What is a Jigger?
A jigger is a common bar essential that acts as a cocktail measuring cup. Jiggers are dual-sided and help bartenders cut down on overpouring and remain consistent when crafting cocktails. They have different capacities on each end and range from 0.5 to 2.5 ounces. One of their main advantages is that jiggers are dual-sided and allow bartenders to quickly mix drinks while using both sides of the jigger.
There are several different sizes of jiggers and you should always double-check jigger measurements when following a cocktail recipe. A jigger in one cocktail recipe can differ from an amount in another. You should also hire a bartender who is familiar with jigger measurements and how they range in size. A standard jigger is 1.5 oz. and 0.75 ounces on either side. The most common jiggers are 1.5 x 0.75 oz. and 2 x 1 oz.
How Many Ounces Are in a Jigger?
Typically, the larger end of the jigger is 1.5 ounces and the smaller end is 0.75 ounces. In most cases when people refer to a “jigger” or a “jigger shot” they are referring to the standard jigger size of 1.5 ounces. The smaller end of the jigger is known as a pony shot.
How Many Ounces Are in a Shot?
A shot is typically 1.5 ounces, which equates to one standard jigger. Shot glasses can be used for drinking or measuring. They come in an array of different sizes and shapes that can be used for multiple purposes.
Jiggers can come in various styles and types. Depending on what type of drink you're making, a different jigger may be best suited for the job. Below we take you through two common jiggers.
Double jiggers are the traditional style of jiggers and are also referred to as the basic bar jigger. They feature the standard hourglass shape and come in a variety of different sizes.
Whether you are mixing cocktails or stocking your bar, jiggers are essential to include in your back-of-bar inventory. These bar measuring tools will ensure bartenders are pouring consistently when mixing recipes and providing a quality drink to customers.
How to Set Drink Prices In Your Bar or Restaurant
Choosing bar drink prices can be a tricky aspect of running a bar. Too expensive, and you drive away customers. Too cheap, and you won't be in business for much longer. One of the most important aspects of a restaurant, and especially a bar, is to create a profitable and manageable list of cocktails. There are many variables that each business needs to take into consideration when figuring out how to price drinks, like rent and overhead, but there are also a few industry standards that we'll highlight to help you properly price drinks for your bar or restaurant. Establish Drink and Cocktail Prices When taking into consideration how many different types and brands of liquors are used, it can seem quite overwhelming to begin setting a standard for your pricing. Fortunately, it's just simple math that will be applied across your entire drinks menu. How to Price Bar Drinks You can follow these steps to help you estimate the price of the drinks at your establishment. Calculate the liquor cost. You can use the following formula to help get to this number: Bottle Price / Ounces in Bottle = Liquor Cost per Ounce Calculate the pour cost or beverage cost. You can use the following formula to help get to this number: Cost to Make the Drink / Price You Sell It for = Pour Cost Most locations will set the pour cost at 20% to 25%, while others will use 22% for wine, 20% for beer, and 14% for liquor. You can adjust the percentage to what works best for your establishment. Calculate the drink price. You can use the following formula to help get to this number: Liquor Cost / Pour Cost in Decimals = Drink Price Factor in the garnish prices. You can do this similarly to how you calculate the liquor cost and price out each individual ingredient, or set a flat rate that is added on to the drink price. Factor in the shrinkage variance. Most bars will add in an additional fee of approximately 20% to cover the cost of lost product due to expiration or damage. Round to the nearest quarter. The number you get after you complete your calculations may not be a well-rounded number. To make the price more visually appealing, round to the nearest quarter to create a cleaner drink menu. Evaluate and adjust. The prices you come to may not always be the most cost-effective price for your demographic. You can use a profit and loss statement to make adjustments and track the impact it has on your clientele to find the best menu pricing for your establishment to be profitable. Drink Cost Breakdown in Practice We’ll walk through the pricing breakdown of a basic drink to provide a visual of the calculation above. To start, we’ll say that a 25-ounce bottle of liquor costs $22. Liquor cost: $22 purchase cost / 25 oz. per bottle = $0.88 per ounce Pour Cost: We’ll use 20% as a standard. Drink Cost: $0.88 liquor cost / .2 pour cost = $4.40 Garnish Cost: We’ll use a flat rate of $0.50. The drink total is currently $4.90 with the drink cost and garnish cost combined. Shrinkage Cost: Using the shrinkage rate of 20%, you’ll want to multiply the drink total by .2 and add that amount to the price. $4.90 drink total x .2 shrinkage = $0.98 shrinkage cost $4.90 drink total + $0.98 shrinkage cost = $5.88 new drink total Round to the Quarter: The final drink price is $6.00. Understanding that most drinks do not consist of just one type of liquor or ingredient, you’ll want to price out your ingredients the same way you calculated the liquor cost and add them all together. Multiply the liquor cost accordingly to how many ounces of that particular liquor you used in the cocktail. You would then use that recipe total in place of the liquor cost during the drink cost step. Four-Tier Liquor Pricing Liquor pricing will usually fall into a four-tier organizational system that can help you adjust your pour cost according to the liquor quality. Well: These brands will usually sit in the well behind the bar. Well drinks are made with the cheapest liquors in your establishment and usually mixed with multiple liquors and drink mixes. They will have the highest pour cost, set at approximately 30%. Call: These brands are the most popular brands in your establishment and are usually located directly behind the bartender. Customer can usually call them by name when asking for a drink. They will have a pour cost set at approximately 25%. Premium: These brands will usually be located on the lowest shelf behind the bar and will be the highest quality certain brands have to offer. They will have a pour cost set at approximately 20%. Super-Premium: These brands are considered to be top-shelf bottles and will be the highest quality liquors in your establishment. They are generally liquors that have been aged and distilled. They will have the lowest pour cost, set at approximately 15%. Organizing your bottle brands into these four categories can provide a quick reference system when setting drink prices. Creating Standard Recipes Establishing standard recipes for each drink is important to ensure consistency and quality. If each bartender makes cocktails a different way, your customers aren't only receiving different types of margaritas, but your effort to price the beverage is essentially useless. When standardizing recipes it's also important to stress the necessity of avoiding over-pouring to your bartenders. Over-pouring costs bars thousands of dollars per year, but you can help prevent that by adding measured pourers behind the bar. Factors That Impact Drink Prices Drink prices can be impacted by a variety of factors apart from their ingredients, such as your location and competition. Demographic Setting drink prices goes beyond calculations. It is important to consider your location’s demographic to set prices that your customers will accept. Consider the age, gender, occupation, and income of the people in your surrounding neighborhood. If your bar is located in a bustling city with higher rent rates, customers may accept and expect higher priced drinks. However, if you’re in a rural town or near a college community where the population is pressed for money, higher priced drinks won’t sell very well. It’s important to evaluate how your customers are responding to your drink prices by tracking your bar sales and adjusting your prices accordingly. Checking Out the Competition With any business, it is necessary to know what your competition is up to. If you're priced significantly higher than the bar around the corner, chances are that you'll slowly lose business and see the effects financially. And vice versa, bar drink prices that are too low won't cover costs of staff, rent, and electricity. Many bars choose the “meet or beat” technique where they try to meet the prices of their competition or beat them if possible. However, not all bars are made the same. If your bar or restaurant features an upscale ambience, it would not be expected for your drinks to be the same price as the casual dining bar around the corner. Your atmosphere will also impact the discount of your happy hour drinks, if you choose to have a happy hour at all. A sports bar serving a happy hour may see a 30 % pour cost, while an upper-class martini bar keeps its beverage cost at 18%. Ultimately, your pricing depends on how much you paid for alcohol, the competition or the type of clientele you wish to attract, and the overall profit you plan to bring in. Find that happy medium, price your food menu reasonably with your drink menu, and you'll have a continuous flow of satisfied customers.
Bartending School Vs. Experience
For any bar owner, the difference between success and failure often depends on the skill of their bartenders. Having well-trained, professional bartenders on your staff is essential for any kind of establishment from your local dive bar to an upscale lounge. But when it comes to experienced professionals, what’s the best way to become a great bartender? Read on to learn the pros and cons of bartending school versus bartending experience. Bartending School Generally speaking, most bar managers won’t hire a bartender straight out of school. But, having a certificate from a reputable institution shows that you’re serious about this career, and it can prove that you have a basic understanding of mixology. You will most likely still be starting out as a busser or barback, but the education you’ve received could help you move up the ladder quicker than if you came into the position with no background knowledge. Below are some important pros and cons to consider when deciding if bartending school is right for you. Pros of Attending Bartending School Some bartenders and bar owners look down upon bartending schools. However, there are benefits to hiring a new bartender who has not yet developed bad bar habits, including overpouring, failing to upsell, and fixating on tips. There are several other advantages bartending school offers: Provides guidance for someone who doesn’t know where to begin Gives students hands-on practice in a no-pressure environment Builds confidence for those new to the restaurant industry Offers resume help or interview practice Creates networking opportunities Often offers job placement programs for successful graduates Cons of Attending Bartending School The main risk with attending bartending school is having a potential employer look down on you and your certificate. Below are a few cons to consider before attending bartending school: Employers could see you as someone who isn’t willing to start at the bottom and work your way up You’re not guaranteed a job at the end of the course (even if a school claims so) Unless you keep practicing or land a job right away, any recipes or techniques you learned can quickly be forgotten It can be a large upfront expense How Much Does Bartending School Cost? Bartending school can cost anywhere from $200 to $600 for an in-person 40-hour course. Online courses often cost less, but they won’t provide you with the hands-on learning that’s needed to build your dexterity and gain experience. For comparison, bartenders will average anywhere from $100 to $200 a night in tips with an average wage of $10 an hour. Bartending Experience In most states, there is no certificate or schooling required to become a bartender. And if you survey the bartenders at your local watering hole, chances are most haven’t attended bartending school. That’s because many bartenders find that experience behind the bar is the most effective way to learn. Lee Bonds is a bartender at Art and Soul Restaurant in Washington D.C. Bonds, who has a culinary background and no bartender license, said, "It isn't necessary to go to bartending school or classes to become a bartender at an upscale restaurant or in the industry in general." He added, "Most bartenders start off working in a restaurant and work their way up to bartender learning the tricks of the trade along the way." Pros of Bartending Experience Working from the ground up to gain expertise through work experiences has several advantages: You are essentially paid to learn rather than spending money on tuition The knowledge gained is more tailored toward your specific place of business More time is spent working in the restaurant industry Connections and relationships are formed with management and staff Management often favors those who choose experience over schooling Cons of Bartending Experience While gaining experience by working your way up the ladder works for some, there are a few disadvantages to consider: It may take longer to become a bartender without the schooling Being thrown into the restaurant industry with no experience or expectations can be overwhelming You’re starting from scratch with no additional guidance on resumes, interviews, or job placement How to Become a Bartender with No Experience Rather than attending bartending school, most of today’s successful bartenders started out in other areas of the restaurant. They were hired as bussers, barbacks, or runners with the hopes of gaining industry knowledge and working their way to the top. It’s through experience they were able to learn the basics of customer service, how to create a safe and equitable environment, and get an understanding of the fast-paced style of the restaurant industry. Here are a few tips to becoming a bartender with no experience: Memorize classic cocktails and shots such as Manhattans, martinis, and Long Island Iced Teas Learn common terminology like muddling, neat, on the rocks, and other bar lingo Begin as a barback so you can observe how the bartenders move and work Invest in tools at home to practice pouring, mixing, shaking, and stirring on your own time Bartending is a very hands-on craft that can only be perfected through years of experience. Whether you choose to begin your journey with an educational course or decide to jump right behind the bar, it’ll take time, patience, and a commitment to the craft. A combination of bartender education and on-the-job experience and training are both crucial to becoming a great bartender. For those that have the skill and determination, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career.
How to Make Cocktail Mixers and Bar Ingredients
If you are looking to open a bar, one way to personalize the cocktails on your menu is to use homemade ingredients. By making your own bar ingredients, you can save money for your bar and add a unique twist to simple drinks in order to help your business stand out from the competition. The most commonly used bar ingredients are bitters, simple syrup, grenadine, and maraschino cherries. Keep reading to learn how to make cocktail ingredients for the drinks being served at your bar. If you want to skip ahead to a specific bar ingredient, click below: 1. Making Cocktail Bitters 2. Making Simple Syrup 3. Making Grenadine 4. Making Maraschino Cherries 1. How to Make Bitters Bitters are one of the most popular bar ingredients to have on hand at any establishment that serves alcohol. Some cocktails that use bitters are the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Sazerac, Champagne Cocktail, Pisco Sour, a Martini, or even a Daiquiri. These drinks are relatively easy to make as long as you have the right bar supplies. To make your own bitters, you only need a few ingredients, measuring spoons, and measuring cups. Herbs and Spices for Bitters Before you make your bitters, think of what kind of drinks you would like to add them to. This will help direct what kind of roots, herbs, and spices you should use to craft your bitters. If the end flavor is going to be fruity and fun, use vodka as your base alcohol with a combination (or all) of a fruit peel, chamomile, lavender, or lemongrass. If you would like to use bitters in a darker, more savory drink, use a type of whiskey as your base alcohol along with herbs and spices like sage, thyme, allspice, and cloves. How to Make Bitters Video Check out this video to learn how to make your own bitters: <iframe itemprop="embedURL" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kWat2iXVQ-4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Bitters Recipe Follow our easy-to-use recipe to learn how to make bitters for your bar. Ingredients and Materials: Two large glass jars Small jars with lids A high-proof spirit (at least 100 proof or 50% ABV) Cheesecloth A small funnel Herbs, spices, roots, and other flavorings of your choice Measuring spoons Bitters bottles Sweetener (only if needed) Distilled water (only if needed) Directions: Gather all of the spices, herbs, and flavorings you would like to use in your bitters. If you are looking to make multiple kinds of bitters that use a few of the same ingredients, it will be best to separate them into small jars during infusion and then later combine them in the dropper bottles. If not, you can infuse all of your ingredients together. Next, pour your choice of alcohol into the jars and tightly secure the lids. Label all of your jars with the date and the contents within. Remember to shake your mixtures daily to distribute the flavors throughout the liquid. Test your mixtures every few days to see if they have reached maximum infusion. The mixture is ready when it smells just like the main ingredient(s). Strain the contents of the jars through a cheesecloth and into a clean jar or jars (if separated). Using your small funnel, pour your mixture into the storage bottle that has the eye dropper. If you separated your ingredients, choose which tinctures you would like to combine and pour them into the storage bottle. If you taste your bitters and think they are too strong, you can add a sweetener or use distilled water to soften the taste. Many bitters are made to be strong and only need to be added to drinks a few drops at a time to achieve a prominent taste. Have fun experimenting with many different kinds of herbs to develop a perfect concoction and enjoy crafting drinks around the flavors you create.How to Infuse Bitters As a common rule of thumb, use 4 ounces of alcohol for every teaspoon of herbs, spices, or roots that you want to infuse. Once combined, the entire infusion process will take about 2 weeks (give or take depending on your ingredients) to come to completion. 2. How to Make Simple Syrup Like bitters, simple syrup is another main ingredient used behind the bar. Simple syrup is used in drinks like the Lemon Drop, Whiskey Sour, Daiquiris, and Mojitos. Just like the name implies, simple syrup is very simple to make and requires only two ingredients and a few minutes of time. Read on to find out how to create an easy simple syrup that will sweeten up your drinks. Simple Syrup Recipe Video Learn how to prepare simple syrup with the help of this video: <iframe itemprop="embedURL" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ez54XytkINg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Simple Syrup Recipe You can use the following recipe to make your own simple syrup. Ingredients and Materials: 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup water A sauce pan and spoon A medium sized bottle for storage Directions: Pour water into a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Add sugar and reduce heat. Stir sugar continuously until dissolved. Allow syrup to cool and then transfer to a bottle that can be sealed tightly. For a more flavorful simple syrup, add in raspberry crumbles, lemon or lime zest, or a few dashes of ginger or cinnamon. These little additions will give your simple syrup a unique edge and bring your drinks to life. Refrigerating your simple syrup will help it keep for about a month. 3. How to Make Grenadine Instead of giving your customers a dose of red food coloring and high fructose corn syrup in their drinks, delight them with the natural sweetness of homemade grenadine! Learn how to make grenadine for your bar with this recipe. How to Make Grenadine Video Use the following video to learn how to prepare grenadine for your cocktails: <iframe itemprop="embedURL" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wv7gIOYeT_4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Homemade Grenadine Recipe Brew up the vibrant and delicious cocktail mixer by following our grenadine recipe. Ingredients and Materials: 1 cup of sugar 1 cups of 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice 1/2 oz. of lemon juice or to taste (optional) A saucepan and spoon A small funnel A jar for storage Directions: Pour juice and sugar into your sauce pan. Over medium heat, stir mixture to help dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Be careful not to over boil. Turn the heat down and allow the liquid to thicken. Allow everything to cool and slowly add a few drops of lemon juice. Continue tasting and add more lemon juice if the syrup needs a little added tartness. Pour mixture into the jar and screw the lid on tightly. Enjoy putting this homemade grenadine in many alcohol beverages. Maraschino cherries are often paired with grenadine in drinks. Use our maraschino cherry recipe in the next section to impress your customers. 4. How to Make Maraschino Cherries Top off your signature cocktails with homemade maraschino cherries! Maraschino cherries and grenadine are the perfect pair needed in many alcoholic beverages. Maraschino cherries may not be something you would first think of making on your own, but they are easy to make. We have the perfect recipe for you to make your restaurant's own maraschino cherries, which are perfect to use as a garnish on drinks like a Tequila Sunrise, a Shirley Temple, and a Cherry Smash. How to Make Maraschino Cherries Video Use the following video to learn how to prepare maraschino cherries for your bar or ice cream shop: <iframe itemprop="embedURL" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tHwFpVimAV0?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Maraschino Cherry Recipe Prepare fresh maraschino cherries for your bar with the following recipe. Ingredients and Materials: Large stock pot Spoon for stirring Large container with lid Strainer 6 lb. of sweet cherries (pitted) 4 quarts of water 2 tablespoons of pickling salt Large saucepan 9 lb. of sugar 6 cups of water Juice from 2 lemons 2 ounces of almond extract Red food coloring (optional) Cinnamon stick (optional) Mason jars for storage Preparation: Bring 4 quarts of water and pickling salt to a boil. Stir water until salt completely dissolves. Remove from stove and allow to cool (about 30 minutes). Place cherries in a large container and pour the salt water mixture over the cherries. Cover with lid and let sit for 12 hours. Next, strain cherries and rinse with cold water to wash off any leftover brine. Put cherries back in their large container. Combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and food coloring (if using) in large saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour over cherries, add the cinnamon stick (if you would like), seal container, and let them soak for 24 hours. Drain cherries, but save the juice and put it back in your saucepan. Bring the juice in the pan to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in the almond extract. Ration cherries out into their jars, pour in juice (optional for added flavor), label, date, and store in the fridge. These maraschino cherries will keep for up to 6 weeks when stored in the fridge. If you would prefer to preserve the cherries in jars by canning them, you can sterilize your jars before filling and seal them using a water bath. Now that you have made four key ingredients to use behind your bar, try incorporating them into your menu to keep up with the latest bar trends! Your customers will be sure to love the homemade bitters, simple syrup, grenadine, and maraschino cherries that you offer. Making your own bar ingredients will not only make your customers happier, but it is also a great way to cut costs for your establishment. Enjoy many different drinks made with these DIY cocktail ingredients!