The Rickie Vasquez Rickey Cocktail Is All About the Spirit of Queer Representation

published Jun 1, 2022
Rickie Vasquez Rickey

This cassis-based rickey was inspired by My So-Called Life’s Rickie Vasquez, one of the first out gay characters on TV.

Makes1 drink

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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close up of flower in red cocktail glass with green drape background
Credit: Photo: Heami Lee; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen; Prop Stylist: Beth Pakradooni

The ’90s were a pivotal decade. For me growing up, it was the proliferation of LGBTQ visibility in popular culture that made me feel that being gay was normal. Greg Araki’s Teenage Apocalypse trilogy, k.d. lang, RuPaul, Will & Grace, and Batman & Robin were just a few of the many watershed Queer moments to take place during the decade. 

Despite this, there was still a long way to go in terms of true representation. Queer characters were often one-dimensional and portrayed as either victims or punchlines. Most Queer characters were played by cisgender, heterosexual people. The long-overdue-yet-still-ahead-of-its-time exception to this pattern was Wilson Cruz’s Rickie Vasquez from the short-lived but massively iconic TV show, My So-Called Life

Credit: Courtesy: Everett Collection

The show has had an outsized impact on pop culture, considering that it only ran for 19 episodes in 1994, and I suspect part of that had to do with this character. Not only was Cruz one of — if not the first — out gay person to portray a Queer person on primetime TV, but the character of Rickie Vasquez was also a fully formed person who was not defined by their Queerness — it was just matter-of-factly presented as part of who he was. He joined the female characters in the women’s restroom, he wore eyeliner, and lusted after boys. And it was no big deal. 

The Gin Rickey is a cocktail that rose to popularity during the ’90s — the 1890s, that is. The drink started as a mix of bourbon, lemon, and sparkling water, but switched to gin and lime around this time. To me, it’s one of the most perfect cocktails: refreshing, easy, and a great base to riff from. Here I’ve added a spot of fruity-and-floral crème de cassis to give the drink a fabulous purply hue.

Credit: Photo: Heami Lee; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen; Prop Stylist: Beth Pakradooni

Rickie Vasquez Rickey

This cassis-based rickey was inspired by My So-Called Life’s Rickie Vasquez, one of the first out gay characters on TV.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1 drink

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 4 ounces

    cold club soda or sparkling water

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    gin

  • 1/2 ounce

    crème de cassis

  • Ice

  • Garnish options: lime wheel, edible orchid

Instructions

  1. Juice 1 medium lime until you have 3/4 ounce. Place the lime juice, 4 ounces cold sparkling water, 1 1/2 ounces gin, and 1/2 ounce crème de cassis in a highball or other tall glass.

  2. Fill the glass with ice. Stir briefly and gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wheel and edible orchid if desired.