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All You Need to Know About Jiggers

The ultimate guide to jiggers.

If you’re opening a bar or planning a fancy cocktail party soon, there are essential tools needed. As well as the most obvious requirements such as alcohol and glasses, you need measuring devices so spirits and shots of liquor can be poured precisely every time. This is where a jigger steps in.

A jigger is a common sight in most bars. If you have ever asked for a cocktail and seen it made in front of you, then you have probably seen a jigger. That’s because a jigger is a cocktail measuring cup. They are generally dual-sided and their main purpose is to help bartenders limit the amount of overpouring. They help bartenders maintain a consistent pour as they produce their cocktails.

In today’s blog, we will be discussing jiggers in more detail. We will be exploring the measurements these offer, the different styles of jiggers, and much more. 

What is a Jigger? 

A cocktail jigger is a shot or cocktail measuring cup used by bartenders all over the world. They range in sizes from 0.5 to 2.5 ounces. Many jiggers are designed with fill lines on their interior and exterior for ease of use. These help bartenders achieve the most common cocktail and/or shot glass measurements. 

You can also use the term “jigger” as a unit of measurement in different cocktail recipes. When you come across a recipe calling for a jigger or a jigger shot, this will be referring to the standard jigger size of 1.5 ounces. While shot glasses come in various sizes, a standard glass also measures 1.5 ounces. Therefore, in some cases, a jigger and a shot can mean the same thing. But, when a smaller 1-ounce shot or a 1-ounce side of the jigger is called for, this is known as a pony shot.



Jigger Styles 

There are many main types of jiggers to help you pour the perfect amount of liquor for a cocktail. These should be used depending on the kind of cocktail you want and, of course, how much alcohol or juice you desire.

Double Jiggers

Double jiggers are the most traditional style of jiggers. They are also known as the basic bar jigger. In other words, this is the style most often seen behind the bar when your cocktail is being prepared. These jiggers feature a regular hourglass shape and are available in a variety of sizes. 

Japanese Jiggers

These jiggers are designed with a narrow, slim shape. They have a thin diameter but are tall and sleek in height. Due to their thin design, Japanese jiggers are very easy to pour from. However, they are notoriously difficult when trying to pour syrup or liquor into. 

Stepped Jigger 

Stepped jiggers are ideal for bartenders starting out as they have the easiest design to get the measurement right every time.  A stepped jigger’s design offers most of the favored jigger measurements on its outside. It also features measured steps for all amounts which are visible from its top or on the outside of the jigger. 

Bell Jigger 

Bell jiggers feature an ergonomic design with rounded curves and a slim midsection. This makes them easier to hold and pour. They are also designed with straight rims so a bartender can easily empty the jigger whilst it has a stable base when resting on the bar. 

The straight rims on this style of jigger make it easy to completely empty it while providing a stable base when it’s standing on your bar.



Jigger Measurements 

Jiggers can contain different capacities. These range from 0.5 to 2.5 ounces. One thing they all have in common is that they allow you to pour equal and precise amounts of syrups and liquor every time without having to worry about over pouring. 

While there are several sizes available, you should always double-check the jigger measurement when following a recipe. This is because one recipe may have a varying jigger amount to another. The best option is to hire or ask a bartender who is familiar with jigger measurements and their different sizes. 

Standard jigger sizes are 1.5 ounces and 0.75 ounces on either side. But, the most commonly used joggers measure 1.5 x 0.75 ounces and 2 x 1-ounce. 

The Number of Ounces in a Jigger 

In general, a larger jigger will have 1.5 ounces whereas a smaller model tends to hold 0.75 ounces. More often than not, when someone refers to a jigger or a jigger shot, they usually mean the standard jigger size of 1.5 ounces. Experienced bartenders will ask for a “pony shot” if they require a jigger on the smaller end of the spectrum. 

The Number of Ounces in a Shot 

Most of us have had one or two shots on nights out. But, how many of you actually know how many ounces are in a shot? We’re guessing, not all of you. Well, one shot typically contains 1.5 ounces which is equal to a single standard jigger.

Shot glasses can be used for both measuring a spirit for a cocktail and, of course, drinking from. Shot glasses come in a range of sizes as well as shapes and their multiple purposes make them quite versatile items in any bar. 



How to Use a Jigger 

Pouring a shot or filling a cocktail jigger seems pretty simple but there are some factors to help you improve your accuracy and speed. If you’re new to the game of pouring precise amounts of liquids, we suggest using a free-flow bottle pourer. These will aid your accuracy and minimize any possible spillages at first. 

Here’s how to use a jigger:

  1. Hold your jigger with two fingers (either your thumb and index finger or index and middle fingers). Your palm should face upwards so you can empty the jigger with a quick and easy turn of the wrist as soon as it’s full. 
  2. Hold the jigger close to the rim of the glass you will be pouring it into. This will save you time and limit any chances of spilling the liquid as you move closer to the glass. Do not fill your jigger over the glass or shaker as any spillage can drop into the drink, potentially ruining the recipe. 
  3. You also need to think about how you hold the bottle you’re pouring into the jigger. If it has a speed pourer, hold it at its neck. This should help you to be able to stop the pouring very quickly. If no pourer is present, you should hold the bottle in the middle.
  4. Fill your jigger to its maximum capacity if the recipe calls for it. 
  5. You can practice filling and emptying a jigger with water to get more comfortable with the process before tackling the real deal in a bar environment. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to jiggers, not to worry! They make it easy to measure out cocktail proportions. Eventually, you’ll be able to make a nice drink without using a jigger!

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a Philadelphia local who enjoys checking out Philly's restaurant scene every chance he can. He grew up in South Jersey and now lives in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.