Cocktail Bar Jiggers: How do Bartenders Measure Drinks?

What Measuring Tools do Bartenders Use? 

The most common measuring tool almost all bartenders use is called a jigger.

What is a jigger?  

A bar jigger is a common bartender measuring tool that is essential to help you accurately and consistently measure alcoholic ingredients. They are available in different shapes, sizes and materials and each end can range from 0.5 to 2.5 ounces. Bar jiggers help bartenders cut down on overpouring and remain consistent when crafting cocktails. The dual-sided jiggers also allow bartenders to quickly mix drinks while using both sides of the jigger.  

What are the different jigger styles?  

If you’re a bartender, a jigger is an essential tool and will form part of your signature bartending style. It’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of jigger style when looking for a new bar jigger.  

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Single Jigger  

The single cocktail jigger, nip, or shot glass, is the first-ever used measuring tool for alcohol in bartending. The measurement markings on the outside of this jigger can take time to get used to because at first, it isn’t completely clear which line the numbers are referring to.  

They measure 2.5 oz. (75ml) in most cases; however, due to the different laws around the world, there are many variations. They are ideal when measuring the accurate alcohol to pour in each drink but will probably not be ideal for the busy volumes of work that some bars have.  

Oxo Measuring cup  

The Oxo Measuring Cup has a single-basin advantage, resulting in less spillage and a quick serving time. It’s also one of the few measuring tools that feature a 0.25 oz. (7.5 ml) demarcation. The smallest measurement most bar jiggers have is 0.5 oz. (15 ml), requiring you to estimate any smaller measurements. An additional advantage of both the Oxo and the single jiggers is that they’re sturdy, so they won’t fall over. These top-level jiggers can be found with clear and easy-to-read demarcations, an improved rubber grip, and durable build in stainless steel. Combine that with standardized measures, and some may even call it the perfect tool to make a bartender’s life easier.  

Japanese Precision Jigger

The Japanese Precision Jigger or double jigger is a popular measurement tool among bartenders around the world. 

Double jigger measurements are tall with a sleek, narrow shape and a thin diameter. This double cocktail jigger is an improvement of the single jigger with a more efficient hourglass shape, inspired by the ‘wine glass’ and the ‘pony glass’. These jiggers are especially ideal for bars with moderate to high volumes of work.

They feature two different sides for measuring, one often being bigger than the other with a ball ring in the center, making it easy to maneuver around your thumb and fingers. Because of their thin style, they are easy to pour from, but they can be tricky to pour liquor or syrup into, which can result in a messy pour.  

Due to its larger size, you can work more efficiently knowing how to modify the alcohol serving to get more drinks or to make one drink with a stronger alcohol level. The small time-saving benefit can have a significant impact on the service's overall pace, meaning less waiting time for your consumers, resulting in happy customers!  However, pouring into this type of jigger does take a little more attention to prevent spills. 

How many ounces are in a jigger? 

Normally, there are a variety of sizes for bar measures. These would include:  

  • 2 oz. 
  • 1.5 oz. 
  • 1 oz. 
  • 0.75 oz. 
  • 0.5 oz. 
  • 0.25 oz. 

Jigger measurements

Jiggers come in a variety of sizes, so if you follow a cocktail recipe, be sure to double-check the jigger measurements. A jigger measurement can be different depending on the drink recipe. Companies are recommended to hire bartenders who are aware of jigger measurements and their range in size. Typically, 1.5 ounces (44ml) and 0.75 ounces (22ml) per side make up a standard jigger. 1.5 x 0.75 oz. and 2 x 1 oz. jiggers are the most popular sizes. However, you can buy jiggers in a variety of different measuring amounts – from 0.5 oz. / 1 oz. all the way to 1.5 oz. / 2 oz. 

Types of Liquor Shots  

On the standard 1 x 1.5 oz., the smaller, 1 oz. side, is called a pony shot, and the 1.5 oz. side is called a fluid jigger or jigger shot.  

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How Many Ounces Are in a Shot?

In most cases, when people refer to a “jigger” or a “jigger shot” they are referring to the standard jigger size of 1.5 ounces. As mentioned previously, a shot is typically 1.5 ounces, which is equal to one standard jigger. Shot measuring cups or shot glasses can be used as a tool for drinking or measuring. As we’ve learned, they come in a wide range of different sizes, shapes, and styles that can be used for various purposes. 

Type of pour 

Amount to pour (oz) 

Amount to pour (ml) 

Jigger Shot 

1.5 oz. 

≈ 45 ml (44.36) 

Pony Shot 

1 oz. 

≈ 30 ml (29.57) 

Double Shot 

3 oz. 

≈ 90 ml (88.7) 

Rocks Shot 

2 oz. 

≈ 60 ml (59.14) 

How can I become a bartender?  

To be a bartender, you should understand what there is to know about cocktails, liquor, beer, and wine. You also need to be familiar with local, state, and federal liquor laws.  

If you want to become a bartender or are looking to renew your certification, keep in mind that many states or employers require a bartending license, which you earn by completing alcohol seller/server training. Online, self-paced courses are available in most jurisdictions. They're a convenient and effective way to learn the law and move your resume to the top of the pile. 

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