Overview

Jiggers are for measuring cocktail ingredients, which is essential for making consistently balanced, and thus, delicious, drinks.  As cool as eyeballing a cocktail looks, aka "free pouring", it's just not reliable.  The word "jigger" is short for "thingamajig," because no one could come up with a better name for them back when they were invented in the 19th century.  

 

The two main styles of jiggers are the double-sided cone-shaped jiggers, which come in a variety of sizes, and single jiggers or shot glasses which have various fill lines, indicating your measurement.

 

The also differences between the jigger styles have to do with functionality.  You can make good drinks no matter what you measure with, even if you don't have a jigger, just as long as you're measuring accurately.  Two-sided jiggers are fairly essential for professional bartenders, while single jiggers are a great option for more casual home bartending.  But that of course is entirely up to you.

Purchase:

   

  • 1. Cocktail Kingdom Japanese Style Jiggers - Cocktail Kingdom popularized this style of jigger and it has taken over the bar world.  These are what I, and many bartenders, use nowadays. The narrower cones make it easier to see the jigger filling up, so there's less risk of overflowing and you can be more accurate.  Perhaps their best feature is they also have lines for additional measurements inside the jiggers.  The 2 oz cone has a line for 1½ oz and the ½ oz cone has one for ¼  oz. 

 

 

  • 2. Winco Double-Sided Jiggers

    This is the style of jigger I learned to bartend with. They're completely reliable and more affordable.  These come in a lot of different sizes. Thes links are just to the two I recommend.

 

Purchase:

 

  • 1. Oxo Angled Jigger - While they missed with the double jigger, Oxo nailed the single jigger.  It's got all the measurements you need and has a spout which makes it easy to pour from.  I use this all the time at home. I love it. Beware, there's an older model that doesn't have a ¾ oz line, which is a measurement you definitely want.  This link will bring you to the right one.

 

Jiggers

 

Tablespoons & Teaspoons

  • 2 oz: ¼ Cup

  •  oz: 3 tablespoons or 1 shot glass

  • 1 oz: 2 tablespoons

  • ¾  oz: 1½ tablespoons

  • ½ oz: 1 tablespoon

  • ¼  oz: ½ tablespoon

  • Barspoon: ½ teaspoon 

Milliliters 

  • 2 oz: 60ml

  •  oz: 45ml

  • 1 oz: 30ml

  • ¾  oz: 22ml

  • ½ oz: 15ml

  • ¼  oz: 7ml

  • Barspoon: 2.5 ml

Double Sided Jiggers

These are what most bartenders use. They are much faster to work with because each cone measures one specific size so you don't have to look at fill lines.  You also can't overfill them; they'll just overflow.   

 

I certainly recommend them for home bartenders as well. They only real drawback is they drip when you flip them over and you'll inevitably encounter a little spillage from time to time, either from overflow or when pouring.  But, a paper towel navigates these pitfalls very effectively.  

 

Recommended Sizes: 2oz/1oz - ¾oz/½oz

Double sided jiggers come in a dizzying array of sizes and combinations.  They start at two ounces and go down to a half ounce while hitting every quarter ounce increment in between.  With such a range it can be hard to know which sizes to pick, or how many jiggers to get.  

 

The bar industry generally uses just two: a 2 oz/1 oz jigger and  ¾ oz /½ oz jigger.  I affectionally refer to these as the "big" jigger and "baby" jigger. These four measurements will cover the majority of ingredient quantities that you'll encounter. Plus, there are no repeat sizes, no redundancies.  Note: for 1½ oz, measure ¾ oz twice.  For 1¼ oz, measure ¾ oz, flip the jigger over, and measure ½ oz.

Single Lined Jigger

As I said, these are great for general home use because you only need one, and there's no flipping and no dripping!  

 

Just make sure to get one with all the measurements you need, particularly the smaller ones like ¾ oz  and ½ oz (sometimes those are omitted). Also, be careful with these when measuring in smaller quantities because it's easy to fill over the line.

  • 3. Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Jigger - This is somewhat of a hybrid between a double-sided and single-lined jigger that’s designed to be an all-purpose jigger. It does not have a smaller companion size. 

Unit Conversions

All the recipes on Social Hour are in ounces because that's what we still use in the United States, admittedly, somewhat stubbornly.  My dream is to one day have the option of displaying all the recipes on the site in your unit of choice, but in the meantime, here are some common conversions.

Jigger Substitute - Tablespoons and Teaspoons

Don't let the lack of a jigger keep you from making cocktails. As I said, you can measure with anything.  If you don't have a jigger, use tablespoons and teaspoons, or any other kitchen tool that'll calculate volume. Common cocktail measurements convert pretty cleanly across the different systems.  There's a list on the other side of the page, but you can always break out the unit converter app on your phone. 

2.

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  • 2. Lined Shot Glasses - Finally, there's the trusty shot glass for measuring.  The basic shot glass is typically 1½ ounces, but there are all manners of sizes available.   I like these two because they have multiple measurement conversions.

 

  • 5 ounce Measuring Glass (pictured above) - This gets a lot of play at my house as well.  Because it's so large, you can add multiple ingredients on top of each other and measure entire cocktails right in the jigger.  Only problem, no ¾ oz line!

  • Mini Measuring Shot Glass - Same idea, just smaller. This one has a ¾ oz line.

3.

 

It’s a 2 oz/1 oz jigger that has interior line markings for 1½ oz, ¾ oz, ½ oz, and ¼  oz.  It is very well-made and probably the most beautiful jigger of the lot, as well as the priciest.  For faster paced bartending, I prefer using two separate double-sided jiggers because you don't need to watch the lines as much.  And for home bartenders, you still need to flip it over, so it lacks the central advantage of a single jigger.  But outside of those nitpicks, it’s great.

I'd love to recommend Oxo's double sided jigger, but it only goes to 1 ½ oz! What gives!? 

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tom@socialhourcocktails.com Brooklyn, NY

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