The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. – Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby
The scene is an art deco study of white summer dresses, yellow sports cars, and the taut betrayal of lovers, and the drink is the cooling amalgamation of gin and lime which was dubbed the “Rickey” in 1890’s Washington, and is now drunk in “long, greedy swallows” by Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Tom and Daisy Buchanon in the summer heat. Although the up-and-coming release of the new Gatsby movie has sparked my interest to return to F. Scott F., on this occasion it is really the sublime quality of the cocktail-suffused text that has drawn me to seek it out as our literary cocktail. From claret to whiskey, mint julips, and gin, we follow Nick where he can “linger without looking purposeless and alone” – at the cocktail table:
a hand of fresh ginger
1/2-2oz gin per serving
a fresh lime
1/2 oz of fresh squeezed lime juice
It is generally understood that a gin rickey should consist of 1/2 to 2 oz of gin in a highball glass. I would imagine that Tom Buchanan in his indelicate way, would have followed these guidelines generously. For the added bite to the clear rickey, I would suggest a handful of fresh ginger slices, cut and skinned, to be thrown into the gin the night before, or morning of.
Strain the gin over ice, freshen with bubbly water of choice (for the rain effect, I would suggest using a pellegrino), add lime juice and stir. Garnish with lime and ginger slices if desired. With this tonic in hand, following Nick through parties and lunches will gather that, “dim, hazy cast over it,” which tokens the beginning of a good date – with a book, of course.