Know your cocktail dash from your splash: Cocktail measurements made easy with The Ice Co
Like many, The Ice Co˚ finds that cocktail recipes come in different formats, often using different cocktail measurements. As much as many cocktails are down to personal taste, some require more accurate measurements and as we are not all professional mixologists – the difference between a jigger and a mixer is like the difference between a shovel and a spade. However, it is worth knowing because afterall, you wouldn’t dig a hole with a spade!
Confused? Thought so. (Hint: Shovels are better for digging and moving soil, spades are better for loosening and levelling soil) But anyway, back to cocktails!
Here’s our guide to cocktail measurements for the amateur mixologist!
Get to know your Jigger!
A jigger is a bartending tool used to measure a liqueur or spirit to go in a cocktail. It is similar to a shot glass but it is double sided in an hourglass shape, with different measures on each end. A jigger is originally a size of measure and therefore could be used as a universal measurement worldwide.
Now, a UK jigger is 25ml on the small side and 50ml on the large side. The American version is in ounces, and works out at a similar size to the UK measures therefore recipes with ‘jigger’ measurements can still be used worldwide.
Don’t let shots be deceiving
No, seeing ‘1 shot of Vodka’ in a recipe does not mean you down that shot there and then! It means it is added with the other ingredients into the mixture!
A shot glass is a common tool for measuring ingredients, usually spirits, to go into a cocktail. But be aware with shot glasses, there are many now available that are not a standard measurement.
However, the majority of the time they are either a small measure at 25ml or a large measure at 50ml. Make sure when using a shot glass that you know if it is a small or large measure – 1 shot of vodka will usually mean a small shot glass.
A dash of this and a splash of that.
We mentioned earlier that many cocktails are made to personal taste rather than to exact measurements, and this is where ‘dash’ and ‘splash’ really come to shine!
In official cocktail terms a ‘dash’ would refer to a very small amount such as a bottle cap full or less. A very quick flick of the wrist should usually throw in just the right amount of dash that you need!
Splash on the other hand is a much looser term – really giving you free reign to pour a good glug of the ingredient into the mix. This is used much more commonly in recipes that are flavoured to personal preference, as the size of your splash will differ on if you like the flavour or not.
Splash on the other hand is a much looser term – really giving you free reign to pour a good glug of the ingredient into the mix!
But remember, when it comes to splash and dash – they are called these non-specific, un measured terms purely for that reason: Because they are unmeasured and non-specific, allowing for personal experimentation and taste to take charge.
As long as we keep in mind, dash is less and splash is more!
“1 part this, 2 parts that, and top up with Orange Juice”
What’s a part?! Do not let this confuse you. It is a way of trying to simplify measurements so that the recipes can be used worldwide with whatever measuring equipment is at hand.
So 1 part could equal 1 shot, 1 jigger, 1 splash (just to confuse you!!) and 2 parts would be 2 shots, 2 jiggers etc – you really can use anything to measure like this, as long as it is consistent.
“That recipe looks so good, but it’s in ounces and I only have a jigger!”
You can still use this recipe, just try to translate it into measurements you know, but keep it in proportion. For example:
1 ½ ounces Rum = 1 ½ Parts Rum
3 ounces Ginger Beer = 3 Parts Ginger Beer
Dash of Lime Juice = Dash of Lime Juice
And this means, use 1 ½ measures of whatever measuring tool you have, be it a jigger, shot glass, bucket etc! and if it’s done in proportion the drink should be the same.
“That cocktail is so good, I want a whole punch bowl of it!”
And you can, all you need to do is increase all measurements PROPORTIONALLY!
It is easy to think that when making a punch bowl just throw all the ingredients into a bowl as ‘guesstimate’ measures! However, we don’t recommend this – you don’t want a fowl tasting punch bowl, or alternatively a punch bowl that is so strong everyone has to leave your party early because it just ‘hit them’!
Make the punch bowl by simply multiplying everything in the recipe by 5 or 10 depending on how much you would like. Or instead of 1 shot of Vodka, use 1 mug of Vodka – but increase all measurements the same!
“Top Up your drink”
A top up is again, down to personal preference. When making a drink in a tall glass, then top up usually means fill to the top. However, if you like your drinks a little stronger then dont top up so much. Again, this term is giving free reign to the cocktail maker.
But the most important thing is to not let them phase you. At the end of the day, the top 10 mixologists in the world could all make a Mojito and guaranteed they would all taste different. So use recipes as guidance, but tweek them to suit your taste!