So simple to make and easy to drink, it’s a bipartisan favorite without debate.

The Rickey — gin, seltzer, and lime juice on the rocks in a Highball glass—is the ideal politically-themed drink to keep you cool—no matter what shenanigans ensue. For starters, its birthplace is the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Secondly, rumor has it, it was named after “Colonel Joe” Rickey who campaigned for presidential candidates, including Grover Cleveland, a two-term president in 1884 and 1892. On a hot, muggy day on the campaign trail, its even been said, that the Rickey was created for Joe Rickey by barkeep William Shoomaker at Shoomaker’s, a dive bar near the National Theatre that had been a watering hole for influencers on the Hill since the Mexican-American war.

However, Rickey was quoted in an Ohio newspaper in 1900 that he never had a proper Rickey, but prefers whiskey with soda and squeeze of lemon:

“This combination (whiskey, soda, lemon) became very popular at Shoomaker’s in Washington, where I did most of my drinking, and gradually the folks began asking for those drinks that Rickey drinks. About this time, the use of limes became fairly common, and one afternoon an experimenter tried the effect of lime juice instead of lemon juice in the drink, and from that time on, all Rickey’s were made from limes. I never drink the lime juice combination myself because I think the lemon acid is mellower and more beneficial.”

This whiskey version is aptly named the Joe Rickey.

Alcoholic drink. Vodka and tonic highball cocktail with a lime garnish, on an old wooden rustic table.

Joe Rickey

Then Prohibition hit, and the alcohol was dropped. But still, a Rickey was one of the most popular drinks at soda fountains across the nation. In fact, in 1915, The Dispenser’s Formulary or Soda Water Guide included an entire chapter of Rickey recipes, many with exotic homemade syrups. And today, it’s the granddaddy of many soda water forward drinks, from a Whiskey Highball to a Mint Julep.

So, why does the Rickey continue to be a crowd-pleaser? It’s so darnn easy to make and equally easy to drink. That’s probably why the legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald loved them. In the Great Gatsby, Daisy’s husband, Tom, delivers when asked to “make us a cold drink.” Then this incredible literary moment happened: “Four Gin Rickeys that clicked full of ice. Gatsby took up his drink. ‘They certainly look cool,’ he said with visible tension. We drank in long, greedy swallows.”

Plus, you can riff on the Rickey like nobody’s business. Switch out the base spirit and it works every time, even with challenging spirits, like a peaty Scotch. With the rise of Scotch in cocktails, the Scotch Highball makes a regular appearance on craft cocktails throughout the globe.