Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Is a Shot?

The term "shot" in bartending is widely bandied around, but occasionally with misunderstandings as to what it entails. For example, when a gruff cowboy walks into the bar (often with dramatic background music) and demands that the barkeep pour him a shot, he gets a full juice-sized glass of ethanol! Having formerly worked as a bartender, I would like to introduce you to some of the lore.

First, let's consider the "jigger." In the USA, the standard jigger is 1.5 oz.

The small jigger, sometimes called the "pony," is 1.0 oz. A typical jigger set may include two cups: one being the standard jigger and the other being the pony jigger. There is, however, some barware with 2 oz./1 oz. cups.

Some places may use a 3/4 ounce jigger, righteously referred to as a "gyp jigger." These are usually used to short the customer in terms of the whiskey included in the drink and thus to obtain more pours per bottle. Unfortunately, Dante overlooked possible afterlife accomodations for these heathens!

Therefore, a "shot" of alcohol is an indefinite quantity, and may be alternatively 1.5, 1.0, or some other quantity, depending on the context. This can sometimes result in Clintonian linguistic wrestling, except in Utah, where the shot is defined specifically as 1.5 oz. (a jigger).

Bartenders' guides usually give directions for making mixed drinks in ounces. If the directions use the words jigger or pony instead, then change the proportions accordingly. I recommend that when tending you should always follow the preferences of the customer, who is always right and should be pleased. After all, the ultimate goal of mixing is the drinker's pleasure. If the individual is not specific, then the best course is to use the bartender guide as a default.

Then, there is the so-called "double shot." According to sources that I have encountered, a double shot is equivalent to 2.5 oz. alcohol. Yeah, I know. It's a little more than two ponies, but not quite two jiggers. Consider that fact as you enjoy the oldie song, "Double Shot of My Baby's Love."

A virtuous Catholic girl will always confine any shot that she provides to the 3/4 or 1 oz. sizes.

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