A few points about jiggers…
Here I’d just like to point out the importance of measuring your jiggers. The idea of measuring a measuring tool does sound funny, but you’d be surprised to know how many bartenders I’ve worked with had been using the wrong measurement for years, because they were never bothered to take this step.
First of all, do not trust the measurements that you’ve been told; if it says on the jigger’s packaging that it’s able to measure 30 ml and 45 ml, don’t just take their word for it, find out for yourself, and very often the information you were given were wrong.
Whenever I acquire a new jigger, I always measure them with a measuring cylinder, i.e. the long tube from a chemistry set. These things give the most accurate readings due to its long and thin shape, as oppose to a measuring cup that a slight tilting can affect the readings drastically.
In the picture above are the six jiggers I have at the moment, some are very dependable, some are less so. They are all bought from reliable sources, and not just some cheap knockoffs, so the comments I’m about to give on these should apply to all.
(From left to right)
- The first one is the cheapest of them all: $8. A very common jigger in most bars in Asia. The smaller side measures 15 ml, 30 ml, and the larger side measures 45 ml, although that’s what the markers on the jigger tells me. The 15 ml marker actually measures 8 ml; the 30 ml marker is actually 28 ml; the 45 ml marker is 41 ml. This is the prefect example of why you shouldn’t trust your jigger without confirming it first.
- The OXO jigger is $9, but cost twice as much to buy in China, but I’d still say it’s worth every penny. You can often see it being used in American cocktail bars. I’ve had this one for 3 years, and I can safely say, this is the most reliable jigger I’ve ever used: despite its average look, it’s extremely accurate, has all the measurements you will ever need in mixing drinks, and all of them are correct. It measures 1/4 oz, 1/3 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 1 oz, and 1 1/2 oz.
- The third one is a multi-measure jigger, costing about $10, it’s more like a small measuring cup. Very simple in terms of design, doesn’t look very stylish, but the measurements are all accurate: 15 ml, 20 ml, 30 ml, 45 ml, 60 ml, 75 ml. It also translates these to ounces and teaspoons.
- The U-Chida jigger cost about $25, quite popular in high-end cocktail bars in Japan, China, and many parts of Asia; because so many bartenders use it, it makes you feel safe, but do not be fooled by that. It is suppose to be able to measure 20 ml and 30 ml on the smaller side, and 40 ml, 50 ml, 60 ml, and 70 ml on the other. The 20 ml marker is slightly under, filling the liquid to that line will actually give you 19 ml, so if you want 20, you’re gonna have to go over that line slightly; the 30 ml marker actually measures 35 - 36 ml. On the larger side, the 40 ml marker is accurate and so is the 50 ml marker; the 60 ml is actually 57 ml, and 70 ml is actually 68 ml.
- Mr. Slim jigger is $31, the one used by bartenders across the world, you’d often see them been used in cocktail competitions. It is elegant and accurate. It measures 10 ml, 20 ml, and 30 ml on the smaller side; 15 ml, 30 ml, and 45 ml on the other. All of them are correct.
- The final one is a jigger built in the style of a measuring spoon. Cost $10. It measures 15 ml, 30 ml, 45 ml, and 60 ml, which is pretty much all the basic measurements you will need when composing a simple drink. I’d say they are fairly accurate, but the markers are a little bit hard to read, so takes some getting used to.