September 09, 2022 by Helena Lombard
Cocktail-making can sometimes get a little confusing, especially when it comes to measuring out the right amount of liquor to create the perfect drink. And if perfection isn’t what you’re aiming for, what are you even doing? There’s a lot of joy in creating the perfect cocktail, time after time. So, go on, mesmerize your guests with your cocktail pouring excellence. You know you want to.
When a recipe calls for a ‘standard liquor pour’, it simply means measuring one and a half ounces of liquid into your glass. The amount you’re pouring will depend on the cocktail you’re making, as there are various measurements for different drinks. So how can you be sure that the drink you’re making will measure up? With a bit of luck and our handy guidelines, you’ll get that winning shot every time you pour a drink.
What is a pour of liquor?
A pour of liquor is exactly just that. It’s simply the act of pouring a measured amount of liquid into a glass to create a drink. A standard pour of liquor can be done for a shot, a cocktail or an elegant after-dinner drink on the rocks. For most drinks, the average pour comes in at between 1.5 ounces and can be up to 2 ounces if you’re feeling generous (and you like whoever you’re pouring the drink for).
Every recipe and drink will be different. If you’re making a cocktail, the accepted measurement for the base liquor of a cocktail is 1.5 ounces unless the recipe specifies 2 ounces. If you’re serving something on the rocks or neat. a 2-ounce pour is the way to go.
What is a single liquor pour?
So, if a standard liquor pour is 1.5 ounces, what’s a single then? A single pour is one ounce of liquor. Simple! There are some fantastic cocktail recipes that use the single pour, and one of our favorite is the classic Negroni. Equal parts (or one ounce each) of Campari, vermouth and gin come together in an impressive-looking drink that’s easy for a novice to master.
How long is a single pour?
If you happen to have some speed pourers in your bar at home, you can count your way to the perfect single pour. The rule of thumb is to count to two while pouring. When counting, go slowly: One-one thousand, two-one-thousand and then stop.
How to get an accurate pour
Bartenders and cocktail lovers have a few tricks when it comes to pouring the perfect drink. The first and most obvious choice is to use a jigger. It’s the novice cocktail maker’s best friend. As you get more experienced, you might start speed pouring (while showing off your new flaring techniques), but if you’re just starting out, put your trust in the jigger. The standard jigger shot size is 1.5 ounces, which is the standard pour for mixed drinks and loads of cocktails.
Once you’re ready and want to try your hand at more casual (but super impressive) drink-pouring, it’s time to learn the speed pour. To speed-pour a standard pour for mixed drinks (1.5 oz), count to three: One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, and stop. And finally, to pour a double shot (3 oz), count, to four at the same pace as above. Just remember, this method of measuring liquor for cocktails only works if you’ve got a speed pourer! If you don’t, then the jigger is your next best option.
Is it important to control your pour?
Yes! Understanding a standard pour for mixed drinks is important for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll be able to better control and balance the flavor of your drink. One ounce too many can easily ruin the best cocktail recipe. Secondly, you want to be consistent in your drink delivery and make sure they taste the same round after round. What a pro!
Different cocktail pour sizes guide
So many options, so little time! We’re going to keep it short and sweet. The measurement of liquor will change depending on the cocktail you’re creating. For example, a Classic Margarita will have around 2.5 ounces of alcohol, while a Long Island Iced Tea uses nearly 6 ounces. A Vesper Martini uses 4.5 ounces of liquor, while a Dirty Martini uses only 2.5 ounces. Every cocktail will be different, and that’s exactly why recipes exist. Cocktails are a bit like baking in that it’s almost a science. So, stick to those recipe measurements to avoid any flops!
Here’s a rough guide to some of the most popular cocktails.
- Shots: 1.5 ounces
- On the rocks / neat: 2 ounces
- Doubles: 3 ounces
- Martinis: 2 – 3 ounces
- Signatures: Dependent on the recipe