Boston Eats – Raspberry/Lime Rickey

Photo credit: Amir Nejad via / CC BY-NC-ND

Over the weekend, Justin and I had the opportunity to explore the delicious food of Boston.

Let me first give you a frame of reference:

Atlanta is currently known for their "foodie culture". Restaurants are all about providing a "farm to table" experience which frequently means a new twist on Southern favorites that are altered as the season's change. One example of this is the chicken and dumplings served at JCT Kitchen on the Westside. While you may question how a soup can be considered "new and different", clearly you have not had a look at the menu where the description of "slow cooked chicken leg, buttery house-made dumplings, local vegetables" resides. Rather than providing a simple soup, JCT Kitchen serves everything in parts giving it what Justin and I describe as a European take on a Southern favorite. Is it actually European? … I don't know. I'd have to actually ask a European. In general, though, we tend to think of European food standards as higher (and fancier) than American, so that's where that thought comes from…

Anyway, JCT Kitchen isn't the only restaurant in Atlanta doing that and the European food experience isn't the only type of "farm to table experience" you can have. For example, Farm Burger provides organic burgers made from grass-fed cows that are simply amazing. It is honestly one of the best burgers I have ever had.

So when Justin and I went to Boston, we weren't expecting much in terms of a foodie culture. Obviously, aside from underwater critters (like fish, which I don't eat), we assumed that whatever Bostonians could do Atlantans could do just as easily.

Except I was wrong.

As it turns out, a trip to Faneuil's Hall provided a completely different and unique dining experience unlike any I have ever had in Atlanta. Faneuil's Hall is an outdoor mall where Bostonian's gather to hear music (or play music in some cases – including the piano that sits in the dining hall waiting for passersby, whether age 5 and unknowledgeable about music or age 80 and very knowledgeable about music, to play), eat and drink, and shop. Granted there are definitely some tourist traps in this area of town ($50 for a seafood/steak plate? $10 for macaroni and cheese?), but there are also many other smaller, amazing dining establishments. With so much variety available, there is something perfect for everyone.

During our recent visit, last Friday, Justin and his dad ordered 2 very different lobster rolls while I got a piece of pizza and something called a raspberry/lime rickey. First of all, let me say that my meal was by far the best of the options at the table, hands down. ;) Lobster rolls with too much mayo … or even none at all are just blech. (I don't recommend asking Justin. He's a bit biassed.) Nevertheless, my pizza definitely had a very Italian vibe to it unlike the typical Chicago, New York, or chain style pizza typically found … everywhere … (Pizza Hut ftw?). But beyond that, let me take a moment to talk about my raspberry/lime rickey…

Not quite a lime rickey, but close enough…

Back during the prohibition era (20s) after coke products had just begun selling (I'm from Atlanta. There is no such thing as Pepsi.), people wanted a fresher option from soda fountains, something that was more like a cocktail and less like a soda, without all of the alcohol. A lime rickey, when made correctly had the bite people were looking for. It was both bitter and sweet and was the perfect adult appeal.

"Lime was able to give you a kick. It comes through with that sharp tartness, and has a deeper, more mature bitterness that a lemon is lacking. Having a lime rickey without bourbon is better than, say, spiked lemonade without liquor. It's more of an adult drink even in its soda form." - Taylor Peck

Shortly thereafter, the prohibition era was over, bottled soda became fashionable and soda fountains were a thing of the past. Fresh-tasting drinks took a back burner and even bottled lime rickeys did not have quite the same appeal as lime rickeys made at a soda shop. Coke, once again, prevailed as the dominant soda. This lasted until very recently into the 2000s when soda shops once again began popping up all over the US providing fancy drinks and mocktails to consumers that wanted a more unique and interesting taste experience than regular canned soda could provide.

This is where I come in. :)

Not very hungry as we were looking for a food item I would enjoy at Faneuil Hall, I spotted a brightly colored cocktail/smoothie place, AND I knew what I wanted. Not pizza (though the pizza was very good), not lobster rolls … No. I wanted a sweet drink, and raspberry + lime sounded perfect!

Afterward, as I sipped on the delicious citrus flavored drink that contained bits of actual lime and raspberry to give it texture, I was informed that not only was I drinking a very old style drink, but raspberry/lime rickeys were actually a thing. All of a sudden, I started seeing them all over Boston in restaurants, ice cream shops, and everywhere! What had I been missing out on my whole life?

Immediately upon returning to GA I had Justin make me one. The recipe he used was very simple: sparkling water, sugar, fresh squeezed lime, and squished raspberry. Could it be better? Potentially, yes. If I come across a fantastic recipe in the future, I'll be sure to share with you. :)

In the mean time, did you know about lime rickeys? (Or raspberry/lime rickeys?) Were you holding out on telling me too?! And if you didn't know about them, just promise to make sure you try one next time you are in Boston. Or get one for your kids; they'd love it. :)

Here's a recipe just in case you don't have Boston travel plans in the future.

And an article on the history of the lime rickey.

… And some information on Faneuil Hall. Because.

Do I have any Boston blog readers following my blog? Is there any other great food or restaurants I missed while I was visiting? Share! I'd love to hear. I need to know for my next trip to Boston! :)

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