Looking for the perfect cocktail to beat Washington's sweltering summer heat? Your search is over: It was invented in Washington 128 years ago. The Rickey - a refreshing mix of bourbon, lime juice and soda water - was first concocted by bartender George Williamson at Shoomaker's Tavern, which stood at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (It was named after lobbyist Col. Joe Rickey, a part owner of the bar.)
The Rickey found worldwide fame when the bourbon was swapped out for gin, but either way it's the perfect summer drink. Last week, the Rickey was proclaimed "the native cocktail" of Washington by Councilman Jack Evans, who also proclaimed July "Rickey Month." On Sunday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton visited the 1331 Bar and Lounge at the J.W. Marriott hotel - the current occupant of 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. - to unveil a plaque memorializing it as the birthplace of the Rickey.
The staff at 1331 has been trained in the art of making gin and bourbon Rickeys by Derek Brown of the Columbia Room, and for the rest of the month, all Rickeys (made with Hendrick's Gin and Woodford Reserve Bourbon) are $6.50. With temperatures forecast in the triple digits, you're going to need one.
-- Fritz Hahn (July 22, 2011)