Every year, the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild holds a contest to see which local mixologist can create the best update of the Rickey. From house-infused whiskey to custom-made sodas, the creativity is boundless – as long as the core of the drink remains gin or bourbon, soda and lime.
This year's competition is the largest yet: Fifty bartenders from Washington, Alexandria and even Baltimore are vying for the title of Best Rickey, which will be judged at a big party at Jack Rose on Aug. 4. Between then and now, you can sample the Rickeys at all the participating restaurants and bars, which are listed below. Note that some bars are especially busy: Poste has six contestants, Range boasts four different Rickeys, and Tryst and Daikaya have each entered three bartenders.
It's worth your time to try a few. Print out a special Rickey Month passport from the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guide Web site – it will be available soon – and get it signed at each bar to verify you've tried a Rickey. A passport with five signatures gets you into the final party for $30, instead of the usual $35, and includes all-you-can-drink Rickeys and passed hors d'oeuvres from 4 to 8 p.m.