MEASURE OR FREE POUR?
Great cocktails are made by balancing flavours and balance is achieved by accurately measuring the ingredients. Whether following a recipe, recreating a classic or refining your own creation, accurate pours are vital for balance and consistency.
Of course, making the decision to measure or free pour ingredients depends on the situation. If you are making a quick, casual drink at home for you and a friend, it might not be so important to have that impeccably crafted and perfectly measured cocktail. On the other hand, if you are making premium priced cocktails for customers you will want to measure each ingredient with accuracy to ensure consistency because no matter how experienced you are, you will inevitably have small discrepancies when free pouring.
TWO TYPES OF JIGGERS
Doubled sided jiggers are popular amongst professional bartenders due to their speed, ease of use and accuracy. They are best used when holding between the thumb and forefinger or between your first and second finger (my preference).
An array of jigger shapes are available but most resemble an hourglass. The most commonly utilised cocktail jiggers are the Japanese style, Angled and Bell jigger. The Japanese jigger tends to be tall and slender which assists for finer measurements whilst the Angled and Bell jiggers tend to have a larger circumference which can cause slight variances (if you measure slightly above or below a line, there will be great variance due to the larger circumference when compared to a Japanese style jigger).
Jiggers also come in difference sizes – common sizes being 15/30mL (½oz / 1oz), 30/45mL (1oz / 1½oz) and 30/60mL (1oz / 2oz). The better quality jiggers have markings on the internal part of the jigger for finer measurements. Commonly used measurements are usually featured on the inner markings e.g. ¼oz, ¾oz, etc.
My preferred style of jigger is the 30/60mL Japanese Jigger which has inner markings of ½oz and ¾oz on the smaller side and 1½oz on the larger side.
Note:- continue reading for further details regarding conversions of millilitres and ounces. 25mL and 50mL measures are also common in the UK due to their standard serving sizes.
The other popular style of cocktail jigger is the lined jigger. These are easy to use, cleaner and usually have multiple measurements (teaspoons, ounces, millilitres). Due to the fact they aren’t double sided, they are a little cleaner to work with, making them ideal for using at home. They are also more suited to pouring whilst sitting on a kitchen bench or bar top rather than holding between your fingers like a double jigger – this makes them perfect for someone who may be a little less confident with pouring, measuring or single-handedly holding a spirit bottle.
The larger measuring can also be great when making multiple cocktails at once or for large measurements of ingredients such as juices. For example, the multi level jigger pictured below is 75mL – meaning that you can make 3 x 3 ingredient cocktails in one shaker with only 5-6 measurements / pours.
If you are getting started at home, you can always start off by utilising teaspoons, tablespoons, a shot glass or a measuring jug for measuring. Although measuring 90mL+ for a cocktail by only using a teaspoon would be incredibly tedious! Best to use a combination of utensils or perhaps utilise a shot glass – you can even make your own markings by using a permanent texta and marking out finer measurements by testing it with a teaspoon/tablespoon first. Keep in mind that a standard shot glass will vary (commonly 25mL in the UK, 30mL in Australia and 45mL in the USA) so check it first.
Here are the most commonly used measurements when mixing drinks. Utilise the table to convert millilitres to ounces, ounces to teaspoons, etc.
Note:- 1 oz is technically 29.57mL so there is some slight rounding. The difference is so minute and every ingredient will be rounded accordingly so it won’t alter the balance of your cocktail but is still worth noting.
|Millilitres||Ounces||Spoons / Cups|
|2.5mL||1 x Barspoon / ½ Teaspoon|
|7.5mL||¼ oz||½ Tablespoon|
|15mL||½ oz||1 Tablespoon|
|22.5mL||¾ oz||1½ Tablespoon|
|30mL||1 oz||2 Tablespoons|
|45mL||1½ oz||3 Tablespoons|
|60mL||2 oz||¼ Cup|