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Boston's ultimate lime rickey?

As suggested on another thread, a discussion of the city's finest lime rickeys would be useful.

My vote: one of the two remaining Brighams left in the area, at 2 Trapelo Road in Belmont, does the best raspberry lime rickey I've ever had. It's not too sweet, and heavier on the lime than the raspberry, and -- crucially -- it's made with seltzer. This is actually a point of pride at this location. When the Brighams in JP closed, Allstonian and I overheard a couple of the teens behind the counter at the Belmont location talking about the closing. One of them said, "Well, I'm not surprised. They used SPRITE in the raspberry lime rickeys!" It was the tone of "how dare they?" outrage that got us -- would that more employees in ANY restaurant had that level of pride in their work!

I'm telling you, a Great American sandwich and a raspberry lime rickey at the Belmont Brighams is one of my favorite lunches in this entire city, summertime or any other time of year.

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  1. Do you know it the Brigham's in Wellesley has lime rickey?
    Not open yet, but the Dairy Joy in Weston has a great lime rickey. Sure miss Bailey's.

    15 Replies
    1. re: emilief

      Didn't even know there WAS still a Brighams in Wellesley! The only ones I know of are Belmont and Arlington.

      It's one of their signature items, though, so I'm sure they have them.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Brighams in Wellesley is in the same small shopping area with Whole Foods and Quebrada Bakery- Wellesley Hills Square. 2 minutes from Route 9.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Brigham's has 19 locations:


          I remember when there were at least six in Newton alone -- Newton Centre, Newtonville, West Newton, Newton Highlands, Auburndale, Chestnut Hill -- all of them gone now!

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            There is also a Brigham's at the mall in Danvers where the movie theater is.

            1. re: taxi

              Turns out there's one in Burlington Mall too. I didn't know that because if I'm at Burlington Mall, I'm heading straight for the Chick-Fil-A.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                There's one on the Wakefield/Melrose border as well, on Main Street. Actually, they say there are 19 stores around, including on in Boston on HIgh Street. http://www.brighams.com/restaurants/l...

                1. re: Chris VR

                  It's weird that their website says that the one on High Street is still open, because it's been closed for well over a year!

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    No, it's the Congress Street location that closed. I have to admit I had forgotten all about the High Street location, as it's in a part of downtown I haven't walked through in years.

                  2. re: Chris VR

                    Its not a Brigham's, but Colleen's in Medford Square used to be a Brighams and has made very few changes to the menu. I haven't had the Lime Rickey in a long time, but will give it a shot again (I do particularly like Bartley's).

                    Also the Mill Street location in Arlington is accessible from the Arlington Center/Lexington section of the Bike Trail which is pretty handy to know for a good refreshment (Arlington Center also isn't far from the trail crossing too).

                  3. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I'm going off on a tangent, but THERE'S A CHIK FIL A AT BURLINGTON MALL??!?!?!?

                    I hate malls with a passion but I just may have to stop by sometime!

                    1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                      Just remember to not go on a Sunday - I keep making that mistake. And I should know better, being a "Southern Expat"!

                      1. re: kallis33

                        oh yeah, they're closed for Day of Rest on Sundays, not out of allegiance to the old Yankee Blue Laws!!!

                2. re: emilief

                  I really dislike the one at Dairy Joy - way too sweet and you can't taste the lime! I do love the Dairy Joy though.

                  1. re: gini

                    I love Dairy Joy, too, but it's good for exactly three things: fried clams, onion rings, and soft serve ice cream. Everything else is best avoided!

                3. JP Licks has them. Good but over-priced, as everything is there.

                  The best were at Billings & Stover outside Harvard Sq. But "were" is the word.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lergnom

                    JP Licks offers raspberry-lime but you can't get a plain lime rickey there.

                    Bartley's and Brigham's are my usual sources. Brigham's still uses it's proprietary syrup to make them. Believe it or not, Red Rock Bistro in Swampscott makes a good one with plenty of fresh lime juice and seltzer and not too much syrup.

                  2. Thank you for this thread!

                    1. I've always enjoyed the raspberry-lime rickeys with my blue cheese burgers at Bartley's.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chuck s

                        Agree, Bartley's Burger Cottage does a terrific raspberry lime rickey. This summer I was making a darned good one myself with Totani brand raspberry syrup. The store I bought it at sold out of it, so I asked them to re-order it. This time, I will buy several bottles.

                      2. Thanks, BFP - I could not agree with you more. It reminds me of shopping with my grandmother in Downtown Crossing (then just Washington Street) in the mid-60s and heading to Woolworth's after for a hot dog and a lime rickey. It is probably my most nostalgic meal and I recreate the taste today with a lime rickey at Brigham's! YUM! The best. Although I cannot say I have ventured beyond Brigham's for one. I am interested in trying other suggestions! Thank you for this post!!

                        1. I'm not sure if it's always on the menu but I've enjoyed the raspberry lime rickeys at Flour by the Children's Museum.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Chris VR

                            Cabot's in Newton does a great raspberry lime rickey.

                            1. re: edgewater

                              Ooh, I bet they do. I was just waxing rhapsodic about them yesterday in another thread, but I don't think I've ever had a rickey there.

                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                Town Diner in Watertown does a nice one. I always appreciate finding one. Like running into an egg cream in NY: great nostalgia moment.

                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                  Is an Egg Cream the same as an Ice Cream Soda?

                                  1. re: mmocpi

                                    Nope. An egg cream doesn't have ice cream. An ice cream soda is *similar* to an egg cream, but it's topped by a scoop of ice cream. (Although I think and egg cream is made with milk, syrup, and seltzer, while the best ice cream sodas are made with a wee little slug of half-and-half plus syrup and seltzer.

                                    Speaking of which, even more than the lime/raspberry lime ricky, the ice cream soda is a sadly endangered species in Boston. The Herrell's in Allston used to have good ones, but the folks that knew how to make them moved on and the new help didn't have a clue. I can sometimes get a good one at the JP Licks in Coolidge Corner, but they don't have a good range of syrups, so they often have to make my favorite flavor (strawberry) with the "juice" from strawberry sundae topping.

                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                      You are so right. I order ice cream sodas and get a blank look and "uh .... so you want a coke with ice cream in it?" WHY DO YOU HAVE IT ON THE MENU IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS?!

                                      I'm sorry I seem to be so excitable today.

                                      1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                                        Thirty-five years ago, when my family stopped at a Howard Johnson's on the Mass Pike for ice cream sodas, I didn't know why everyone was laughing with me when my father asked what flavor soda I wanted and I answered "orange" (which was the kind of soda I always got at HoJo's!).

                                    2. re: mmocpi

                                      For future reference....

                                      egg cream = milk, seltzer, flavored syrup (chocolate only).
                                      ice cream soda = scoop of ice cream, soft drink with or without a flavored syrup (chocolate, vanilla, coffee, etc.).
                                      milkshake = milk, one scoop ice cream, with or without a flavored syrup (chocolate, vanilla, coffee, etc.).
                                      frappe = milk, multiple scoops of ice cream, with or without a flavored syrup (chocolate, vanilla, coffee, etc.).

                                      1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                                        Um - no. The liquid in an ice cream soda is similar to that of an egg cream, though at its best it's seltzer with a little half and half, rather than milk, plus flavored syrup (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, etc.) NOT "soft drink," topped with a scoop of ice cream.

                                        Soft drink (most commonly root beer) topped with a scoop of ice cream is a float.

                                        1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                                          a soft drink w/ a scoop of ice cream is a FLOAT (like a root beer float or a coke float) not an ice cream soda

                                          In Massachusetts, a milkshake does not contain ice cream, although it does in MOST parts of the country.

                                          An Egg Cream is a New York thing and I'm a Mass native so I won't comment other than to say that I like the way they taste ;)

                                          I've given up looking for an ice cream soda in Boston, I either make my own or get one when I vacatoin in Provinctown at the place next to John's takeout. The thin, blonde guy who's worked there for years knows how to make a good IC soda!.

                                          As for lime rickeys, I never knew Richardson's had them -- I'm too busy choosing and ice cream flavor when I'm there ... I'll need to try the rickey next time : )

                                      2. re: teezeetoo

                                        as much as i love the town diner, their lime rickeys really disappoint me. the syrup is a scary bright fake green and has no real lime flavor to it. just syrupy sweet (in a bad way).

                                        the best lime rickey i've ever had was at an ice cream shop in york maine. don't remember the name of it since i was 13 the last time i was there. i've been looking for a worthy rival ever since and haven't found one.

                                        1. re: rebs

                                          I agree 100% about the rickeys at Town Diner. It's the only disappointing item (out of many!) that I've consumed. I thought it was radioactive waste when it arrived at my table. Which I would have forgiven had it tasted okay, which it didn't.

                                          I love the Town Diner and still go there regularly, I just order an iced tea or Dr Brown's instead.

                                    3. re: edgewater

                                      Another vote for Cabot's. Although, it's always best to tell your server how you like it - sweet or tart, and they'll do it your way !

                                  2. My personal fave is the raspberry lime rickey at the Dairy Maid on Broadway (Rt. 99) in Everett. We used to live right around the corner and would walk there at least once a week in the summer b/c they were so good (don't care for the ice cream there though). Now I try to make the trip at least once or twice a summer.

                                    1. Years ago a friend and i went around getting them anywhere we could find them. Was not a fan of Dairy Joys, and many others. We also experimented making them at home. Finally the one we found that we liked the best was at Nicks Dairy in Natick MA. It was the syrup that made it, so we asked what they used. It turned out to be a rasp. syrup from a place just up the street in Natick called GrandMothers Mincemeat/The Whipple Company. You could buy it there by the gallon only. We bought it and with a seltzer machine, some limes and that stuff we were making the best ones at home daily. Seriously we would drink them every day! Since then Grandmothers has closed its doors in natick but i think someone else bought the line and is still selling the syrup someplace.

                                      EDIT : just found this http://www.alliedoldenglish.com/whipp...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: hargau

                                        During the summer, the ice cream place at Marina bay makes a good one. I like my own too...if I might say so myself. ;-) I make it low cal with sugar free raspberry syrup that I get at TJ Maxx, fresh limes and soda water. Mmmmm...good.

                                      2. This is a sore point with me because everyone insists on putting f-ing raspberrry syrup in a lime rickey, which as the name very strongly implies to me is supposed to taste like LIME.

                                        So, the two places where you can still get LIME, SUGAR, and SELTZER (jeez, what is so hard about that?!) and not a gross over-sweet pink drink when you order a lime rickey are Bartley's and Brigham's--including that place in Concord that used to be a Brigham's. There is someplace else, too, but it's escaping me right now. Both of these hit the spot. I still miss that weird anachronistic place that used to be on Newbury Street ... I don't even remember what it was called, does anyone know what I'm talking about?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                                          #1: That would be lime, SIMPLE SYRUP, and seltzer - sugar being notoriously hard to dissolve in a cold beverage.

                                          #2: A lime rickey shouldn't have raspberry syrup in it, but a raspberry lime rickey certainly does! In my experience places that do a decent job with this drink offer both.

                                          I agree that many places put way too much emphasis on the syrup, raspberry or otherwise, and make them too sweet - I ususally specifically request "easy on the syrup" and watch the preparation carefully. That's certainly why I love the ones at Brighams, especially the Belmont shop - they don't use too much syrup, and they squeeze the heck out of the limes.

                                          1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                                            Strange i have never got a lime rickey when i wanted a raspberry lime rickey nor have i got a raspberry one when i wanted lime. Seems to always be clearly specified on the menu. I also like them light on the syrup but prefer them raspberry.

                                          2. It's a real treat, on a summer day, to get a lime rickey at Meletharb's in Wakefield. Everything fresh and homemade, except the limes!, and seltzer from the soda fountain tap. mmmmmmm! Their raspberry is not too sweet but we all know it is not a real lime rickey!

                                            1. Richardson's up in Middleton gets my vote. I think that's because they use a traditional juicer for the limes and don't add too much syrup.

                                              1. I had a fantastic one at Emack & Bolio's in Roslindale Sq. It was very hot out and I needed some refreshment, and this definitely hit the spot -- not too sweet, with just the right amount of lime.

                                                1. Dunno about ultimate, but Colleen's in Medford Square hits the not-too-sweet spot (raspberry version).

                                                  1. It's sad some are disparaging a raspberry lime rickey, like it's not the "real thing."

                                                    I'm 49 and originally from Massachusetts. When I was a little kid, raspberry lime rickeys were being sold all over. You could get plain lime rickeys too. But there is nothing wrong with raspberry. Zarex syrup seemed to be the popular raspberry syrup of choice. My birthday is in August (get your gifts early) and we always had raspberry lime rickeys, they were so refreshing.

                                                    Now if you want a sacrilege.... down in the New York area they talk about cherry lime rickeys. But that's another thread.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      Za-Rex, now there's a blast from the past! Right up there with Bosco chocolate syrup, mainstays of my childhood.

                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                        You can still get Bosco around here- I picked it up recently. I want to say it was at Malden Stop & Shop, but not positive.

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          BobB - What a hoot - The Za-rex bottle had a picture of a zebra on it, I believe?
                                                          And, get this, we named our younger brother's teddy bear BOSCO!! What else? How about Farina hot cereal? I wish I had saved a Za-rex bottle. 'Member it had the handle on it - boy, they were ahead of their times!
                                                          Great mems.

                                                        2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          I worked at Brighams in high school and college over 30 years ago and raspberry lime rickeys certainly existed. In fact, I think they were ordered more frequenly than the plain.

                                                        3. Brighams is the best but I also get the one at Marina Bay in Quincy at the ice cream window on the boardwalk. I make my own at home by using sugar free Raspberry Syrup(TJs and Homegoods has it sometimes),fresh lime. club soda and lots of ice. It has no calories and tastes like the original!

                                                          1. There's a drink stand at Salem Willows, I think it's called Cindy's Planet, that makes great Raspberry Lime Rickies. They use freshly squeezed limes and not too much syrup. So refreshing on a hot day! They also make a lot of other fresh fruit drinks.

                                                            1. I'm a fan of the lime rickey (not raspberry-lime) at Cabot's in Newton. Not too sweet, and if you order the largest size it seems like they serve it in a (small) pitcher.

                                                              Looking forward to drinking those when it gets warmer.

                                                              1. I recently had a fantastic one at the B-Side Lounge. Lots of fresh limes, lime juice, not overly sweet.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                  That is incredibly helpful to know. Now Bob, how's it stack up against Richardson's.

                                                                  1. re: gini

                                                                    Gini, I will have to get back to you on that one, the next time I am up Middleton way.

                                                                2. I "grew up" in Natick - boy, does this thread bring back memories and..... now.... I.. want one!

                                                                  While you're discussing the best places, I would be happy with just *one* place to have it! I'll have to find the rasberry syrup for the rasberry type, and make both for our next get-together.

                                                                  hargu - went to the web site and couldn't find the syrup -- any suggestions?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Richard 16

                                                                    I like Torani raspberry syrup for mine and buy it locally (In fact I bought eight bottles because we like to entertain). You can order it online. Here for example:


                                                                    I made a Raspberry Lime Rickey tonight... Super big beer mug filled with ice, cold seltzer, two lime halves squeezed, then the limes themselves, and a splash of raspberry syrup. Refreshing!

                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                      Agree on Brighams and Cabots, but also really like the Raspberry Lime Rickey at White Mountain Creamery on Commonwealth Ave, across from BC in Newton. WMC # 1 and Briggies a close 2nd!

                                                                  2. anyone remember sparrs on huntington? I heard they closed a while ago...

                                                                    that was a great raspberry lime rickey

                                                                    1. Harry's in Westborough has awesome lime rickeys and raspberry lime rickeys made with selzer (usually). They muddle the limes in the bottom of the glass, put in lots of crushed ice, syrup, selzer. Really, really good unless you get someone new who doesn't know what they're doing. Nothing like fried clams, onion rings, and a lime rickey.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                                                        EIW - Thanks for the Central Mass location, hard to find a rickey these days! The lunch counter at the Liggett's Drugstore in downtown Framingham used to make terrifc ones (with a ham and pickle sandwich!).
                                                                        Nice to now they are still to be had in this day and age.

                                                                      2. Sorry to bump this thread, but I must while I'm thinking about it. A couple of weeks back DW & I had tickets at Passim for Ian Tyson's concert. It was one of those steamy nights that ran like a string of pearls back then. After dinner & drinks we arrived at Passim early enough to claim a table near the stage. I was looking at the Veggie Planet menu and was hoping to find something refreshing. What I really wanted was a G&T or a Pegu Club. What I found was good old raspberry lime rickey and so I order. On first sip I knew we had a winner. It was everything I want but seldom get in a raspberry lime rickey. No cloying sweetness, rather the fresh lime shined through balanced by the nicely astringent raspberry syrup . So perfect, in fact, we had three rounds. BTW, they also had a peach lime rickey version which we'd never heard of before nor did either of us have.