What is a cocktail jigger?
Before we delve into the origin of the cocktail jigger, it is essential first to understand what it is. A cocktail jigger is a small measuring device used in bartending to measure and pour specific amounts of alcohol or other liquid ingredients accurately. It typically comprises two cones or cylinders of equal or different sizes that hold various measures of fluid ounces or milliliters.
The invention of the jigger
Many sources attribute the invention of the cocktail jigger to an American bartender named Jerry Thomas in the mid-19th century. According to the stories, Thomas first crafted the measuring tool with a shot glass and a smaller pony glass, which eventually evolved into the jigger we know today.
Japan’s influence on the jigger
The use of the cocktail jigger became more popular in the early 20th century, especially during the United States’ Prohibition era. However, it was the influence of Japanese bartenders that redefined the jigger permanently. Japanese bartenders used the unique two-sided jigger to create precise and intricate cocktails. They would often hold the jigger in their hands as they poured to prevent any spillage, making their craft look more like art.
Today, cocktail jiggers are available in various materials such as metal, plastic, or glass. You can find them in the classic two-sided style or in newer models that come with more than two measurements.
Why use a jigger?
Bartenders use jiggers for precise measurements and to maintain consistency in cocktail flavor. Using a jigger ensures that the right amount of each ingredient is added to the drink, preventing over-pouring or under-pouring.