The Gin Rickey is the most well know Rickey variation. This is in no small part due to it's worldwide popularity in the 1890's when it eclipsed (some would say destroyed) the original Rickey (made with whiskey) in popularity.
The cooling effect of a Gin Rickey probably had something to do with this in a time with no air conditioning. Also, dry gin was gaining popularity at the time and a Rickey was a prime candidate to try this form of gin in (since Old Tom would defeat the cooling effect with it's added sugar). At some point a variation appeared called a Sheeney Rickey in which you do not throw the peel (or any part of the lime) in the drink.
I find this drink very refreshing but in comparison with a rye or bourbon Rickey I find it a bit thin and light. A lighter drink is probably what a lot of Gin Rickey advocates prefer especially in summer's heat but I find the body, spice and complexity of bourbon and rye to be superior to gin in this drink. Also, whiskey does nothing to dampen the cooling effect (I've tested this at about 100 degrees outside).
What do you think? The original whiskey or the lighter gin?