Lucky Jim Cocktail Recipe

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Lucky Jim Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:22

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 7, 2024


Lucky Jim cocktail was created in the 1950s by the famous bartender Harry Craddock. It was named after the novel 'Lucky Jim' by Kingsley Amis. The cocktail quickly gained popularity among literary circles and became a favorite drink for book lovers and writers.

  • Origin: 1950s
  • Creator: Harry Craddock
  • Inspired by: 'Lucky Jim' novel by Kingsley Amis

How Lucky Jim Tastes?

Lucky Jim cocktail has a complex and intriguing taste profile. It is a well-balanced mix of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors with a hint of herbal notes. The drink is smooth, refreshing, and has a medium-strength alcohol content.

Interesting facts about Lucky Jim

  • Lucky Jim is often associated with literary circles and book lovers.
  • The cocktail is named after a novel by Kingsley Amis.
  • It was created by the famous bartender Harry Craddock in the 1950s.


A few good options for Lucky Jim are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The gin, at *2 oz, is the spirit base providing the cocktail its kick and botanical notes. If there's too little, you'd have a mocktail on your hands; too much and you'll drown the other flavors. Gin's floral or herbal elements bring depth. If you swap it out for vodka, expect a cleaner taste with less complexity.*

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Coming in at *1 oz, the lemon juice cuts through the gin, brightening the cocktail with its sharp, tangy profile. Miss it out, and you'll lack the zesty punch that defines a Lucky Jim. A lime could pinch-hit, but it'll bring a more tropical vibe.*

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

0.5 oz of simple syrup sweetens the deal just enough without overpowering. Without it, you'll have a rather tart drink that might make your face pucker more than a kiss from your granny. Honey syrup could be a substitute for a more complex sweetness.*

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Just *2 dashes add layers of spice and a hint of bitterness, adding complexity and depth. Without bitters, the cocktail is a more one-dimensional citrusy sip. Play around with orange bitters for a different aromatic twist.*

Mary Mitkina

Club Soda

A top up of club soda brings effervescence, lightness, and balance, making it more sippable. Remove it, and you've got a heavier drink on your hands that sits more densely on the palate. Tonic water could be an alternative for a bitter quinine hit.

Mary Mitkina

Garnish: Lemon Twist

This isn't just a pretty face; the lemon twist adds a burst of aromatic oils when expressed over the drink. If omitted, you'll miss that first fragrant greeting. Orange zest could be another way to go, offering a sweeter aroma.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Lucky Jim Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.
  3. Shake well until chilled.
  4. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
  5. Top up with club soda.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for a better taste.
  • Chill the glass before serving for a refreshing experience.

Perfect Pairings


Light, citrus-forward cocktails like the Lucky Jim pair wonderfully with seafood, especially items like grilled shrimp or oysters. The lemon juice's acidity cuts through the richness of the seafood, enhancing the flavors.

Salty Snacks

Pretzels, salted nuts, or chips can balance the Lucky Jim's zesty nature, providing a nice textural contrast and satisfying crunch. Salty snacks are an ideal companion, as they make you want to reach for another sip.

Light Salads

A salad with goat cheese and arugula dressed in a vinaigrette would complement the cocktail. The cocktail’s freshness mirrors the salad’s crispness, while the tangy goat cheese resonates with the cocktail's tartness.

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What you could change in Lucky Jim

  • Gin: Can be replaced with vodka for a milder taste.
  • Simple syrup: Honey or agave syrup can be used as a natural sweetener.
  • Club soda: Can be substituted with tonic water for a slightly bitter taste.

Explore all drinks starting with L here

And of course - twists🍹

Cucumber Jim

Swap gin for cucumber-infused gin (still 2 oz). Adds an incredibly fresh and verdant twist — perfect for those garden party vibes. Ingredients: Cucumber-infused gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, club soda, cucumber ribbon for garnish Recipe: Follow the original, but with the cucumber gin. Garnish with a cucumber ribbon. Flavor: This twist adds a crisp, garden-fresh layer that's particularly quenching on a hot day.

Spicy Jim

Let's heat things up with a chili-infused simple syrup! It gives an unexpected kick to the classic. Just be careful not to start a fire! Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, chili-infused simple syrup, Angostura bitters, club soda, chili pepper for garnish Recipe: Use chili-infused syrup instead of regular. Proceed as usual. Garnish with a small chili pepper. Flavor: The heat complements the drink's brightness, creating a fascinating sweet-heat dynamic.

Herbal Jim

Use a herbal simple syrup (think rosemary or thyme) to bring an earthy note to the dance. Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, herbal simple syrup, Angostura bitters, club soda, herb sprig for garnish Recipe: Follow the usual steps but with the herbal syrup. Garnish with a sprig that echoes the syrup's herb. Flavor: It feels like walking through an herb garden, where each sip brings another layer of botanical wonder.*

In case you forgot basics how to make Lucky Jim

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

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

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 Lucky Jim

What is the optimal serving temperature for the Lucky Jim cocktail?

The Lucky Jim cocktail is best enjoyed when served cold. The ideal temperature would be somewhere between 6-8°C (43-46°F), which is typically the temperature of ice-cold beverages.

Can I use other bitters instead of Angostura Bitters in the Lucky Jim cocktail?

Yes, you can. However, Angostura bitters adds a distinct flavor profile to the Lucky Jim cocktail. Alternatives like Peychaud's or orange bitters may alter the taste.

Why is it called 'Lucky Jim'?

The cocktail is named after a novel by Kingsley Amis – 'Lucky Jim'. It was popular among the literary circles of the 1950s.

Can I prepare the Lucky Jim cocktail in advance?

Yes, the cocktail mix without the soda can be made a few hours in advance and kept in an airtight container. Just before serving, give it another quick shake, pour it over ice, and top it up with soda.

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