Bar Jiggers: Barware Basics

Bar Jigger Pouring Liquor

Let’s face it, consistently mixing a proper cocktail requires some degree of precision and unless you’re an idiot savant of the bartending variety you’ll need some help. That’s where the bar jigger comes in…

As beginners we need to start somewhere and the Jigger measurement helps us stay on track. Drink recipes can get pretty complicated and a bar jigger ensures that just the right amount of every spirit will find its way into your cocktail. After all, we can get lucky when free pouring a drink, but what happens when we try to recreate that cocktail and fail miserably?

Jiggers keep our butts out of trouble and our cocktails consistent, so let’s take a look at the bar jigger from a beginner’s perspective.

What Is a Bar Jigger?

Jiggers are bartending tools used to portion liquor when making cocktails. Available in many an assortment of sizes and styles, bar jiggers help bartenders prepare drinks quickly and consistently. While speed probably isn’t a big requirement for home bartenders, consistency is important as you learn the difference between an enjoyable cocktail and footwash, so it’s a good idea to prepare your drinks in a consistent manner and a jigger measurement will help you do that.

Common Jigger Sizes

Generally, these bar measures come in a variety of sizes, including:

  • 2oz.
  • 1.5 oz
  • 1 oz.
  • .75 oz
  • .5 oz
  • .25 oz.

Overall the 2 oz., 1.5 oz. and 1 oz. are probably the most frequently used, so if you’re light on space or money go with these. Otherwise do the full monty, since getting caught without might really produce a lousy drink.

Types of Jiggers

Basically three are two types of Jiggers that vary based on their capacity:

Single Jigger – A simple drink measure with a single bowl to contain the spirit. These can range from a basic shot glass to something with multiple graduations to allow refined measurements.

Double Jigger – With an appearance like an hourglass, the double jigger has a bowl on either side. Typically constructed of metal, this is the style of measure used in most bars.

Bar Jigger Styles

Believe it or not, jiggers are available in several different styles. Granted the purpose of this device is simply to measure spirits, but don’t you want to look good doing it? If you said “No,” you’re lying. Regardless here are several of the most common styles:

Classic Jigger – Present in almost every tavern in the United States, the classic jigger measurement is hourglass shaped to accommodate two measures and normally made from durable stainless steel. In our opinion, the biggest downfall is the shallow shape which makes spillage almost automatic. Cost: < $5 
Classic Bar Jigger
DurableSpills Easily

Japanese Jigger – The Japanese Jigger is a Cadillac to the Classic Jigger’s Chevy – which means it presents a more refined appearance. This jigger provides a deeper well that’s less likely to allow spillage and often has easily identifiable markings which make extra measures unnecessary. Oh, and Japanese Jiggers look really cool. Cost: $5 – $10. 
Japanese-Style Bar Jigger
Multiple Measurements
Less Spillage

OXO Double Jigger – I haven’t used this, but from everything I’ve read it makes sense. The OXO Double Jigger has the twin bowl design of most Double Jiggers, but it has very clearly marked gradations within each cup. The result is that it can be used for measuring many different quantities quite easily. Cost: $5 – $10. 
OXO Double Bar Jigger
Easy to Use
Non-Slip Grip

OXO Small Measuring Cup – If you’re going for something supremely functional, then manufacturer OXO has something for you in the form of its angled measuring cups. Note: This isn’t an OXO Lovefest; they just seem to make decent stuff. Although I haven’t used one, they have a unique design that allows you to easily see the measurement graduations, which is a far cry from struggling to measure using a standard glass jigger. Despite their functionality, these bad boys will definitely project a “mad scientist” vibe. Cost: $5 – $10.
OXO Mini Graduated Measuring Cup


Multi MeasuresAppearance
Ease of UsePlastic Gets Funky

Pick Bar Jiggers That Work for You

Ultimately you can measure your spirits with just about anything, so finding the right jigger for you depends on your preference. Ease of use and appearance are qualities that you should definitely consider, not to mention the amount of available space. Here are a few suggestions based on need:

Limited SpaceOXO Double Jigger
Cool FactorJapanese Jigger
SimpleSingle Shot Glass
Mad Doctor of MixologyOXO Small Measuring Cup


Bar Jiggers are necessary tools in any bartender’s toolbox. Consider your situation and apply these basic options to find the Jigger that best meets your needs.