Few cocktails cut through a humid Washington summer like the Rickey. A mix of bourbon or gin, fresh-squeezed lime juice and soda water served over ice, the cocktail was created in the 1880s at a bar called Shoomaker's at 13th and E streets NW and named after lobbyist Col. Joe Rickey.

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.


Nick Lowe - Acadiana
Jamie McBain and Duane Sylvester - Bourbon Steak
Damian Torguson - Brabo
Bevan Bresnahan - Brabo
Mick Perrigo - Buffalo and Bergen
Rachel Sergi - Buffalo and Bergen
Glendon Hartley - Cava
Daniel McCombie - The Coupe
David Fritzler - The Coupe
Lauren Lowe - DC Coast
Eddie Kim - Daikaya
Lucas Smith - Daikaya
Michael Walcher - Daikaya
Mick McGuire - Estadio
Rico Wisner - Grafiato
Eve Maier - Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle)
Burke Podany - Hank's Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle)
Michael Saccone - Hank’s on the Hill
Julia Ebell - Hogo
Dani Paulson - Hogo
Amy Russell - Jack Rose
Ian Fletcher - The Majestic
Brian Bachley - Occidental DC
Jo-Jo Valenzuela - Occidental DC
Jade Aldrighette - The Passenger
Julia Hurst - The Passenger
Aubrey DeBoer - Poste Moderne Brasserie
Dave Lanzalone - Poste Moderne Brasserie
Andy Nelson - Poste Moderne Brasserie
James Nelson - Poste Moderne Brasserie
John Riley - Poste Moderne Brasserie
Jason Wiles - Poste Moderne Brasserie
Russell P Jones - PX
Jamie Imhoff - Range
Dane Nakamura - Range
Noah Broaddus - Range
Ben Wiley - Range
Sophie Szych - Restaurant Eve
Caroline Blundell - Ripple
Angelina Dirina - Room 11
Jess Woods - Room 11
Jung-Ah Park - Sidebar
Donato Alvarez - Sixth Engine
Julien Bourgon - Bar TNT
Chris Bassett - Trademark
Geraldine Galdamez - Tryst
Danyelle Hadaway - Tryst
Brett A. Robison - Tryst
Horus Alvarez - Vinoteca
Aaron Joseph - Wit and Wisdom Tavern