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What is a Jigger and How to Use It: A Cocktail Mixology Guide for Beginners

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There’s a popular saying in the cocktail world that goes, “You can always tell the difference between a properly-made drink and one that isn’t by the measure of the pour.” One of the tools responsible for ensuring a perfectly-measured cocktail is the jigger.

If you’re new to mixing drinks at home, you might be wondering what a jigger is and how to use it. In this blog post, we’ll answer those questions and more, so you can start making perfect cocktails like a pro.

What is a Jigger?

A jigger is a small measuring tool used to accurately portion out ingredients while making cocktails. It’s typically made of metal, with two unequal-sized cups or cones on either end. The larger cup usually holds about 1 ½ ounces (or 45 ml) of liquid, while the smaller cup holds about ¾ ounces (or 22 ml).

Using a Jigger

The best way to use a jigger is to first fill the larger cup with the primary liquor of the drink, then use the smaller cup to measure out the secondary ingredients. For instance, if you’re making a margarita, you would use the larger cup to measure out the tequila, then the smaller cup to measure out the lime juice and orange liqueur. To measure out odd amounts, like ⅓ ounce or ¾ ounce, use a ½ ounce jigger and fill as needed.

Jiggers come in all sorts of styles, some with elaborate designs and shapes, but most are straightforward and easy to use. If you’re just starting out in the world of cocktail making, we recommend having a two-sided metal jigger with visible measurements in milliliters (ml) and ounces (oz).

Why Use a Jigger?

Using a jigger ensures the perfect ratio of ingredients, which is essential for a balanced drink. Not only does it ensure consistency when making multiple drinks at once, but it also prevents over-pouring and wasting expensive liquor. Plus, it’s great for beginners to learn about proportions and get more comfortable experimenting with flavors.

Jigger vs. Free Pour

While some professional bartenders may free-pour, it’s not recommended for casual cocktail making. Free pouring takes skill, practice, and a good memory for measurements–all things that a beginner may not have. Plus, it’s easy to over-pour, leading to unbalanced drinks that don’t taste quite right.

A jigger is a simple tool that can make a big difference in the quality of your cocktails. It takes the guesswork out of measuring ingredients, ensuring that each drink you make is consistent, delicious, and perfectly balanced. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, investing in a quality jigger is well worth it. Cheers to perfect cocktails!

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