Gin Rickey Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
The classic gin rickey is amazingly simple. Just add a splash of club soda to gin and freshly squeezed lime juice for a refreshing cocktail.

Updated: May 28, 2024

This gin rickey recipe is the zero-sugar alternative to a gin and tonic. Made with just three ingredients, a gin rickey cocktail gets its signature flavor from tangy lime juice and bright, juniper-flavored gin. Mineral-rich club soda joins the two, giving the drink a refreshing, effervescent finish. It’s perfectly tart and surprisingly balanced.

The rickey got its start in the 1880s as a bourbon drink. Joe Rickey, a lobbyist living in Washington, D.C., asked a bartender at Shoomaker’s to add lime juice to his bourbon and soda. The gin version then gained popularity in the early 20th century when F. Scott Fitzgerald (a fan of gin cocktails) featured it in his 1920s-era novel, The Great Gatsby. The character Tom Buchanan made a batch of gin rickey cocktails to share on a broiling hot summer’s day, and the rest is history!

Gin Rickey Ingredients

  • Gin: Each gin brand and style has a different flavor profile, and you can use any of them to make a gin rickey cocktail. London dry gin is a classic choice for its citrusy, juniper-forward flavor. (If you’re new to gin, check out our picks for the best gin for Negroni.)
  • Club soda: The difference between club soda and seltzer is that the former contains minerals, so it has a deeper, more complex flavor than neutral-tasting seltzer.
  • Limes: Skip the bottled lime juice and squeeze the limes fresh to order. You’ll definitely be able to taste the distinction!

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the glass and add the gin

Overhead shot of fill highball or collins glasses with ice; pouring gin; lime wedges over chopping board; marble background;TMB Studio

Fill a highball or Collins glass with ice. Pour in the gin.

Editor’s Tip: No need to fret over the glass. The Collins glass is only slightly taller than the highball, and both can be used for similar drinks.

Step 2: Add the juice

Table view shot of pouring lime juice into glasses;; lime wedges over chopping board; marble background;TMB Studio

Pour the freshly squeezed lime juice into the glass.

Step 3: Add the club soda

Table view shot of top with a splash of club soda; soda bottle;TMB Studio

Top the cocktail with a splash of club soda.

High angle shot of squash lime; marble background;TMB Studio

If desired, garnish the cocktail with a lime wedge.

High angle shot of Gin Rickey; served in three collins glasses; garnished with lime wedge; lime wedges on chopping board; marble background;TMB Studio

Gin Rickey Variations

  • Use flavored soda water: You can easily change the flavor of a gin rickey by replacing the club soda with flavored soda water. Grapefruit sparkling water would be a delicious choice.
  • Swap in lemon juice: Use lemon juice instead of lime juice to turn the gin rickey into a Tom Collins cocktail.
  • Skip the gin: Make a classic rickey by using bourbon instead of gin. Other liquors work as well, such as brandy, tequila or rum. To make a nonalcoholic lime rickey, use simple syrup instead of gin.

Can you make a gin rickey ahead of time?

We don’t recommend making a gin rickey recipe ahead of time. The cocktail will loose its oomph as soon as the bubbles in the water dissipate, so plan on making this cocktail just before serving it.

Gin Rickey Tips

Close shot of Gin Rickey; served in three collins glasses; garnished with lime wedge;TMB Studio

What’s the difference between a gin rickey cocktail and a gin and tonic?

Gin rickeys and gin and tonics are both classic cocktails made with gin, but a gin rickey uses club soda instead of tonic water. A rickey also gets a squeeze of lime juice in addition to a lime garnish.

What’s the difference between a gin rickey and a gimlet?

A gin rickey and a gimlet both contain gin and lime juice, but the gimlet is sweetened with simple syrup and is typically shaken with ice and strained into a coupe glass. A gin rickey, on the other hand, is a zero-sugar cocktail that uses carbonated water in place of simple syrup and is usually served over ice.

Gin Rickey

Prep Time 5 min
Yield 1 serving

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Club soda
  • 1 lime wedge

Directions

  1. Fill a highball or Collins glass with ice; pour gin and lime juice into glass. Top with a splash of club soda, if desired, garnish with lime wedge.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 136 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 14mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Club soda is added to a splash of gin and freshly squeezed lime juice to make a refreshing cocktail. It's a drink that's easy to switch up, too—try using different soda flavors or alcohol for a blend of flavors. —Susan Bronson, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Recipe Creator