James Joyce Cocktail Recipe

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James Joyce Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The James Joyce cocktail, named after the famed Irish writer, is a nod to the literary giant's love for rich and complex flavors. It's a cocktail that would likely be enjoyed by those who appreciate the depth of character in both their drinks and their literature.

  • Inspiration: The drink is inspired by the vibrant Dublin pub scene, which Joyce often frequented and vividly described in his works.
  • Popularity: It's popular among whiskey enthusiasts and literary buffs alike.
  • Occasions: Perfect for a cozy night in or a celebratory toast on Bloomsday, the annual celebration of Joyce's life and work.

How James Joyce Tastes?

The James Joyce cocktail offers a harmonious blend of sweet, citrus, and herbal notes, with the robustness of Irish whiskey providing a warm, smooth finish. It's a balanced drink with a hint of bitterness from the vermouth, making it sophisticated and complex.

Interesting facts about James Joyce

  • The cocktail's name pays homage to one of Ireland's most celebrated writers.
  • It's a modern twist on classic Irish ingredients, showcasing the versatility of whiskey.
  • The James Joyce is often served during Bloomsday festivities, which take place on June 16th, the day depicted in Joyce's novel 'Ulysses'.


Irish Whiskey

An unmistakable base for our literary libation, Irish whiskey offers a smooth and often slightly sweet profile that sets the stage without overpowering the supporting cast. The 1.5 oz is the golden measure to balance booziness with flavor. Too much, and it's a monologue; too little, and our whiskey's voice is lost in the chorus.

Mary Mitkina


This clear, orange-flavored liqueur brings a touch of citrus sophistication. .75 oz is just enough to step up without stealing the spotlight. No Cointreau? No worries. Triple sec could try out for the part but expect a less refined performance.

Alex Green

Sweet Vermouth

A red vermouth instills herbal whispers and a kiss of sweetness. .75 oz completes our complex flavor triad without tipping into a sticky soliloquy. Lose this, and the act falls flat. Dry vermouth could understudy in a pinch, but anticipate a drier, sharper dialog.

Emma Rose

Fresh Lime Juice

Our final player at .75 oz, this citrus squeeze is the critical twist, providing tartness and balance. Think of it as the plot twist in a Joyce novel – unexpected but delightfully transformative. Skip it, and you're left with an unturned page in flavor. Lemon juice can stand in, but the storyline slightly alters.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make James Joyce Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Pour in 1.5 oz of Irish whiskey.
  3. Add 0.75 oz of Cointreau.
  4. Measure and pour 0.75 oz of sweet vermouth.
  5. Squeeze in 0.75 oz of fresh lime juice.
  6. Stir the ingredients well until chilled.
  7. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  8. Optionally, garnish with a twist of lime or an orange peel.

Pro Tips

  • For a smoother drink, use a high-quality Irish whiskey that's been aged for several years.
  • Chill the cocktail glass before serving to keep the drink colder longer.
  • When garnishing with citrus peel, twist it over the drink to release the oils before dropping it in.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheeses: A rich cocktail like this one pairs well with the creaminess of good cheeses. Think aged cheddar or gouda.
  • Seafood: Irish whiskey has a natural affinity for dishes like smoked salmon, which can complement the whiskey's rich flavors.
  • Chocolate Desserts: The hint of orange from Cointreau and the sweetness of vermouth can enhance the experience of indulging in dark chocolate treats.

Drink Pairings

  • Coffee: Follow up with a strong coffee, perhaps an Irish Coffee if you want to keep the theme going.
  • Sparkling Water: It helps to cleanse the palate between different drinks.
  • Stout Beer: The roasted flavors of a stout can provide a great counterbalance to the cocktail's sweetness.

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What you could change in James Joyce

  • Irish whiskey: You can substitute with another whiskey, but for an authentic taste, stick with an Irish brand.
  • Cointreau: Triple sec can be used as a substitute, though it may be slightly sweeter.
  • Sweet vermouth: A dry vermouth can be used for a less sweet, more herbal profile.

Explore all drinks starting with J here

And of course - twists🍹

Whiskey Sour Joyce

Swap out the sweet vermouth for simple syrup and add a dash of egg white for a creamy texture. The drink becomes a literary twist on the classic whiskey sour, blending the smoky notes of the whiskey with a smoother, silkier mouthfeel.

Dublin Mule

Combine the Irish whiskey and lime juice with ginger beer instead of vermouth and Cointreau, and serve in a copper mug. This variation brings a spicy kick that's refreshing and perfect for those looking to turn the page to something bubbly.

The Bloomsday Breeze

Infuse the whiskey with rosemary, replace Cointreau with elderflower liqueur, and add a splash of tonic. The resulting drink whispers floral notes through the Irish whiskey's warmth, making it a refreshing choice for any midsummer daydream.

In case you forgot basics how to make James Joyce

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on James Joyce

Can the James Joyce cocktail be batched for large gatherings?

Yes, you can batch the cocktail by multiplying the ingredient measurements by the number of desired servings. Be sure to adjust the dilution by adding some water since there's no ice melting as in individual stirring.

Is the James Joyce cocktail suitable for a brunch?

Absolutely! The citrus notes from the lime juice and the bright flavors from the Cointreau make it a refreshing choice for a brunch setting.

How do I select a good Irish whiskey for this cocktail?

Look for an Irish whiskey with a smooth profile and hints of vanilla, caramel, or wood. Avoid overly peated whiskeys, as they can overpower the other flavors.

What's the best way to chill the cocktail glass?

You can chill the cocktail glass by placing it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, or by filling it with ice and water while you prepare the drink.

Can I make the James Joyce cocktail without ice?

While ice is traditionally used to chill and dilute the drink, you could instead refrigerate all the ingredients before mixing them to serve the cocktail cold, albeit less diluted.

Are there any literary-themed events where I can feature the James Joyce cocktail?

The cocktail would be perfect for book club gatherings, especially those focused on Irish literature, or for events on Bloomsday, which celebrates the life of James Joyce on June 16th.

What types of glassware are suitable for serving the James Joyce cocktail?

The cocktail is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass, such as a coupe or a martini glass.

How long does it take to properly stir the James Joyce cocktail?

Typically, you should stir the cocktail for 20-30 seconds to ensure it's well-chilled and properly diluted.

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