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Tips for measuring cocktails with a jigger

A jigger is an essential item for any bar.
It allows mixologists to correctly add the right amount of alcohol to the drink they are making.
Jiggers have two sides with two different measurements allowing you to switch the amount for different drinks.
However, do you know how to correctly use a jigger?
Well let us take a look.

Jigger invention

Before the jigger was invented, mixologists would use a small glass to measure out drinks.

They would use a sherry styled glass which would result to a messy inaccurate measurement.

Cornelius P. Dungan invented the double-sided jigger in 1893 which changed it all.

Many bartenders today still use this style of jigger.

The meaning behind the name ‘jigger’

There are two theories about how the jigger got its name.

The first one being the British navy nicknamed their daily ration of rum after the ‘jiggermast’ sails on their ships.

The jiggermast is the smallest mast on a ship, so it is believed that the sailors gave it this nickname as a sign of irritation that their rations were small.


The other theory is the name ‘jigger’ is a derivation of ‘thingamajig’, meaning many had no idea what it was or what to call it!

The word ‘thingamajig’ came around in 1870 so perhaps jiggers are the reason?

Jigger styles

There a many different styles of jiggers, all with the same job just different shapes and dimensions.

1. Double jigger

The classic most popular jigger is of course the double jigger.

The double jigger has the two sides that measure two different amounts.

The larger side typically measures up to 50ml whereas the other side measures up to 25ml.

The large diameter unfortunately does mean these jiggers are easier to spill.


2. Japanese jigger

The Japanese jigger has a more elegant look.

It has a thinner diameter and height which makes it easier to pour however, it does require more concentration so if you are in a rush, this jigger isn’t for you.


3. Single jigger

A single jigger is the simplest measurer with a single bowl to hold the spirit.

This is the easiest measure for at home bar users.

Tips on how to correctly use a jigger

1. Correctly measure

It takes practice to use a Japanese or classic jigger as it is very tricky to fill the jigger to the meniscus without making a spillage.

Tipping the jigger too quickly can also result into losing part of the liquor.


2. Measure the ingredients in a correct order

When making cocktails for an example, you want to measure the thinnest spirit first to ensure that you receive the full measurement in your drink.

Using a heavy spirit first such as a syrup can lead to the following ingredients being limited in being added to the cocktail.


3. Correctly hold the jigger

Hold the jigger between your index and middle finger or between your middle and ring finger to have a better pour just from flipping your hand.

Holding the jigger any other way will put your hand in an awkward position.

How to pour accurately

The best jigger for pouring accurately is The Mezclar Preciso Jigger.

This luxury jigger measure will always have you pouring accurately for your cocktails.

For more on this jigger, watch our YouTube video here.

Do not…

Do not pour too quickly as you may over pour and could result to a spillage.

Also don’t be careless, pour an appropriate amount otherwise this could be an expensive and pointless waste.

Lastly, do not hold your jigger over the glass in case of any accidental spillages.