprig and dried hibiscus petals.

Spiffed-up Floral Rickey ingredients

Close up Rose- original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Rose - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

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