The Essential Guide to Bartender Shot Tools: Techniques and Tips

The Essential Guide to Bartender Shot Tools: Techniques and Tips


When creating the perfect cocktail, the bartender shot tool plays a vital role. These tools ensure precision and consistency, which are essential for delivering great-tasting drinks every time.

For a quick answer, here are the key bartending shot tools and their uses:

  • Single Jigger: Measures 2.5 oz with exterior markings.
  • Double Jigger (Japanese Style): Two-sided for efficient measurement.
  • Oxo Measuring Cup: Sturdy with 0.25 oz demarcation.
  • Precision Liquor Bottle Pourers: Helps control pour speed and measure.

Why Precision Matters

Precision is crucial for bartenders because it ensures each drink is made perfectly every time. The right amount of each ingredient is necessary for balancing flavors and maintaining consistency. This not only enhances the quality of your drinks but also keeps customers happy, wanting more.

In the next sections, we'll dive deeper into the history, types, and how to use these essential tools. But first, let’s start with understanding the importance of each bartender shot tool.

Infographic showing different types of bartender shot tools and their uses - bartender shot tool infographic mindmap-5-items

The Evolution of the Bartender Shot Tool

The history of the bartender shot tool is as rich and varied as the cocktails it helps create. Let’s take a journey through time to see how this essential tool evolved.

Early Beginnings

Before the invention of the jigger, bartenders used smaller glasses to measure spirits. The most common tool was a 2 oz. sherry glass, which was far from ideal. This method often led to messy and inaccurate pours.

The need for a more precise measuring tool became evident as bartending and cocktail culture grew. Enter the jigger.

Cornelius P. Dungan’s Invention

The modern double-sided jigger, as we know it today, was patented on September 5th, 1893, by Cornelius P. Dungan in Chicago, IL. Dungan's design featured two different-sized cone shapes on opposite ends of the same vessel. This simple yet ingenious design allowed bartenders to measure different amounts of liquor with one tool, revolutionizing the way cocktails were made.

bartender tools - bartender shot tool

British Sailors and the Jigger

The origin of the word "jigger" is often traced back to British sailors. They named their daily booze allowance after the smallest mast on their ships, called the jiggermast. The jiggermast was the smallest of the masts, and the sailors likely used the term to express their dissatisfaction with the small rations of alcohol they received.

The "Jiggar Boss"

One of the earliest references to the term comes from the 1836 book A Narrative of Travels in the United States of America by William O’Bryan. He mentions a "Jiggar boss," a young boy who delivered half gills of whiskey (2.5 oz) to Irish canal workers up to 16 times a day. This means these workers consumed an astonishing 40 oz of whiskey daily, which is more than a liter!

Thingamajig Connection

Another theory suggests that the term "jigger" could be a variation of the word "thingamajig." This term, which originated around 1870, was used to refer to objects whose names were unknown or forgotten. It’s possible that the cocktail jigger contributed to the popularity of this phrase.

The evolution of the bartender shot tool is a fascinating story of innovation and adaptation, driven by the need for precision and consistency in cocktail making. Next, we'll explore the different types of bartender shot tools available today.

Types of Bartender Shot Tools

When it comes to measuring your ingredients perfectly, the right bartender shot tool can make all the difference. Let’s explore some of the most popular types:

Double Jigger

A double jigger is a versatile tool with two different-sized ends, usually 1 oz and 2 oz. This dual-sided design lets bartenders quickly switch between measurements, making it ideal for busy environments.

Advantages: - Versatility: Two sizes in one tool. - Efficiency: Speeds up the drink-making process. - Consistency: Ensures uniform measurements.

Disadvantages: - Tricky to Handle: Pouring accurately can take practice.

Japanese Jigger

The Japanese jigger is known for its sleek, narrow design. It often features internal markings for precise measurements, making it a favorite among professional bartenders.

Advantages: - High Accuracy: Multiple internal markings ensure precise measurements. - Professional Look: Adds a touch of elegance to any bar setup.

Disadvantages: - Requires Practice: Bartenders need to get used to its unique design for efficient use. - Tricky to Use: Pouring into this jigger can be challenging, leading to potential spills.

Stepped Jigger

A stepped jigger has a unique design with multiple steps or ridges, each marking a different measurement. This allows for quick and easy adjustments without switching tools.

Advantages: - Ease of Use: Clear markings make it easy to measure different amounts. - Quick Adjustments: No need to switch tools for different measurements.

Disadvantages: - Bulky Design: Can be cumbersome to handle. - Limited Precision: May not be as precise as other jiggers with internal markings.

Bell Jigger

The bell jigger features a bell-shaped design that is both functional and stylish. It usually has two ends like a double jigger but with a more ergonomic grip.

Advantages: - Ergonomic Grip: Comfortable to hold and use. - Stylish Design: Adds a decorative element to your bar tools.

Disadvantages: - Limited Availability: Not as commonly found as other jiggers. - Requires Practice: Pouring accurately can take some getting used to.

Precision Liquor Bottle Pourers

Precision liquor bottle pourers are attachments that fit onto the top of liquor bottles. They control the flow of liquid, ensuring consistent pours every time.

Advantages: - Consistency: Ensures uniform pours, reducing waste. - Speed: Speeds up the drink-making process.

Disadvantages: - Limited Control: Less flexibility compared to jiggers. - Initial Cost: Can be more expensive to set up initially.

Understanding the different types of bartender shot tools can help you choose the right one for your needs. Whether you prefer the versatility of a double jigger or the precision of a Japanese jigger, the right tool can enhance your bartending skills.

Next, we'll dive into how to use a jigger for perfect measurements to ensure every cocktail is balanced and consistent.

How to Use a Jigger for Perfect Measurements

Using a jigger is essential for making precise and consistent cocktails. Here’s how you can master it:

Holding Techniques

Grip the Jigger Correctly:

  • Use your thumb and index finger or your index and middle fingers.
  • Hold the jigger with your palm facing upwards. This grip offers stability and control.

Holding a Jigger - bartender shot tool

Positioning Matters:

  • Hold the jigger near the rim of the glass you're pouring into. This minimizes the chance of spills and saves time.

Pouring Accuracy

Fill Lines and Avoiding Overpour:

  • Always fill the jigger to the brim for accurate measurements.
  • To prevent overpouring, swiftly turn your wrist to stop the pour as soon as the liquid reaches the top line.

Practice with Water:

  • New to bartending? Practice with an empty liquor bottle filled with water. This helps you get comfortable with the process without wasting actual spirits.

Practice Tips

Start with Classic Cocktails:

  • Memorize classic cocktails like Manhattans and martinis. These drinks often have straightforward measurements that are perfect for practice.

Use Stepped Jiggers:

  • For beginners, stepped jiggers with visible measurement steps can make the process easier and more accurate.

Consistent Practice:

  • Consistency is key. Regularly practice filling and emptying your jigger to build muscle memory and confidence.

Practicing with Water - bartender shot tool

Observe Experienced Bartenders:

By mastering these techniques, you’ll ensure that every cocktail you craft is perfectly balanced and consistent. Next, we'll discuss selecting the right jigger for your bartending needs to further enhance your skills.

Selecting the Right Jigger for Your Bartending Needs

Choosing the right bartender shot tool is crucial for crafting perfect cocktails. Let's break down the key factors to consider: Material, Capacity, Design, and top picks like Barfly, OXO, and Good Measure Jigger.


The material of a jigger affects its durability and ease of use. Most bartenders prefer stainless steel jiggers because they are rust-resistant and can withstand frequent use. Some jiggers even come with additional coatings like matte titanium for extra durability and a sleek look.

Why Stainless Steel? * Durable: Lasts longer, even in a busy bar. * Rust-resistant: Keeps your tools looking new. * Easy to clean: Can be hand-washed with warm, soapy water.


Jiggers come in various sizes. The most common are 1 oz and 2 oz. However, some offer more granular measurements like 0.5 oz or even 0.25 oz.

Common Sizes: * 1 oz and 2 oz: Perfect for most cocktail recipes. * 0.5 oz: Ideal for precise measurements. * 0.25 oz: Great for small quantities of potent ingredients.


The design of a jigger can impact its ease of use and accuracy. Look for jiggers with clear, engraved measurement markings. Some jiggers, like the Japanese Precision Jigger, have a sleek, narrow shape that makes them easy to pour from but can be tricky to pour into.

Design Features to Look For: * Clear markings: Ensures accurate measurements. * Comfortable grip: Makes repetitive use easier. * Dual-sided: Offers versatility for different measurements.

Top Picks for Jiggers

Barfly Barfly jiggers are known for their quality and durability. Made from heavy-duty stainless steel, they feature precise measurement markings and a sleek design.

  • Durability: Built to last.
  • Comfortable grip: Easy to hold and use.
  • Accurate markings: Ensures precise measurements.

OXO The OXO Measuring Cup is a favorite among bartenders for its single-basin design, reducing spillage and speeding up serving times. It features clear and easy-to-read demarcations, including a unique 0.25 oz measurement.

  • Spillage-free: Single-basin design.
  • Measurement accuracy: Clear markings in ounces, tablespoons, and milliliters.
  • Sturdy build: Durable and stable.

Good Measure Jigger The Good Measure Jigger stands out with its elaborate interior markings for total precision. Crafted from heavy-duty stainless steel with matte titanium plating, it's both durable and stylish.

  • Precision: Internal and external measurements.
  • Durability: Heavy-duty stainless steel with matte titanium plating.
  • Elegant design: Adds a touch of class to any bar setup.

By selecting the right jigger, you can enhance your bartending skills, ensuring every cocktail is perfectly balanced and consistent. Next, we’ll discuss how these tools can improve your bartending speed, consistency, and elegance.

Enhancing Your Bartending Skills with the Right Tools


Using the right bartender shot tool can significantly improve your speed behind the bar. Tools like the Japanese Precision Jigger allow for quick and accurate measurements, reducing the time you spend checking each pour. The dual-sided design lets you measure different quantities without switching tools, streamlining your workflow.

Case Study: At a busy New York bar, bartenders switched to using Japanese jiggers and saw a 15% improvement in their service speed. Customers were happier, and the bar saw an increase in repeat business.


Consistency is key in bartending. No one wants a cocktail that tastes different each time they order it. Using a jigger ensures that every drink has the exact amount of each ingredient, maintaining the balance and taste your customers expect.

Tip: Practice using your jigger until you can measure accurately without looking. This will help you maintain speed and consistency during peak hours.


The right tools not only improve your technique but also add a touch of elegance to your bartending. High-quality jiggers like those from socialmix are designed to look good and perform well. Their sleek design adds a professional touch to your bar setup, impressing your customers and enhancing their overall experience.

Quote: "A well-crafted cocktail is a work of art, and the right tools are the brushes and palette." - socialmix


At socialmix, we believe that every bartender deserves the best tools to craft memorable cocktails. Our range of high-quality jiggers and other bartender tools are designed to help you achieve precision, speed, and elegance in every pour. Explore our collection to find the perfect tools for your bartending needs.

Next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about bartender shot tools, helping you choose the right ones for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bartender Shot Tools

Which side of the jigger is a shot?

A standard jigger has two sides: the larger side usually measures 1.5 ounces (often called a "jigger shot"), and the smaller side measures 0.75 ounces (often called a "pony shot"). In most cases, when someone refers to a "shot," they mean the 1.5-ounce side.

How do bartenders measure a shot?

Bartenders measure a shot using several techniques:

  • Jiggers: The most precise tool, ensuring accurate measurements. A standard jigger has a 1.5-ounce side for a shot and a 0.75-ounce side for smaller pours.
  • Free Pouring: This method involves counting the pour duration. For example, a "one, two, three" count typically equals 1.5 ounces. This technique requires practice and a steady hand.
  • Measuring Cups: Tools like the OXO Measuring Cup provide precise measurements, especially useful for smaller quantities.
  • Shot Glasses: Standard shot glasses hold 1.5 ounces, equivalent to a jigger shot. These can also serve as measuring tools.

What size is a bartender's shot?

The size of a bartender's shot can vary depending on the region and the establishment, but the standard measurements are:

  • Jigger Shot: 1.5 ounces (≈ 45 ml)
  • Pony Shot: 1 ounce (≈ 30 ml)
  • Double Shot: 3 ounces (≈ 90 ml)
  • Rocks Shot: 2 ounces (≈ 60 ml)

Understanding these measurements is crucial for crafting consistent and balanced cocktails. Accurate measurements ensure that each drink maintains its intended flavor profile, providing a better experience for your customers.

Next, let’s dive into how to use a jigger for perfect measurements, focusing on holding techniques, pouring accuracy, and practice tips.


Elevating your cocktail crafting is about more than just knowing recipes; it's about mastering the tools of the trade. Bartender shot tools are essential for ensuring precision and consistency in every drink you make. By understanding and utilizing these tools effectively, you can enhance the quality of your cocktails and create memorable experiences for your customers.

At socialmix, we believe that the right tools are crucial for any bartender, whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned mixologist. Our curated collection of high-quality bar tools is designed to inspire and support your passion for mixology. From the perfect jigger for precise measurements to beautifully designed shakers, each tool has been selected with care to help you craft the best cocktails.

Investing in quality bar tools not only makes your job easier but also elevates the entire cocktail experience. When you use well-crafted tools, you ensure that each drink is mixed to perfection, enhancing both the flavor and the presentation. This attention to detail can set your bar apart and keep your customers coming back for more.

In conclusion, crafting exceptional cocktails is a blend of skill, creativity, and the right equipment. With the right bartender shot tools from socialmix, you can elevate your cocktail game and create unforgettable experiences for your patrons. So, raise your glasses and toast to the art of mixology. Cheers to your next unforgettable cocktail experience with socialmix!

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