# Measure Like a Mixologist: A Guide to Jiggers

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It used to be that when you saw a bartender using a jigger—a small measuring cup for drinks—you assumed he was either a new bartender or micromanaged by his superiors. Why else wouldn't he just "count," whereby you pour the bottle and issue a count in your head equivalent to the cup-measured pour?

Worse yet, the assumption would be that the bartender was being cheap. Nothing erodes customer confidence quicker than an ungenerous bartender, and the dual-sided metal cups might well have been the mascot of this stinginess. Of course, times change.

These are durable, useful, and can be easily rested between your fingers for

With the rise of bartending culture and classic cocktails, the jigger has become the mark of precision and care in crafting cocktails. We have now come to expect our Manhattans and Martinis will be made with some mathematical formulae—two to one or three to one—and measured to order. This is good news for cocktail purists.

It's been pointed out by industry luminaries that making cocktails resembles baking more than savory cooking. With baking you must measure ingredients in advance of cooking because after heat has been applied the product changes dramatically in texture and flavor. The same thing happens when we shake the cocktail with ice.

With savory cooking, often you can manipulate the product in process. A pinch of this or a pinch of that can be added to a flavorless sauce. With a cocktail, you have to dump it out and start again. You wouldn't want to do that, would you? Imagine your college-era friends screaming: alcohol abuse!

Fortunately there is a wide range of jiggers to choose from. Here are just a few that I've tried and would recommend.

Your standard double jiggers come in two sizes, one ounce and ½ ounce, or 1 ½ ounce and ¾ ounce. These are durable, useful, and can be easily rested between your fingers for steady pours. These are recommended but suffer one major flaw. What if you want to measure out 1 ¼ ounce or ¼ ounce? You're back to guessing.

MORE ON COCKTAILS:
Derek Brown: "Intro to Blenders"
Derek Brown: "The Mint Julep"