Today, we’re going to continue our series on skills for working behind craft bars. This video post will focus on the importance of using measuring devices, or jiggers for making cocktails.

Jigger Pouring for Pros

Different styles of jiggers have their own benefits and drawbacks

Classic Jigger Set:

+ Very reasonable price and you get a few different sizes

+Solid construction, one set should last you years

– It is effective for what it is, but doesn’t have a lot of wow factor on how it looks.

– The angle of the sides of the jiggers makes it easy for alcohol to spill out the sides when measuring. This is a common effect in the smaller size jiggers

Double Cocktail Jigger, Set of 3

These are simple, effective and get the job done. I like the way they have distributed the pouring sizes to give you options. The set includes three sizes and will probably be all you’ll ever need.

Japanese Style Jigger Set:

+ These styles of jiggers have much more appeal on the presentation aspect. It looks like a professionals tool.

+ Multiple etchings on the inside means that you only need one jigger instead of 2 or 3

+ Solid construction means that it should last a lifetime.

+ The taller, steeper angle of the side walls of the jigger, means that you won’t have the same problem of spilling that you can have with the classic jiggers.

– More expensive than the classic jigger set

Stainless Steel Japanese Style Jigger

Japanese style jiggers look great and usually have multiple etchings on the inside, allowing them to measure multiple quantities. However, they are generally a bit more expensive than traditional jigger sets.

OXO Small Measuring Cup:

+ You can stack multiple measuring cups inside of each other. Very helpful if you work in a busy bar.

+ Smallest measure starts off at 1/4 oz and goes up to 2 oz.

+ The way that the measuring cup is angled, means that you can accurately guess where the 3/4 oz, 1 1/4 oz and the 1 3/4 oz marks are.

+ Multiple measurements for ounces and ml’s (in the clear models of the measuring cups)

– If purchasing multiples, the cost can add up quickly

– They don’t look like they belong behind a bar. They do make these measuring cups in metal which helps with the presentation factor.

– After a while, the plastic will develop build up from the various ingredients that you work with and look a lot less attractive. The metal versions will have this problem as well, but at least your customers won’t be able to see it. Giving these measuring keeps a good deep cleaning is recommended.

OXO Angled Measuring Cup

While I own quite a few “traditional” bar jiggers and use them a lot, I have to admit this is my favorite. It is easy to use, easy to read, and quick to clean.

Tips for using jiggers:

1. Make sure that you know how to measure properly with each style. With the classic and the Japanese styles of jiggers, you want to fill them up so that the meniscus forms over the top of the jigger. With the OXO measuring cups, you want to cover the red line to get a perfect pour.

2. Pour your thinnest ingredients first. If you pour a puree first, and there is some residue inside the jigger, you cant get a precise pour on the next ingredient you add. I save the thick ingredients for the very last measure.

3. If you work in a fast paced cocktail bar, you can wear your classic jigger set like rings, and with a little practice, you can become very fast at precision pouring. If you point the smaller bowls pointed to the inside of your palm, you still have a high degree of dexterity with your measuring hand.

4. If you use the OXO measuring cups, they can be rested on the top of a mixing glass or mixing tin to drain the last few drops of thicker ingredients.

Do you have any recommendations for other skills needed behind craft bars, I would love to hear your suggestions!


Let us know in the comments!

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.