If you like to entertain and want to be able to mix your drinks like a professional bartender, then a jigger is a must for your home bar. Jiggers help keep the measurements of your drinks accurate and prevent you from making a drink that is too strong or too weak.
It is believed that the jigger was modeled after sherry glasses, which measure out at about 1.25 ounces to 2 ounces. The long triangular shape of the sherry glass is similar to the shape of a jigger.
For bar owners, a jigger keeps the amounts of alcohol per drink accurate so there is no waste, saving them money. For professional bartenders, a jigger will help them make the best cocktail possible with exact measurements. It is definitely one of the most important tools when working with alcohol, whether professionally or as a hobby.
Copper Japanese jigger, copyright A Bar Above 2021

A Bar Above Japanese Jigger, Copyright A Bar Above


What is a Bar Jigger?

A jigger is a measuring cup used by professional bartenders to precisely measure the liquor going into a drink so there is no over-pouring of alcohol. It is usually double-sided and comes with lines of measurement on the inside and outside to make it easier to measure.
Jiggers can measure out a .5 ounce to 2.5 ounces but are generally used to pour out standard shots of 1.5 ounces. You might hear a bartender use the word jigger as a measurement or see it in a recipe for a cocktail. A jigger is commonly referred to when talking about shots and measurements of a standard 1.5 ounces.
Pouring gin for gin cocktails into a cocktail jigger and then mixing glass instead of cocktail shaker-- with a strong vermouth bottle on the side

A Bar Above Bell Jigger, Copyright A Bar Above


How Do You Use a Jigger?

There are different types of jiggers, but the purpose is basically the same. There are measurements on the inside and/or outside of the jigger, and the bartender uses these to measure liquid ingredients. The most common measurement is 1.5 ounces, which is the size of a standard shot.
When a drink requires a smaller amount of alcohol, it is called a pony.

Types of Jiggers

When you are looking for a bar set for home, the types of jiggers you get depend on what kind of drinks you are thinking of serving and your personal preference.
Margarita cocktail in rocks glass with cocktail shaker and alcohol jigger

Copyright A Bar Above


Double Jigger

This cocktail jigger is the most common jigger you will find behind a bar. It is an hourglass shape and comes with cups on either end for measuring. The double jigger comes in several different sizes for different drinks. When you are stocking your home bar, you will probably have one or two double jiggers in different sizes for a full range of cocktails.
Japanese Jigger with cocktail

Japanese Jigger, Copyright A Bar Above


Japanese Jigger

Japanese jiggers are tall and slim, and they have a sleeker design than other jiggers and are easier to pour from. It does take some dexterity to use it for every type of cocktail, but when it is used by a professional who is skilled, it is the most elegant of the jiggers to make drinks.
Bell jigger in gold, copyright A Bar Above 2021 Image

Bell Jigger, A Bar Above


Bell Jigger

The bell jigger is similar to the Japanese jigger but is heavier and has a larger, vintage-style body. Some say this jigger is nicer to hold and easier to use than the Japanese version. The bell jigger makes a lovely addition to any cocktail set, especially for an at-home bartender.

Multi-level Jigger

This is one of the most popular jiggers because it has easy-to-use demarcations on the inside and outside of the cup and is easy to pour from. This jigger is also cleaner than others because it does not need the bartender to create a meniscus at the top of the jigger.
Most jiggers require the bartender to create a meniscus; and, unless you are seasoned and skilled, this can cause spillage and a lot of waste. This jigger is also a single basin jigger while most of the others have two basins welded together in an hourglass shape.

OXO Measuring Cup Jigger

This jigger is a single basin jigger without demarcations on the outside. This type of jigger is similar to the multi-level in that it is easy to pour from and is steadier than a double basin jigger.
Pouring alcohol into mixing glass with Japanese jigger

Copyright A Bar Above

Jiggers range from double to the single basin and from challenging to use to super-easy to use, like the OXO single-basin. Whichever jigger you choose to get for your home bar, this tool is a must when you are looking to equip your home bar or if you are opening up a business. Not only will a jigger help you make the best-tasting cocktails, but will save you money on alcohol and reduce the amount of spillage and waste.