The Paradise Theatre – An Elemental Mixology Alumni-run ‘Speakeasy’

I sometimes wonder what sort of trouble my students get into after completing my courses…

Paradise TheatreSingapore Fix

Just this evening, I received an e-mail from one of them, who with his friend (also an Elemental Mixology alumnus) are currently operating a real ‘speakeasy’ in Los Angeles.

I was flattered by the message, the subject line of which read “You created a monster!”  Some of the lines from the message were:

“As it turns out, we were so inspired by the class, and so excited about making drinks, that we decided to try our hand at converting our house in Silver Lake into an illegitimate speakeasy once a week.”


“Flash forward a few months, and I’m proud to report that our little project has become quite a hit.  It’s called the Paradise Theatre…”


“Folks come because they like the Styx theming, and because they love the drinks – something we owe very much to you!  We’ve gotten especially busy in the past few weeks, and it’s just been amazing.  It’s even become a bit of a regular hangout for a good deal of local bartenders after hours, who have even said they can’t get drinks like we serve anywhere else.  Our menu and method of making the drinks is largely inspired by your course, and we really couldn’t have done anything without you.”

But, enough about me!  If you are in Los Angeles, you still have a few weeks to check out the Paradise Theatre.

Here is their Instagram page:

Here is an article written about them:

Hand-crafted Cocktails

Paul Fussell, in his book, Class – A Guide Through the American Status System, noted that aristocrats and others in the hereditary-upper-classes will say, “Let’s have a drink and talk about it” where those of the middle-class cannot resist saying, “Let’s discuss it over cocktails.”  It has been noticed by many that the status-security of someone from the aristocratic-class or hereditary-upper-class tends to result in their speaking simply and directly, while someone from the middle-class or high-proletarian-class (that is, the working class with money) tends to fear being revealed as inferior and therefore often over-dresses their speech.

Fussell humorously states that airline menus “constitute a veritable exhibition palace of the fake elegant” – but noticed that one such menu card he encountered did “forget itself and slip once, calling beverages ‘drinks’ in a thoroughly upper-class way.”

Also in Paul Fussell’s book one reads, “If a woman does a lot of knitting for family and friends, chances are she’s upper-middle-class.  But if when she finishes a sweater she sews in a little label reading ‘Handmade by Gertrude Willis’ she’s middle-class.  If the label reads ‘Hand-crafted by Gertrude Willis’ she’s high-prole.”

Are you ready?  Here it comes:

Hand-crafted Cocktails

No, this does not mean to contrast the bar that uses the above phrase with other bars where the drinks are made by robots, or by bartenders using their feet.

I know that bars feel they must compete for the dollars of the high-proletarian-class.  Some surely consider dumbed-down marketing appeals such as “hand-crafted cocktails” a necessary evil.  Yet, I am humored at the ever-present spectacle of the ‘fake elegant’ when it comes to promoting anything alcoholic.  It’s time for me to go have a drink and a chuckle.

Traditional Units of Measure Pertaining to Mixology

These units of measure are listed from smallest to largest.  Bartending books often list units of measure larger than the largest unit given here and omit the smaller units.  While it is fun to think of Jeroboams of Champagne, I feel that mixology can make more use of the scruple than the Jeroboam.  For that reason, my list includes the small units and stops with the gallon.

Note: I understand that many modern sources define the jigger as being the amount of 1-½ fl-oz.  But, I prefer the original amount as defined by all sources before prohibition as being 2 fl-oz.  For historic references on this, see this post.

Traditional Unit (U.S.A.) Type of Measure & Metric Equivalent Other Equivalents & Notes
Smidgeon (smdg.) volume 0.15625 ml. ½ pinch, ¼ dsh. or ⅛ scsp.
Pinch volume 0.3125 ml. 2 smdg., ½ dsh. or ⅛ bsp.
Dash (dsh.) volume 0.625 ml. 2 pinches, ½ scsp., ¼ bsp. or ⅛ tsp.
Scruple (scr.) weight 1.16667 grams 1/24 oz.
Scruple-spoon (scsp.) volume 1.25 ml. 2 dsh., ½ bsp., ¼ tsp. 1/12 tbsp. or 1/24 fl-oz.
Bar-spoon (bsp.) volume 2.5 ml. 2 scsp. or ½ tsp.
Dram weight 3.5 grams 3 scr. or ⅛ oz.
Fluid-dram volume 3.75 ml. 3 scsp., ¾ tsp., ¼ tbsp. or ⅛ fl-oz.
Tea-spoon (tsp.) volume 5 ml. 2 bsp., ½ dsp., ⅓ tbsp. or ⅙ fl-oz.
Dessert-spoon (dsp.) volume 10 ml. 2 tsp. or ⅓ fl-oz.
Table-spoon (tbsp.) volume 15 ml. 3 tsp., ½ fl-oz. or ½ pony
Ounce (oz.)* weight 28 grams 1/16 pound
Pony/fluid-ounce (fl-oz.) volume 30 ml. 2 tbsp., ½ jigger or ¼ gill
Shot volume 45 ml. 1-½ fl-oz. or ¾ jigger
Jigger/Wine-glass volume 60 ml. 2 fl-oz. or ½ gill
Hooker volume 75 ml. 2-½ fl-oz. or 1-¼ jiggers
Snit volume 90 ml. 3 fl-oz., 1-½ jiggers or ¾ gill
Gill volume 120 ml. 4 fl-oz., 2 jiggers or ½ cup
Split/Tea-cup volume 180 ml. 6 fl-oz. or 3 jiggers
Cup volume 240 ml. 8 fl-oz., 4 jiggers or 2 gills
Pint volume 480 ml. 16 fl-oz., 4 gills or 2 cups
Fifth volume 750 ml. 25 fl-oz.
Traditional Fifth volume 768 ml. 25-⅗ fl-oz. or 1/5 gal.
Quart (qt.) volume 960 ml. 32 fl-oz., 4 cups or 2 pints
Pottle volume 1920 ml. 64 fl-oz., 2 qt. or ½ gal.
Gallon (gal.) volume 3840 ml. 128 fl-oz., 4 qt. or 2 pottles

*When bartenders say, “ounce,” they mean, “fluid-ounce.”

For how the cup, the gill and the jigger are used as basic portions in traditional, American mixology, see this post.

Kitchen Math in the Bar: Fair Drink Pricing

(Scroll to nearly the bottom of this post to see some actual costing-and-pricing sheets)

Do you know how your bar reckons its prices?  Over the years, I have learned that many bars do not use, or even understand, kitchen math.  This is true even of many bars within restaurants, where one must assume that at least the chef de cuisine uses kitchen math.  Often, one finds the management of the bar simply winging it by getting a sense of what drinks cost at other, similar bars and perhaps only modifying that by what they believe their own customers will pay.  The result is often that drinks are overpriced beyond any justification based on costs and overhead.  As long as the owners are happy, this amateurish and costly (to the customer) state of affairs will probably continue.

Any respectable culinary school will teach its students kitchen math, and that’s where I learned it.  Kitchen math is what allows for the calculation of menu prices within a flourishing business.  The ideal percentage of the money paid by the customers that is required to purchase the ingredients for what they have been served is called the menu cost percentage.

The menu cost percentage can be arrived at by first establishing the desired profit percentage – the percentage of all money (not including taxes and tips) taken from the customers that is desired by the owners as profit.  Let’s hope that they don’t have a proclivity for the use of South American nose powder.  Secondly, the overhead cost percentage must be calculated – the percentage of all money (not including taxes and tips) taken from the customers that must be spent on the property lease-or-mortgage, property maintenance, labor, utilities, maintenance-and-replacement of equipment, cleaning supplies, office supplies, insurance, petty cash, etc.  The percentage left over is the targeted menu cost percentage.

Since a restaurant or bar cannot, in good faith, charge a customer for the accidentally over-cooked steak, the bottle of liquor that the bar-back dropped and broke, the items sent back by other customers, or the drinks served free-of-charge to the bartender’s friends that were not accounted for, the menu cost percentage for any amount of intake can vary from day to day.  That is why the menu cost percentage is set as a goal, and why all well-managed establishments require that all ingredients be accounted for – even if they are wasted or end up being served free-of-charge.  It is important to keep track of ingredient costs and to calculate the actual menu cost percentage routinely.

As an example of the above, let us say that in a given day, an establishment took in $1,314.57 (not counting taxes or tips).  Let us say that on that same day, the establishment used $260.81 worth of ingredients (including loss, wastage and ingredients that went into menu items not charged for).  Dividing 260.81 by 1,314.57 gives us 0.1984.  That means that on the day in question, the establishment ran an effective menu cost percentage of 20% – even though its targeted menu cost percentage was probably something like 18%.

Considering that the hospitality industry generally does not pay very much for labor, it is my opinion that a menu cost percentage of lower than 16% is the result of sheer greed on the part of the owners, or the manager simply winging it at the expense of the customers.  If the cost of the lease or mortgage is foolishly exorbitant, a lower menu cost percentage may be understandable – but that’s why it’s foolish to buy drinks in places where the cost of the local image is foolishly exorbitant.

On the other extreme, a business with an actual operating menu cost percentage of much higher than 20% can eventually end up in financial distress.

Once the targeted menu cost percentage is set, calculating menu prices can be done.  In kitchen math the word ‘cost’ is reserved for what the establishment pays, while the word ‘price’ is reserved for what the customer is to be charged.  It is very simple.  If the targeted menu cost percentage is a healthy-but-not-greedy 18%, it means that the total for the cost of all the ingredients in a menu item should be divided by 0.18.  The result will be the minimum menu price for that item.  The actual menu price can then be rounded up to the next whole quarter-dollar for currency-unit uniformity.

In the interest of discretion, I have used current retail costs for all of the items below.  This has made the drinks more expensive in these examples that they need be in a place of business.  It means that the liquor costs include sales tax as applied in Los Angeles.  The lemon cost is for relatively-small, organic, tree-ripened and un-waxed Eureka lemons from the farmers’ market that tend to yield 1 fl-oz. of juice each.  The superfine baker’s sugar cost is as from Surfas in Culver City.  The egg white cost is for a carton of organic and homogenized egg whites from Trader Joe’s (and more expensive than egg whites manually separated by a bartender from fresh, whole eggs).  The method ice used in making the drinks is from water, which is already covered as a utility in the overhead costs.  The garniture of a marasca cherry is per the cost found at Beverage Warehouse in Culver City.

Using the industry-standard 18% for menu cost percentage, here is what costing-and-pricing sheets for the Bourbon Whiskey Sour made with either of two different Bourbon whiskies might look like:

Again, it is important to stress that retail costs have been used here instead of the wholesale costs paid by restaurants and bars.  If the sheets above were for an actual restaurant or bar (where the owners were not too greedy), the menu prices for these drinks, made with the same quality of ingredients, should be even lower.

How do you feel about your bar’s drink prices?

At any rate, I hope this post will help in the understanding of what goes into the rational setting of menu prices.  I also hope that it may be of some assistance to those of my students and associates who own bars or now work in positions that might require kitchen math.

Now, make yourself a drink, and start noodling.

Stirring versus Shaking

Stirring and shaking of the same ingredients will yield different results.  A shaken drink will be much more aerated than a stirred drink.  Some have said that the decision whether to stir or shake should be made based on the presence of certain ingredients, such as citrus juice.  This approach seems to be based on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to amounts for citrus juice exhibited by the modern ‘call-‘em-all-cocktails’ crowd.  It ignores the different desired results for the different genres of drinks, which should be informative as to when and and why citrus juice should be used only as an accent.  The only type of ingredient that demands shaking, regardless of the genre of drink being made, is the thick element.

Virtually all slings (including true cocktails, of course) that are not simply built or churned should be stirred.  This allows the alcoholic base of the sling to be the standout star of the drink, as is desirable and essential to that type of drink.  Stirring will harmonize the other ingredients with the strong element, without subverting its nature.  The only exception to this rule for the sling genre is when the drink is to be thickened, such as in the case of the Alamagoozlum Cocktail.  When a sling is shaken, the result is that too much of the character of the alcoholic base is lost to ‘bruising’ (the violence and aeration done to it while shaking).  To demonstrate the real effect of bruising, make two original Martini Cocktails (1 fl-oz. tom gin + 1 fl-oz. sweet vermouth + 2 dsh. orange additive bitters), but shake one of them instead.  Taste for the resulting loss of appeal found in the shaken one, and you will know what bruising really means.  Alternatively, this same test may be done with the original Bronx Cocktail from 1908 (2/3 fl-oz. Plymouth gin + 2/3 fl-oz. sweet vermouth + 2/3 fl-oz. dry vermouth + 2 dsh. orange additive bitters + 1 barspoon orange juice), one properly stirred and the other shaken.  Then you will discover directly through your palate why it is not always correct to shake a drink just because there is citrus juice in it.

Virtually all possets that are served cold should be shaken.  That is because, by their nature, possets are led by the thick element.  The thick element usually needs shaking to aerate and emulsify it, and to incorporate the other ingredients into its thickness.

Virtually all punches that are not batched or swizzled should be shaken.  In the case of punches, the ingredients should be balanced in the finished drink.  Since the alcoholic base is not the standout star in any punch, shaking and aerating is desirable to create a harmonious balance of the ingredients.

Virtually all succulents that are served ‘up’ (the blossoms, mainly) are to be shaken.  With such significant amounts of succulent juice, there is simply no way to make the alcoholic base in a succulent the standout star of the drink.

Old-fashioned Sherbet and Traditional, Five-element Punch


by Andrew “the Alchemist”

Sherbet is now mainly thought of in its frozen version, but unfrozen old-fashioned sherbet was once commonly used to make superior punches.  Contrary to what has been recently suggested, making sherbet the old-fashioned way by rubbing lump sugar against lemons is perfectly possible.  It is also culinarily preferable to muddling strips of lemon peel into granulated sugar – which fails to obtain deeply yellow sherbet sugar, and invariably adds bitterness from the white pith.  La Perruche™ and Comptoir du Sud™ are recommended brands of old-fashioned lump sugar that is solid enough for old-fashioned lemon-rubbing.

The first stage of making old-fashioned sherbet yields sherbet sugar, or oleo-saccharum.  Sherbet sugar contains the aromatic and sweet elements.

The second stage of making old-fashioned sherbet yields rump sherbet.  Rump sherbet contains the aromatic, sour and sweet elements.

The third stage yields fully-fledged, old-fashioned sherbet.  Old-fashioned sherbet contains the aromatic, sour, sweet and weak elements.

To make a traditional, five-element punch from old-fashioned sherbet, the strong element is added to it.

Following the instructions below will produce old-fashioned sherbet, the amount of which will be appropriate for making a traditional, five-element punch that will yield 12 servings of 6 fluid-ounces {180 milliliters} each, in the proportions of 2:1:4:3.  That is two parts of sour, one part of sweet, four parts of strong, and three parts of weak.  These proportions allow nicely for the additional amount of the weak element that will be incidentally added in the form of ice-meltage that will occur as the punch sits.  When the punch is served, each 6 fluid-ounce {180 milliliter} serving will contain almost exactly the traditional jigger {2 fluid-ounces | 60 milliliters} of liquor.

To make sherbet sugar in an appropriate quantity from which to eventually make a 12-serving batch of punch:

–          begin with room-temperature lemons

–          find the average juice yield per type and size of the lemons on hand

–          the average yield is usually between 1 fluid-ounce {30 milliliters} and 1-1/2 fluid-ounces {45 milliliters}

–          select enough of the lemons to yield 1-1/2 cups {12 fluid-ounces | 360 milliliters} of juice, with a little extra for good measure

–          soak the lemons in pure water that is not too cold for 15 minutes

–          use paper towels to dab the lemons dry, without rubbing or using much force

–          thoroughly wash, rinse and dry hands

–          rub old-fashioned lump sugar forcefully against the exterior {zest} of the lemons

–          do this over a large, glass measuring cup with a capacity of 2 cups or more

–          when the rubbed side of the sugar lump appears deeply yellow, turn it and continue to rub

–          rotate each lemon as needed to obtain the essential oil from the entire zest

–          as each lump of sugar becomes fully saturated, drop it into the measuring cup

–          as each lemon is rubbed of all of its available essential zest oil, reserve it and take up another intact lemon

–          stop when the amount of saturated sugar lumps reaches a generous 3/4 cup {6 fluid-ounces | 180 milliliters}

–          when taking the above measurement, don’t mind the dead space between lumps

–          the stopping point for rubbing sugar should roughly coincide with all the selected lemons having been rubbed

–          use a muddler to crush the saturated sugar lumps

–          add granulated sugar to bring the total sugar amount to 3/4 cup {6 fluid-ounces | 180 milliliters} and reserve

–          press the juice from the rubbed lemons until 1-1/2 cups {12 fluid-ounces | 360 milliliters} juice is obtained and reserve it

–          while pressing the juice, collect and reserve the pips {seeds} from the pressing tool, and the pressed lemon hulls

–          reserve the pressed juice

–          place the collected pips and reserved sugar preparation together in a mixing bowl

–          use the muddler to abrase the pips with the sugar, breaking the mucilage and allowing its flavor into the sugar

–          it is not desirable to break or crush the pips any more than occurs incidentally

At this point, the preparation becomes sherbet sugar, or oleo-saccharum.  If not going on, the pips should be carefully picked out.  If going on to make rump sherbet, it is not necessary to pick out the pips, as they will be strained out.

To continue and make rump sherbet in an appropriate quantity from which to eventually make a 12-serving batch of punch:

–          begin with the above preparation of sherbet sugar {the pips need not have been picked out}

–          add the 1-1/2 cups {12 fluid-ounces | 360 milliliters} of lemon juice that was reserved from above

–          used the muddler to continue crushing any lump sugar that may be left, and to free any impacted sherbet sugar from it

–          stir very well, until all of the sherbet sugar is dissolved into the lemon juice

–          pour through a fine strainer into another mixing bowl

–          If any appreciable amount of un-dissolved sugar is seen while pouring, stop pouring and stir more, before resuming straining

At this point, the preparation becomes rump sherbet.  The yield at this point should be almost exactly 2 cups.

If used within 24 hours, rump sherbet is excellent from which to make such variants of punch as swizzles, fixes, sours, fizzes and Collinses with – as long as not too much of the jigger is taken up by liqueur.  That would probably make the drink too sweet.  For making any of these individual punches, combine 1-1/3 fluid-ounces {40 milliliters} of the above preparation of rump sherbet to the traditional jigger {2 fluid-ounces | 60 milliliters} of total liquor.  This amount of rump sherbet contains almost exactly 1 fluid-ounce {30 milliliters} of lemon juice and 1 level-tablespoon {15 milliliters} of sugar.  This results in an individual drink with the proportions of 2 parts of sour, 1 part of sweet, and 4 parts of strong {and incidental method-related dilution} – which is traditional, and a good starting point – though it may be slightly too-sour for some tastes.

It can be noted here that proportions should always be considered with dry sugar amounts for familiarity with the amount of sweetness involved.  This is why I advocate the use of 1:1 sugar syrup when sugar syrup is to be used.  Made with equal parts (by volume) of sugar and water, converting from any amount of dry sugar can be easily accomplished by multiplying the dry sugar amount 1-1/2 times.  For example, 3/4 fluid-ounce {22.5 milliliters} of 1:1 sugar syrup contains almost exactly 1 level tablespoon {15 milliliters} of sugar {because 15 x 1.5 = 22.5}.

To continue and make old-fashioned sherbet in an appropriate quantity from which to eventually make a 12-serving batch of punch in the 2:1:4:3 proportions:

–          begin with the above preparation of rump sherbet

–          add 2-1/4 cups {18 fluid-ounces | 540 milliliters} of pure water

–          stir until evenly mixed

At this point, the preparation becomes old-fashioned sherbet.

To continue and make a 12-serving batch of punch in the 2:1:4:3 proportions:

–          begin with the above preparation of old-fashioned sherbet

–          pour the old-fashioned sherbet into an 8 quart punch bowl

–          add 3 cups {24 fluid-ounces | 720 milliliters} of liquor(s) {example: one 750 milliliter bottle minus 1 fluid-ounce – or just pour in the whole bottle}

–          stir until evenly mixed

–          taste the punch

–          if desired, add sweetness by stirring in more granulated sugar {if part of the 3 cups of liquor contains liqueur, this should not be necessary}

–          if desired, add more aromatic elements {examples: additive bitters, or spices tied into a cheesecloth bundle or placed into a commercially-available spice bag}

–          stir, cover and reserve for at least 2 hours to let the flavors marry

–          if a spice bundle or bag was added, remove it now

–          add as much of the largest-sized ice as will fit

–          garnish with garniture of choice {examples: citrus wheels or seasonal berries}

–          place the punch in an inviting location, with a ladle

–          in a nearby place, arrange clean punch cups of a size that will easily hold a 6 fluid-ounce portion of the punch


P.S.  Making sherbet sugar, rump sherbet and fully-fledged old-fashioned sherbet is an important part of the Elemental Mixology Fabrication Course {EMFC} that I teach in the Los Angeles area.  Check it out at for course dates when you can be taught in a hands-on manner to make your own old-fashioned sherbet by a mixologist with a formal culinary background {me!}.

– Andrew

Basic Portions – the Cup, the Gill, the Jigger

In traditional, pre-prohibition, American bartending, any mixed drink should be made from the same amount of alcoholic product that would be served if un-mixed.

The traditional portion of beer is the cup, or 8 fl-oz.  This would seem too small a portion to many modern customers.

The traditional portion of wine is the gill, or 4 fl-oz, which would also seem small to many modern customers.

The majority of mixed drinks, however, are based on liquor, for which the traditional portion is the jigger, or 2 fl-oz.  The device used to measure this amount, or parts thereof, is also called a jigger.  Previously, this amount was also called the wine-glass.  The following quotations indicate the traditional or pre-prohibition meanings of the terms wine-glass and jigger.

The Oxford English Dictionary – 1928:

“Wineglassful. – The contents of a full wine-glass; the amount that a wine-glass will hold, usually reckoned as 2 fluid ounces.”

George Kappeler – Modern American Drinks – 1895:

“A jigger is a measure used for measuring liquors when mixing drinks; it holds two ounces.  A pony holds half a jigger.”

Cuyler Reynolds – The Banquet Book – 1902:

“Jigger. – The contents are equivalent to 2 ounces”

“Wineglass. – The contents are equivalent to 2 ounces”

C.W. Williamson – The History of Western Ohio and Auglaize County – 1905:

“The quantity varied from a jigger (two ounces) to sixteen jiggers per day, and the contractor who offered the greatest number of jiggers per day was able to secure the largest number of hands.”

[This excerpt is from the portion of the book covering the construction of the Erie Canal.  The parenthetic explanation above is in the original text.  Whiskey is what was offered to the workers in the number of jiggers mentioned.]

The American fl-oz. is functionally equal to 30 ml.  Thus the traditional American jigger is functionally equal to 60 ml.

When making a single-portion mixed drink with multiple liquors according to pre-prohibition practice, their total volume should still be 2 fl-oz.. This allows for advantageous selection of service vessels.  For example, the Rye Cocktail, being a jigger of rye whiskey, a teaspoon of fine sugar, a scruple (two dashes) of bitters and just over a pony of water (from stirring with method ice), will fill the traditional 4-½ fl-oz. capacity glass cocktail goblet nicely.  The Manhattan Cocktail (essentially a fancy Rye Cocktail sweetened with vermouth wine instead of sugar) would have been served in the same cocktail goblet in the classic period of the American bar, and thus was always made with the whiskey and the vermouth together totaling 2 fl-oz.  Other than that, the old sense of the jigger as the basic, total amount of liquor allowed bartenders to develop real familiarity and control over proportions of alcoholic-to-non-alcoholic ingredients within each genre of drinks.  This has been sadly lost to the memorizing-of-recipes approach.  Always working with the jigger as the basic amount allows one to stop wasting mental power in memorizing and to start thinking about everything else going on in a drink.

Sometime during or after prohibition, the art of proportioning multiple liquors within the 2 fl-oz. jigger was largely-abandoned and mostly-lost due to various causes, not least among them calling all drinks cocktails and forcing them into cocktail goblets.  I think that the jigger as an amount should be restored.  Unless sheer inebriation or the maintenance of alcoholism is the goal, one jigger of liquor will contain plenty of alcohol for one mixed drink.  This traditional amount also presents enough volume for mixing liquors in just about any desired proportion.

In a ‘one-to-one’ drink, 1 fl-oz. (30 ml.) of plain liquor(s) will be modified with 1 fl-oz. (30 ml.) of fancy liquor(s).

In a ‘two-to-one’ drink, 1-⅓ fl-oz. (40 ml.) of plain liquor(s) will be modified with ⅔ fl-oz. (20 ml.) of fancy liquor(s).

In a ‘three-to-one’ drink, 1-½ fl-oz. (45 ml.) of plain liquor(s) will be modified with ½ fl-oz. (15 ml.) of fancy liquor(s).

In a ‘five-to-one’ drink, 1-⅔ fl-oz. (50 ml.) of plain liquor(s) will be modified with ⅓ fl-oz. (10 ml.) of fancy liquor(s).

In a ‘seven-to-one’ drink, 1-¾ fl-oz. (52.5 ml.) of plain liquor(s) will be modified with ¼ fl-oz. (7.5 ml.) of fancy liquor(s).

When making a drink with equal parts of three liquors, ⅔ fl-oz. (20 ml.) of each is appropriate.

Many other variations are possible and often desirable.  Some drinks are made of 1 fl-oz. (30 ml.) of the base liquor modified by ½ fl-oz. (15 ml.) each of two modifying liquors.  Other drinks are made of ½ fl-oz. (15 ml.) each of four liquors.

When adjusting proportions between spirits and sweeter liquors (such as liqueurs, fortified wines or aromatized wines) within in the traditional jigger, one must be aware that the sweetness of the finished drink can be greatly affected.  Many ‘one-to-one’ or ‘two-to-one’ drinks are not additionally sweetened with sugar or syrup, while some ‘seven-to-one’ drinks are.

When a liquor is added to a drink in any amount of less than ¼ fl-oz., its function is usually more as accent than modifier, and need not be measured as part of the 2 fl-oz. jigger.

For a look at the ‘jiggers’ used in my courses that allow for any traditional and desirable split of the traditional American jigger, click on the following link:

For as chart of traditional units of measure (of volume, mostly) that goes far beyond the jigger, click on the following link: