Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tales of the Cocktail invites you to submit your signature Rickey

A winning Rickey recipe can earn you a cash prize of $1,250, publication in Mutineer Magazine and the recognition of creating the "Office Cocktail" of the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail.

For our 11th anniversary, Tales of the Cocktail is shaking things up with its annual cocktail competition. If you think your skills are up to the challenge, they invite you to create a Rickey that can be use as its official cocktail at this year’s event, July 17-21, 2013.

A Rickey is defined by three over-arching characteristics: (1) it must be tart; (2) It must have a carbonated element; and (3) it must be refreshing–it’s a drink designed, after all, to cool a person during the notoriously muggy summers of Washington, D.C. Think of it as a swizzle meets highball. However, you may use any combination of spirits as the base. Colonel Joe Rickey, whom it was named after, liked Bourbon whiskey. Shoomaker’s, where it was invented, served it with rye whiskey and, throughout the country, it became famous with gin.

"Tales is an internationally-recognized event and being the winner, or even placing in the competition, would be a tremendous accomplishment," said Wendy Waren, VP of Communications, Louisiana Restaurant Association. "The bounty of ingredients and talented, creative professionals paired with the need to refresh the masses during the long, hot, humid summer days, will surely give Louisiana bartenders an edge in the competition."

So, with that in mind, any base spirit will do. You must also use a citrus element. The Rickey adds both the juice and shell of a lime. Any equivalent citrus is fine and, while in the shell is important in the original, it’s not necessary in your creation. You may use other garnishes.

You should, however, add no more than a modicum of sweetener. In a drink with 2 oz. spirit, 1/2 oz. lime juice and 4 oz. sparkling water, generally you shouldn’t use more than a 1/4 oz. of sweetener. However, with that in mind, any sweetener is permitted as long as the final drink remains tart.

The sparkling element is another ingredient where you can be creative. Just be careful of sweet sodas. The Ideal Bartender (1917) author Tom Bullock used ginger ale for his Bliz’s Royal Rickey. However, the drink turned out much sweeter than it’s predecessor. Here is a helpful list of criteria:
  • Base Spirit: Any spirit is fine, provided it’s over 40% alcohol.
  • Citrus: Equivalent to half of a lime, squeezed and dropped into glass.
  • Sweetener: Any sweetener, but be sparing.
  • Carbonation: There must be bubbles, soda or otherwise.
  • Service: In wine goblet or highball, served over ice.
Don’t over think it. This drink is simple and refreshing. If you wouldn’t drink a glass of your creation on a sweltering day with the air conditioning broken, then please don’t submit it. Also, remember that while the politicians of Washington never agree on anything they did put aside their differences long enough to pass a proclamation that the Rickey is delicious and the Nation’s Capitol’s native drink. Now that’s bipartisanship!

While Tales invites inventiveness and creativity, drinks must also be delicious. Sounds odd, but how many “cerebral” cocktails have we all had which “read well” on paper, but far too often, just aren’t very good?

Criteria to keep in mind:
  • Drink must be delicious
  • Can you actually finish it?
  • Is it delicious enough to re-order?
  • Drink should stay true to the overall concept of a Rickey
The rules can be found here. Let the games begin!

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