FOOD NOTES – Rickety month

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The newly formed D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild, made up of 10 local bartenders dedicated to the craft of mixology, has declared July “Rickey Month” in honor of the cocktail that was invented in Washington 119 years ago. In celebration, the Guild will hold a competition that the public can vote on with participating Guild members from the area’s top bars and restaurants. Mixologists will create their own take on the drink using gin or whiskey, lime and soda. These drinks are available in participating restaurants all month long, culminating in a Rickey party at Bourbon in Adams Morgan, August 4th to celebrate the winner.

The “Rickey” originated in Washington D.C. in the late 19th century, with the first recipe appearing in The Washington Post in 1889.

“Colonel Joe” Rickey was a lobbyist who used to drink regularly with members of Congress at the former Shoomaker’s Bar on E St., NW off Pennsylvania Avenue. While the Colonel originally ordered his Rickey with whiskey, the substitution of gin became the recipe preferred by many the drinkers that have kept the Rickey alive to this day.

One of the area’s most noted mixologists and Guild ambassador, Gina Chersevani of EatBar, says, “The Rickey is one of my favorite simple, summer drinks and I love that it was invented right around the corner.”

Other participating mixologists include Adam Bernbach of Bar Pilar, Owen Thomson of Bourbon, Justin Guthrie of Central, Gina Chersevani of EatBar, John Hogan of Hudson, Dan Searing of the Looking Glass Lounge, Kathryn Bangs and Chantal Tseng of the Tabard Inn, and Kevin Rogers of Urbana.

Visit participating establishments to sample the Rickeys and vote for your favorite at [email protected]. Votes will be tabulated and the winner of the People’s Choice will be revealed at Bourbon in Adams Morgan August 4th at 6 P.M. where participating mixologists will be in attendance to discuss their drinks. Special guest judges Eric Felten of the Wall Street Journal, Charlotte Voisey of Hendricks Gin, Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve and PX, and John “Mr. Gin” Wabeck of Inox will confer the Judge’s Award to a second winner.

Attendance is free. Bourbon will have a cash bar where people can try the winning recipe, which will be available throughout the party.

Guild spokesperson Dan Searing adds, “Our pride in the craft extends to our pride in the city and all of its talented and dedicated bartenders past and present. This is really a celebration of our city and its culture.”

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