It’s the little cup your bartender uses to measure, and no matter how good he or she is, you should be grateful if it’s being used at the end of the night. Free-pouring a drink accurately is tough for anyone, and after a few hours with a shaker, fatigue can throw off even the most skilled.
For the home bartender, it’s just essential. Don’t be ashamed to use one in front of your friends. They will be more impressed by an exceptional cocktail and it’s not nearly as emasculating as asking for directions at a gas station.
The trio below came into my possession at Tales of the Cocktail last week and they offer a good range. On the left is a traditional jigger, which can also come in clear plastic with measurement lines. In the middle is a measuring cup that lists measurements in milliliters, ounces and fractions of a cup. In a pinch, a standard coffee scoop is a one ounce pour, equivalent to 2 tablespoons if you are really desperate.
On the right is an innovative piece from Ubertools, which I noticed in heavy rotation at the Carousel Bar while I was at Tales. One side is a full ounce measure and the other side is separated into three sections (1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 ounces), each of which is on a corner to facilitate easy pouring.