Mixology: Discover the Jigger

Mixology: Discover the Jigger

Do you know a man who loves mixed drinks, and wants to start learning how to make their favorite at home? For those who love to mix up a great-tasting cocktail with a kick, a jigger is one of the most important tools to add to a bartending toolkit. Without one, you may be mixing with guesswork - which never ends well!

Jiggers allow for accurate measures of liquid when making drinks, and are designed to offer ease of use while still making the bartender look pretty classy. Read on to learn a bit more about the jigger, and why you should add one to your mixed drink collection.

What is a Jigger?

While you have probably seen a jigger used at a bar or cocktail party, you may not have known exactly what you were looking at. A cocktail jigger is a small measuring device that allows for the addition of liquor to a mixed drink.

Ranging in size from half an ounce to nearly three ounces, jiggers have become a vital tool in a bartender’s toolkit. A jigger has become so common in bartending that the term “jigger” can also refer to a 1.5 ounce shot pour. The more comfortable one becomes with using a jigger, the more they can pour mixed drinks by simply “feeling it.” However, until you get there, the jigger makes a pretty handy sidekick.

Who Invented The Cocktail Jigger?

For many years, the common way to add spirit to a cocktail was by using a sherry glass. An average sherry glass could hold two ounces, so this often led to bad pours. To help bring accuracy and flexibility to cocktail pours, the first double jigger was patented by Cornelius Dungan on September 5, 1893.

In 1830s, “Jiggar boss” was a small boy who would bring two and half ounces of whiskey to the tired workers each day.

This legend of drinking history helped bring the jigger into popularity by replacing the sherry glass with a more accurate and unique pouring device - with an equally unique name!

Why Is A Jigger Called A Jigger?

While many know what a jigger looks like, few know the origins of the strange name. Legend holds that the name “jigger” was coined by British sailors who would head off to the local pub after a day on sea. In referring to their daily allowance of alcohol as a “jigger,” these sailors were connecting their tiny ration to the tiny sail on most ships known as the “jiggermast.”

In the early to mid 1830s, Irish canal workers would hail the arrival of the “Jiggar boss” - a small boy who would bring two and half ounces of whiskey to the tired workers each day.

Perhaps the most common explanation of the jigger is that it’s a version of the word “thingamajig” - or a small, unnamed trinket that you use everyday! We think the name fits no matter the history, because if a jigger is involved it’s going to be a great time!

A Cocktail Jigger Primer

Want to really wow your houseguests at your next cocktail party? Learn a bit about the different jigger styles and types that are commonly used to make some of your favorite mixed drinks.

The Double Jigger

Found in almost every bar is the basic double jigger. Built with two sides, a double jigger is used to measure two different amounts of liquid. Most standard double jiggers feature sides that can hold one and two ounces respectively. However, there are many varieties of double jiggers that hold varying sizes.

The Japanese Jigger

Looking for a jigger that is a bit more stylish? The Japanese jigger offers a sleek build that has a narrow diameter and taller height than double jiggers. The smaller diameter gives you more flexibility with your pours, and can often hold a variety of amounts of liquor. Bartenders love the Japanese jigger for its ability to measure and hold a variety of liquor types and amounts.

The Stepped Jigger

Just getting started in your mixed-drink game? The stepped jigger is built for the novice bartender, featuring a stepped design that helps you know exactly the amount you are pouring. The ability to note the amounts you are pouring to the exact ounce can help you get a feel for the amount you need to pour without waste. Check out a stepped jigger to help you learn with precision.

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