You’ll notice, of course, that all of our cocktail recipes on Parched No More use a few standard measures for the various liquors and ingredients we mix into our drinks. Generally speaking, we work in ounces (or halves thereof.) Bartenders working in most places can pour off those amounts by feel, using speed pourers that dispense a steady amount per time. Three seconds gives you a standard ounce-and-a-half shot pour; five gives you an average martini.
If you’re not a practiced bartender, though, pouring the right amount every time can be a bit of guesswork even with those pourers, and without them, it’s a crap shoot. Now, bartending isn’t rocket science, and tweaking the portions in most cocktails won’t necessarily ruin the flavor (just change it.) However, if you’re trying to teach yourself cocktails, and you want to follow these recipes exactly, the best way to do it is to get a set of jiggers.
Jiggers are cone-shaped measuring cups for cocktail-sized amounts of liquid. They each have two sides, featuring a single and double measure of a given amount of liquor. The smallest include 1 oz. and 1/2 oz. measures. A medium-sized jigger will have a 1 1/2 oz. measure (again, that standard shot) and a 3/4 oz. The largest includes 1 and 2 oz. Here’s a set that includes all three. If you need anything smaller for liqueurs or juices, you can use a teaspoon set (a half-ounce is a tablespoon, or three teaspoons.) If you need anything larger to make large batches of drinks, you can use cup measures. (2 oz. is a quarter-cup.) Again, guessing at cocktail measures isn’t the worst thing in the world, but if you want to be precise, that’s the way to do it.