We are often asked how many ounces are in a shot glass. A shot seems like it should be the simplest drink order imaginable. A shot should entail only pouring and serving. However, there may be significant variation in the shots you receive from bar to bar and from country to country. Not all shot glasses contain the same volume, and not all bartenders give you the same pour. When sampling top-shelf spirits, it is important to consider not only the price of the shot but the volume of the serving. So the question, how many ounces in a shot glass, becomes very important to moderate your spending and your drinking. Read on for an overview of how many oz in a shot.
How Many Ounces in a Shot Glass?
Shot glasses are everywhere, and they come in every size and shape. You can get memento shot glasses at the airport emblazoned with famous tourist attractions and the name of well-known cities. It can be very difficult to judge how many ozs in a shot because many glasses create a visual illusion of greater volume. Many shot glasses have the volume printed on the bottom or side, but sometimes you have no alternative but to measure.
A typical serving of a shot in a bar in the United States is about 1.5 ounces. Some bartenders use a cylindrical device called a jigger to measure the shot. The jigger is a metal measuring tool, although they are also available in plastic. The jigger looks like two shot glasses of varying sizes joined together at the bases. The larger side of the jigger is generally twice the volume of the smaller side. Bartenders will use the jigger to ensure a consistent pour and then transfer the pour from the jigger into the serving glass.
Variance can come into your shot serving in several ways:
- National standards
- Variations in shot glasses
- Long or short pours
Before you travel abroad, it's worth looking up what you can expect to get for a shot in different nations. In places like Japan, a shot can be as much as 2 ounces, and in places like Denmark or Germany, you're looking at two-thirds of an ounce. Bars can set their own serving size, so it's prudent to always ask how many oz in a shot whenever you patronize a new establishment.
Variations in Shot Glasses
It is very difficult to estimate the volume of a shot glass just by looking at it. Thick glass can create an illusion of greater volume in what is a small pour. Conical shot glasses are especially deceiving as their wide top funnels down to a small point which contains very little volume. If you're drinking at a private residence, shot glasses can hold 2 ounces of liquid or even more.
Long or Short Pours
Some shot glasses have a pour line that indicates a full shot. The pour line ensures that you will receive a complete shot without any waste due to spillage as the server passes you the glass. However, if you get on the bartender's good side, he or she might begin topping the glass for you, which increases the volume. A short pour can happen if the bartender gets rushed and has to make a quick transfer from the jigger to the serving glass.
Not All Shots are the Same
Most bars offer consistent shot volumes. However, it is difficult to estimate visually how many ounces in a shot glass. It is even difficult to get an estimate on a jigger since conical-shaped jiggers can look like they contain more volume than they really do. Most bars within a nation conform to the standard shot size of that nation. In the United States, a standard shot is about 1.5 ounces. It always pays to be nice to the bartender, so they don't short the pour. They might even slip you a little extra if you're lucky.
Pouring Shots At Home
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There is a good chance you will need to pour a shot of alcohol at home. Measuring out the right amount of alcohol can make the difference between a nicely balanced cocktail and one that sets your mouth on fire. Having the right bar tools can make all the difference. You can try using that shot glass you picked up on your trip to Cabo. But how many ounces are in that shot glass?
Your best bet is to purchase a double jigger with standardized measurements in it. This will make measuring shots a breeze. The consistent measure, along with some top-shelf bourbon or tequila will mean improved cocktails!