Why Is a Jigger Called a Jigger? Secrets Exposed! Here are the Juicy Details

Why Is a Jigger Called a Jigger? Secrets Exposed! Here are the Juicy Details - KITESSENSU

Why Is a Jigger Called a Jigger? Secrets Exposed! Here are the Juicy Details

Mixologists know that balance and precision are two crucial components to creating a truly delicious cocktail. Nevertheless, bartenders can play their cocktail game. But what about cocktail enthusiasts who want to make their home bar more precise? It's simple, get the right equipment for absolute precision! You will use your home bar for years to come if you equip it with the essential tools of the trade. When it comes to deciding which pieces of barware are absolute must-haves, a bar jigger is a way to go.

Jiggers play a crucial role behind the bar when it comes to measuring. It's important to be consistent when making delicious cocktails. What else in the bar kit can help you to remain consistent except a bartender jigger? The key is to keep a time-tested and approved recipe and to use the measurements every time.

Jiggers are measuring devices used in the making of alcoholic beverages. Even though jiggers seem like a relatively simple device, there has been an incredible range of them produced over the past century. Simple jiggers have increment marks inside or outside the cup giving the ounce measurement. While double jigger oz has two cups attached at the bottom. One cup measures one amount (usually an ounce) while the other side measures another amount (usually one and a half or two ounces).



The cocktail jigger is a shot or cocktail measuring cup used by bartenders, ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 ounces. A jigger usually has fill lines, which often correspond to the measurements of cocktail or shot glasses, on its inside or outside. These markings will make your job easy.

Cocktail recipes can also use jiggers as measurements. In a recipe that calls for a jigger (or jigger shot) of any spirit, that refers to the standard jigger size of 1.5 ounces. There are different sizes of shot glasses, but the standard shot glass measures 1.5 oz. It is therefore possible for a jigger to refer to the same thing as a shot in some instances. A smaller 1 oz shot, or the 1 oz side of the jigger, is commonly known as a “pony shot.”



It's hard to pinpoint the exact origins of the jigger since every country has its own booze history. Some say the name comes from the jiggermast, which is the lowest sail on the fourth mast of a ship. Other people claim it's just a made-up nonsense term like "thingamajig." 

Today we only know the fact that during the early 19th century, a jigger was a portion of a hooch weighing approximately two and a half ounces. But then, Cornelius Dungan patented his double-ended version in Chicago in 1893 which was consisting of two unequally sized conical vessels.

Until Prohibition, jiggers were usually two U.S. fluid ounces, a bit larger than today's standard size of one-and-a-half U.S. fluid ounces, further proof that Prohibition ruined everything. In today's market, you'll find jiggers with double-ended hourglass shapes that hold one and two ounces, one-and-a-half and three-quarters ounces, and several other sizes.

Why Is a Jigger Called a Jigger? 


Now let us throw some light on this mystery part. It's unclear where the name 'jigger' came from. It is often credited to British sailors, who named their daily allowance of booze after their ship's jiggermast sails. As we discussed earlier in this blog, the “jiggermast” is the smallest mast on a ship, so it's likely the sailors used the nickname to express grievance over their drink rations.

William O'Bryan's 1836 book A Narrative of Travels in the United States of America uses the phrase "Jigger boss" as one of the earliest references to this word. The "boss" was a young boy who brought a half gill of whiskey 16 times a day to Irish canal workers! According to O'Bryan's words, these people were drinking 40 ounces of whiskey every day since a half gill is 2.5 ounces. There are 33.8 ounces in a liter, so either O'Bryan's numbers are wrong or these men were obliterated drunk every day. 

Other explanations include the term jigger being just another word for 'thingamajig'. People weren't sure what the heck it was or what it was called back then. The word thingamajig was first used around 1870, so cocktail jiggers may have inspired this phrase. That's quite a claim to fame.

The conclusions are up to you. But as of now we only have limited information about its name.



Jiggers come in several types, mainly depending on the measurement system. Jiggers that are available in the American market adhere to the US system of measurement. They come in singles or doubles of 1 ½ ounce on the large end, just like a standard shot. Most of the world uses UK jiggers that have metric measurements meaning a single holds 25 ml and a double holds 50 ml. Lastly, there is the Japanese-style jigger, which has deep cups on both ends and is refined and streamlined. Japanese jiggers have an appealing aesthetic as well as both systems of measurement on the side for ease of use. Let us understand each type of jigger in detail:

1.Japanese Jigger

In technical terms, a Japanese jigger is nothing else but a double jigger. However, this double jigger is thinner and bulkier than the traditional double jigger. Despite this, Japanese jiggers are easier to maneuver around bars.

2.Heavyweight Jigger

Designed from a single piece of steel and plated in either copper or gold, this durable Japanese-style heavyweight jigger is a great addition to any collection.

Fluid in flow and clean in the pour, this jigger almost feels like an extension of your fingers. With its weighted design, the jigger feels stable, and its narrow shape allows for swift and accurate measurements.

3.Bell Jigger

The wide style of this cocktail jigger provides a comfortable and stable way of measuring bar liquors. The stainless steel base is usually quite heavy. The technicians craft it well to ensure the product won't break, bend, or rust.

This jigger has clear markings to make measuring easy and accurate, a wide mouth makes pouring quick, and a straightedge prevents drips. You can get some cocktail recipe books or refer to double-jigger measurements to level up your mixing game.

4.Stepped Jigger

You can measure and pour shots of your favorite spirits with this cocktail jigger thanks to its step design and sturdy handle.

It is an all-around outstanding bar tool. Use this cocktail jigger to measure and pour liquor shots and other cocktail ingredients.

You can measure 1/2oz, 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz pours or 15, 30, 45 and 60 mL pours with the markings on either side of the jigger. The stepped design makes it even easier to fill your jigger to the desired level, while the flared top makes pouring easy.

With its solid stainless steel body and handle, this stainless steel jigger adds even more precision and accuracy to your pouring.

Unit Conversions


The bar and lounge industry worldwide does not use a standard measurement unit. However, the metric system and the imperial system are the two international measurement units in bartending. Measurement of liquids in North America is commonly done in ounces. Additionally, you are free to choose the measurement system that you want to use. But most authentic bartenders rely on Japanese jigger measurements for accuracy.


METRIC SYSTEM (We have rounded off for ease of use)

1/32 oz

1 ml

0.1 cl

1/4 tsp

1/24 oz

1.25 ml

0.125 cl

1/2 tsp

1/8 oz

2.5 ml

0.25 cl

1 dash

1 tsp

1/6 oz

5 ml

0.5 cl

1 bar spoon

1/4 oz

7.5 ml

0.75 cl

1/3 oz

10 ml

1 cl

1 tbsp

1/2 oz

15 ml

1.5 cl

2/3 oz

20 ml

2 cl

1 pony

1 oz

30 ml

3 cl

1 1/3 oz

40 ml

4 cl

1 jigger

1 1/2 oz

45 ml

4.5 cl

1 3/4 oz

50 ml

5 cl

2 oz

60 ml

6 cl

1 glass

5 oz

150 ml

15 cl

1 pint (US)

16 oz

470 ml

47 cl

1 pint (UK)

20 oz

570 ml

57 cl



Jiggers come in a variety of types and offer a variety of measurements. Therefore, when preparing cocktail recipes, make sure you use the same kind of jigger every time. For versatility, we recommend getting the ones with both imperial and metric markings. If you need good quality jiggers then visit https://kitessensu.com/collections/jiggers. They have an amazing variety of jiggers, muddlers, bar spoons, and much more.

It is a true paradise for booze lovers or cocktail enthusiasts. If you are searching for the best digital platform to build your home bar then you must visit their online store. They offer an entire bartending tool kit at a reasonable price.


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