So, You Want to Know How To Use A Jigger, Shot Glass Or Measuring Cup?
First of all, we’re happy you asked because pouring quickly and accurately is essential to any bartenders success.
This Article, by Brad Kaplan and Scott Young, is taken from the 154 page eBook
How To Be An Outstanding Bartender By Scott Young
– Sequel To:
How To Be An Outstanding Bar Back/First Shift Bartender.
By Scott Young & Harrison Barr – 104 Pgs
Below are stock images of several different styles of jiggers.
Each has benefits either in price or in ease of use.
By no means are these every style available, but a sampling of what’s out there.
And Scott’s Favorite, the 1 oz Pony shot glass.
Scott Young Says:
Because I worked in an extremely high volume nightclub for most of my pouring career, pouring quickly and accurately was extremely important. I found that, for my needs, using a 1 oz pony shot glass was tall/deep enough to allow a full speed “free pour” into it without spilling like the other metal jiggers you see above.
Our standard pour was 1 ounce and doubles were 2 ounces.
These two factors allowed me to be really fast and accurate even though I wasn’t allowed to actually “free pour” into the actual drink.
Having said that, after reading what Brad wrote in this section, considering all the new places that are shifting to more craft cocktails and bringing the above plastic OXO brand measuring cup style with red markings to my attention, I can see how important it is to choose your method and tools to match your specific needs at your bar so you’re pouring quickly and accurately.
Tipping The Shot Glass Or Jigger Method:
Many people who aren’t in medium or high volume places never need to learn this.
You’ll see a lot of people just hold the jigger/glass in a normal regular grip and when they’re ready to pour, they will keep the exact same grip and turn over their entire wrist and bring their elbow up quite a bit. Nothing wrong with this method, as long as you do let your elbow follow the natural movement of your wrist.
If you only turn your wrist, you’ll soon have a repetitive motion problem with your wrist. My method, okay not mine, of course I didn’t invent it. I was taught by those who came before me…
Where To Stand – Pouring Quickly And Accurately When Pouring Just One Drink…
Straight on to my pour mat with the glass or glasses, with my shoulders square to the same line as the line of the bar and pour mat.
1) You hold the glass between your thumb and pointy/first finger and a bit of your second. As a right-hander, I’d hold the bottle in my right hand and shot glass in my left.
2) Place the glass right next to the glass you’re pouring into, touching it and at about halfway up the shot glass. This really cuts down on spillage and speeds you up a LOT.
Tipping a shot glass is always easier when it’s placed directly against the glass.
It allows you to use the glass as an anchor/pivot place and you just tip/rotate the shot glass to its pouring/dumping position and back again.
Exactly Where Do You Hold The Shot Glass?
For right handers who hold the bottle in right hand and shot glass in the left, hold it directly to the left of the glass at “9 O’clock”.
3) Tip the bottle and place the spout right into the shot glass approximately halfway down. This limits the back splash because the liquid doesn’t have far to go before being redirected in a swirl to begin filling up the shot glass.
That’s a big reason I like it. You begin slowly and fill it to the top.
4) Then, do a tricky little movement with your fingers which tips the glass and dumps the liquid in a controlled manner.
You pull back with your third finger and push forward with your first pointy finger, using your second/middle finger to stabilize it.
This Looks really nifty and once you’ve practiced this a while, you will anticipate when it will fill up and when to actually tip it as you’re pouring and stop the pour just at the right moment. Hard to describe, but a very effective, fast and accurate way to pour.
(More on Pouring Quickly And Accurately Below)
Where To Stand – Pouring Quickly And Accurately For More Than One Drink:
Let’s look first at Glasses Lined up On Your Pouring/Spill Mat. If I stood straight on to my pour,for example standing facing my pour mat like described above, it’s impossible to pour multiple drinks with the shot glass directly against the glass at the “9 O’clock” position. You have choices.
Option 1) Hold the shot glass above the glasses. Just not too high because you’ll get splashing.
Option 2) Shift my body position so my shoulders are squared at 12 O’clock and 6 O’clock and as a result I’m facing 3 O’clock with my head slightly turned towards the drinks. This allows me to place the shot glass directly against each of the multiple glasses at 12 O’clock.
Option 3) Scott’s Favourite:
Keep your original stance and place the shot glass directly against each of the multiple glasses at approx. 7:30 O’clock. I pour from left drink to right drink and as I go down the line, when I use the 7:30 O’clock spot, the shot glass slides nicely between the last glass and the next one which creates a very stable platform. Also, slide shot glass to anchor/pivot point of the next one while it’s also stabilized by the first glass. I loved this method.
Back to Brad:
Allow me, Brad Kaplan, to jump into first person writing to share my experience. I have worked in many bars from casual dining to clubs, to craft cocktails. I have also used each of these styles experimenting & testing pouring quickly and accurately.
By far my favourite is the plastic OXO brand measuring cup style with red markings.
Each of the other styles requires having more than one jigger in order to get all of your pours.
– Having to look at the side and squint in order to read the engraved measurement,
– Splashing while pouring,
– Or filling to the meniscus and then spilling while trying to pour into the glass.
First) The OXO style measures up to 2 ounces in almost every available pour interval.
Second) The measurements are all easy to read in oz, ml, cups, and tablespoons.
They are easy to handle and because of the wide design and pitcher style there is no splash or spillage.
There is a similar version that is available on special order from Libertyware that has every measurement from ¼ oz up to 3oz and if you can get them I’d highly recommend it.
Most noteworthy, I was not solicited in any way to promote one over the other.
I am giving you my personal and full honest view based on experience.
Whichever style you choose there are some basic practices to follow.
One of the biggest arguments against jiggers is that they slow the bartender down and take too much time. So, it’s certainly important to have a good bar setup and even more so to cut down time while jigger pouring.
How To Handle The Jigger – Pouring Quickly And Accurately
Below there are several images on how to hold jiggers.
The first is the OXO style and the rest are various ways to hold the other conical style. Each is a matter of preference.
The double hold is a good one to master if you are making cocktails with multiple jigger measurements that save you from putting down and picking up several jiggers. But again, the OXO style is a one size fits most as is.
Pouring Into The Jigger – Pouring Quickly And Accurately
It’s important to be careful about splashing and spilling. If your bar doesn’t use pour spouts and you pour into jiggers then make sure you pour slowly so as not to overflow the jigger.
Likewise when pouring using a pour you want to turn the bottle over a little more slowly than free pouring so that the initial rush of the liquid doesn’t splash impact and splash out of the jigger. A nice even turn of the bottle and aim the pour spout in the center of the jigger.
NOTE: This is even more important in the conical style jigger as they tend to splash more than the OXO measuring cup style.
Pouring from the Jigger to the Glass/Tin – Pouring Quickly And Accurately
– When pouring into the jigger it’s important to hold it next to and slightly above the rim of the glass or mixing tin.
– Holding it too far away or too high above creates too much risk of spilling or splashing.
– Pour slowly if you are not using a pour spout as the liquor or mix will flow too quickly.
We recommend always using a pour spout.
Once you have liquid in the jigger it’s important to pour slowly into the glass if the drink is a build over ice, so as not to cause a splash.
In order to use jiggers most accurately it’s important to pour your ingredients in proper order.
Pour The Thinnest to Thickest Liquids:
3. Sweetening agents (Syrups)
4. Purees The reason for this is that the thicker the liquid, the more film it leaves on the bottom of the jigger.
Lastly, if you start with your purees you will then have more likelihood of pouring inaccurately with the liquor. If you choose the OXO style jigger it also makes it more difficult to read the measurements on the inside of the cup.
(It’s still my favorite).
Excellence Is an Act Won By Training And Habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but rather we have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
Brad Kaplan – Bartender – Flair Bartender – Previous International Instructor For Extreme Bartending
Scott Young: Trainer | Speaker |Founder of: www.NightclubBarAndRestaurantTraining.Com
Questions: Jigger vs. Shot Glass vs. Free-Pour vs. Measuring Cup – Pouring Quickly And Accurately
What do you Think/Use and Why?
This is a complicated issue with many variables & factors to consider.
1 – First, are you a manager, owner or bartender?
2 – What kind of venue do you work in? High volume/slow lounge/cruise ship etc.
3 – What country are you in? etc.
4 – What bartender pouring techniques and system do you and/or your bar use?
5 – Why do you think your bar chooses to use the bartender pouring techniques that they do?
6 – Name and describe the type of shot glass or jigger do you use and why?
7 – Which pour spout do you use and why?
8 – Have you ever experimented with different bartender pouring techniques?
9 – Is speed or accuracy & accountability more important to you and the owners & managers of your bar?
10 – Have you ever tested your accuracy?
11 – Does your management team make you practice and test your bartender pouring technique?
12 – How often do you test or practice your bartender pouring technique?
13- What practice & testing do you think is necessary to ensure serving staff is consistently pouring accurately?
14 -Regardless of what technique you use, Which do you think is faster?
A) Measuring cups? – Which exact one?
B) Shot Glass? – Name and describe it.
C) Jiggers? – Describe and name it.
15) Under what circumstances would you change your bartender pouring technique and why?
16 – In Canada, do you think the price of liquor was probably a factor when the rules were made?
17 – Finally, can you add anything else that we haven’t thought of to ask?
Thank you for adding your wisdom to the discussion.