Just like it’s important to find the right cocktail shaker that fits your needs, the same thing goes for your choice of measuring jug. In fact it’s a very good idea to spend some time finding all the right tools for your bar tending job, just like when a chef looks for that perfect chefs knife that fits his grip and is perfectly balanced.
There are two main types of measuring jugs used for bar tending:
The Classic: The Roll’n’Pour
The classic variation of a measuring cup looks more or less like an good old measuring spoon. They come in different variations but they basically work the same way.
They are called Roll’n’Pour because of the way they work: You lay them across the top of the glass, pour your spirits, and roll the jug. It’s easy to dose and handle, and with a little skill it is just as fast to use as any other method.
The Trendy: The Jigger
The jigger is not actually a new and modern invention, even though it is often considered as being the cool new kid in school. It’s main advantage lies in the fact that it often comes with both a 2 cl and a 4 cl (or 1oz/2oz depending on which part of the world it’s being sold) measuring cup in one nifty gadget.
The fact that it’s a double-sided gadget makes it fast and easy to use in a busy environment. Some prefer them with a built-on handle, some prefer no handle. If you use a no handle version, simply place it between your index and your middle finger, pour and tilt.
How to operate a jigger
The “Show Off”: Free Pouring
The Free Pour is every bartender dream. Basically your pour without a measuring device, and measuring becomes a matter of skills mixed with a sense of time and volume.
And yes, the best bartender know their tools so well, that they are able to pour just as precisely as if they were using jigger/Pour’n’Roll. Be aware that for this to work and be useful in a real bar, you need to make sure you use quality pouring equipment.
The problem with the technique is also the reason why I added apostrophes around “Show Off”. Too often I’ve experienced bartenders who thought a little too much about them selves, while not being able to actually hit the perfect amount. A great cocktail is well balanced and shouldn’t be ruined by an awful bartender…
It takes lots of work to become a skilled free pourer, so practicing is vital. When you can pour a perfect 2/4cl (or 1/2oz) every single time, then you’re getting there.
Tip: A good pouring stopper pours 1cl/.5oz per second, but they come in different speeds so remember to test your way towards the perfect equipment.
Getting starter with free pour
If you’re ready to try free pouring start out with a standard liquor bottle, a pouring stopper, a measuring jug or a jigger, and lots and lots of patience. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to learn but as I said: it takes lots of practice.
So… what would I recommend?
I think I’ll go with recommending the jigger, since I tend to use that technique more often, however I find myself mixing(!) them all. As with handle or no handle that’s easier: I always thought the jigger with the handle looks a little funny…!
I recommend you try out all three options and decide for your self. After all it’s you who’ll be using the equipment on an everyday basis