So after this plenty of time at home that this worldwide lockdown offered us, we all made some precious space for that sacred household addition: the home bar. But the truth is that to reproduce top quality drinks while in your pyjamas, takes a little bit more than just motivation. There are bottles to buy, techniques to master and last but not least, you need some appropriate tools that sometimes even experienced bartenders are missing from their home bar.
As we previously mentioned in our introduction post for basic tools every home bar should have, using the appropriate tools will make your home made cocktails look and taste almost as good as those at your fav bar, or even better! The first one you should aim for is the Jigger. A simple little bar tool with such an important job. Pouring the exact amount of spirits, juices, syrups and modifiers results in a perfectly executed cocktail that’s beautifully balanced between its elements.
Although there is a lot of booze history written in the books, the origins of the jigger remains imprecise. Some say it was named after the jiggermast, the lowest sail on a ship’s fourth mast. Remember, British sailors were uncompromisable about getting their daily portion of rum or gin! Others claim that the word jigger has its origins in the ancient greek word for balancing scale “zygos”.
We do know this: In the early 19th century, the jigger came to be known as a portion of booze approximately two and a half ounces. But the double-ended version we are mostly seeing today, which consists of two unequally sized conical vessels, was patented in Chicago in 1893 by inventor Cornelius Dungan.
Before Prohibition, the jigger was usually two ounces, a bit more generous than today’s standard size of one and a half ounces, one more proof that Prohibition ruined everything. But today they have evolved in different shapes, colours and even metric units. So you’ll find in the market double ended hourglass shaped jiggers that hold one and two ounces (30ml/60ml), one and a half and three quarters ounces (45ml/20ml), 50ml/25ml, and so on. Some of the most popular shapes of jigger that you will find in the bars nowadays are the Japanese style jiggers, the Leopold style jiggers who are curvier and squatter, or even the multilevel measuring cups.
The practical side
We do believe that bartenders are more comfortable and faster with the Japanese style Jiggers because of their sharp conical shape and the edgy leaps which makes them really easy to halve in your fingertips. On the other hand there are the Leopold jiggers who are giving a feeling of steadier grip because of the bigger curves of their parts who are giving the impression that they are hugging your fingers while you are holding them. We shouldn’t also neglect the multilevel measuring cups who despite they might make their user look clumsier, when it comes to efficiency they are the winning underdog with their multiple internal markings of 15,20,30,45,60 and 75ml.
But in the long term, Japanese style jiggers are more durable as they are typically crafted from one piece of metal rather than two fused together. So if you can find one with inner etched measurements like this one, you should go for it.
When it comes for home bartenders, it’s more about aesthetics rather than speed and efficiency, so you should choose the one who suits your style best. And whichever you pick, be sure to pour all the way up the leap for the most accurate measurement. So start practicing your measuring skills, and be sure that you’ll thrive in those killer home cocktail parties!