Shot Glasses vs Jiggers: What’s the Difference?

Bartending (Shutterstock)

If you are in the bar business, chances are you have heard about shot glasses and jiggers. In fact, shot glasses and jiggers are two of the most popular measuring tools used in bartending and cocktail-mixing. They are designed to accurately measure and serve specific volumes of alcoholic beverages and other liquids.


However, despite their standing as two of the more common barware in use by mixologists, there still remains some confusion about their key differences. To help with this, it would be useful to explore what sets these two mixing tools apart from each other.


How Much is a Shot?

The volume of a standard shot, commonly served in a shot glass, is typically 1.5 ounces (or 44ml). Although variations exist, this measurement is considered a standard in many countries including the United States. There is a standard because when crafting cocktails or mixed drinks, consistent measurement is absolutely essential. Recipes often rely on specific ratios between different ingredients, and the shot volume plays a crucial role in achieving that balance. It helps bartenders ensure that the proportion of alcohol in the drink is consistent and contributes evenly to the overall taste.


What is a Shot Glass?

Shot Glasses (Shutterstock)

A shot glass is a small glass vessel specifically designed for serving and consuming alcoholic beverages in small quantities. It is typically cylindrical in shape, with a thick base and straight sides. Shot glasses are usually made of glass but can also be made of ceramic, plastic or metal. They are also frequently employed as a standard unit of measurement when making cocktails and other mixed drinks.


The most common shot glass size is 1.5 ounces (44 ml), although variations exist. Indeed, shot glasses come in various types and designs, adding diversity and style to the drinking experience. This quality is what makes them versatile and adaptable to specific occasions and personal preferences. So while the standard shot glass might hold the standard 44ml measurement, the novelty shot glass often comes in a wider range of designs. They often also incorporate various themes, shapes and characters – for example, shot glasses shaped like bullets, mini boots or famous landmarks. It’s again all about the occasion and personal preference.


What is a Jigger?

Jiggers (Shutterstock)

A jigger is a double-ended measuring tool commonly used in bartending to accurately measure small volumes of liquid ingredients for cocktails and mixed drinks. It is an essential tool for maintaining consistency and precision in drink preparation. Also known as the cocktail measuring cup, it typically consists of two cones of different sizes joined by a narrow neck – the “double jigger”.


Jiggers aren’t all that different from shot glasses in that they serve similar purposes when mixing drinks. However, while shot glasses are used for serve drinks directly to customers, the jigger shot is primarily used by bartenders during drink preparation to ensure accurate and consistent measurements of liquid ingredients.


Much like shot glasses, there are different types of jiggers beyond the standard double cone-shaped style. Each of these variations, of course, offer their own advantages. Here are a few common types:


  • Japanese Jigger: Japanese style jiggers are typically made of sturdy stainless steel and feature a taller, narrower design compared to the traditional jigger. This jigger is widely known for its precise measurements and is favored by many bartenders.
  • Multi-Level Jigger: Unlike a traditional jigger that has two fixed volumes, a multi-level jigger has additional markings inside the cups that provides additional measurement options. These markings allow bartenders to measure quantities of liquid with greater accuracy.
  • Adjustable Jigger: An adjustable jigger, also known as a collapsible jigger, allows for multiple measurements in a single tool. It consists of nested cups or rings – usually made of stainless steel – that can be expanded or collapsed to different volumes as the need arises.


Remember, when choosing a jigger, it is important to consider factors such as durability, ease of cleaning and suitability for the bartending environment in which it will be used.


How Shot Glasses vs. Jiggers are Used

Shot Glasses and a Jigger (Shutterstock)

Shot glasses are commonly used in bars for serving straight shots of liquor directly to customers, typically in a standard volume of 1.5 ounces (44 ml). They are also used for quick and approximate measurements when pouring ingredients into mixing glasses or shakers. Additionally, shot glasses are popular in drinking games and in more social settings.


The basic bar jigger, on the other hand, is used by bartenders for precise measurements when making cocktails. They ensure accurate proportions and help maintain the desired flavor profiles of the drink. This flexibility is useful in mixology when following intricate cocktail recipes, ensuring you have the perfectly balanced mixed drink.


One other quality that differentiates the shot glass from the jigger is its versatility. Shot glasses can be used for a host of other things beyond drink measuring. They can also be used as:


  • Votive Candle Holders: Shot glasses can be repurposed as votive candle holders, creating a cozy and ambient atmosphere when lit with small candles.
  • Toothpick or Cocktail Pick Holders: Use shot glasses to hold toothpicks or cocktail picks for guests to easily grab and use during parties.
  • Souvenirs: They also make popular souvenirs for travelers and collectors. They offer a compact and easily transportable item that represents a specific location or experience.
  • Branded Items: Shot glasses are often used as branded items to promote businesses, events or organizations. They offer practicality and usability, allowing recipients to enjoy shots or measure ingredients while displaying the branded logo or design.


Other Types of Drinkware for Your Business or Event

Barware (

It goes without saying that branded customization is one of the smarter ways to promote your business, whether in an establishment or at an event. It is a great avenue for promoting a brand’s visibility both with current and with prospective customers. Branded shot glasses is just one way to go about business promotion of this kind. There are also several other types of branded drinkware that can do as solid a job promoting your brand at events.

Bar Glassware

Beyond shot glasses, there are a variety of barware that serve different functions, all with the goal of helping bartenders efficiently prepare a wide range of cocktails and beverages. Each piece of barware is designed with a specific purpose in mind such as mixing, measuring, stirring or serving. A diverse selection of barware indeed ensures that bartenders have the appropriate tools needed to execute different techniques and achieve desired results. What’s more: each of these pieces of barware is customizable, and often branded to promote businesses such as bars and restaurants.


Here are a few common types:



Stadium Cups

Stadium cups are plastic cups commonly used in stadiums and outdoor events as a safe and practical alternative to glassware. They offer many advantages by being shatterproof, lightweight and portable. Stadium cups are designed for reuse, promoting sustainability and reducing waste.


They can be customized with your company’s brand, thus serving as effective marketing tools and souvenirs. While they may lack the elegance of glassware, stadium cups provide practical benefits in terms of safety, convenience, customization and affordability.


Disposable cups indeed offer similar benefits while being just as customizable and twice as cheap. In all, their versatility and suitability for outdoor or large-scale events make them an incredibly popular choice for beverage service.

Other Drinkware

There are a multitude of other types of customizable drinkware that could be gold for promoting your business at events. Here are a few more:



With this multiplicity of choices in drinkware, your customers will no doubt be served in the best way possible. What that also means is it presents a plethora of ways in which customizable branding on glassware can go a long way to promoting your business and services.

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