Lime Rickey: A Lemonade Alternative

I love fresh lemonade as much as the next person. But, by this time of summer it’s a little “been there, done that.” So, a lime rickey is an easy and unexpected alternative for your guests.


To make limeade or lemonade, the key is to balance the sour — lime or lemon — with the sweet of sugar, in this case simple syrup — diluted with water or, in this case, seltzer. It is seltzer that transforms an “ade” to a “rickey.’ You need enough sweet and sour for flavor and enough water to lighten without over-diluting the sweet-sour flavor.  The basic mix is one part juice, one part simple syrup and two parts water or seltzer over ice. If your mixture is not chilled, more ice will melt and further dilute your beverage so you could back off the water or seltzer if your mix is not pre-chilled.

Do ahead You can make the “base” of fresh lime juice and simple syrup up to a week in advance. Finish with ice, seltzer and a wedge of lime.

1 quart fresh lime juice, chilled (See Note)
2 3/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 cup water
2 quarts seltzer (See Note)
16 lime wedges
16 sprigs mint, optional

1. Make simple syrup: In a small pot over moderate heat combine sugar and water. Heat until sugar is fully melted into water. Chill.
2. In a pitcher, combine fresh lime juice, simple syrup. Chill.
3. To serve, fill glasses with ice. Add equal parts of lime-syrup mix and seltzer. Stir. Pour into glass leaving space for seltzer. Top with seltzer and stir. Garnish with lime wedge and optional mint sprig. If you would like your rickey a touch more sour, be sure to squeeze your lime wedge and/or add a second lime wedge.

Serves 12-16


To make a proper lime wedge, trim each end of a lime.


Cut lime in half and cut each half into three or four wedges.


Trim the white membrane from each wedge. The knife blade is pointing to the white membrane.

Note: Fresh lime juice.
There are few substitutes for fresh lime juice. My local Whole Foods carries a high quality “fresh” lime juice in a bottle that is fine. Make sure any bottled product you buy is just fresh juice and lightly processed. Otherwise, buy limes and squeeze you own juice.


Note: Seltzer
Not all sparkling water is created equal. There’s a long note about sparkling water in At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining. Cheap seltzer is pretty harsh on its own, but you need the “muscle” of cheap seltzer to add the spritz required for a good rickey.

Tomorrow: One Relaxed Hour

We are about four weeks from having books in hand and starting to ship. If you buy your book(s) now, you will receive a signed, limited first edition.


Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays, Recipes, Tips

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s