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Measuring up to the Pro’s

March 19, 2009

Colleen Jean-Graham at did a post on her blog called 5 Steps to Better Cocktails.  One of these steps I wanted to add my two cents worth of advice.


Measure everything!!!


Why do my cocktails at my bar taste better than drinks made at home?  Because everything I pour is measured.  Fun little story here….


The first bar I tended, one of the requirements was to accurately pour several different measurements blindfolded.  Seriously!!  I had to do this before any other training was done.  That is how serious my first bar mentor took pouring.  I spent hours of time with a liquor bottle filled with water, and all different sizes of jiggers until I could do this.  Once done, I was allowed to step behind the wood.


While it is necessary for the professional bartender to be able to free pour like this.  It is not for the home mixer.  All you need are the right tools.


imagesPour spouts are the little chrome (or sometimes plastic) things that you see in the bottles of bars.  These are great for accuracy and control.  They are available in any good kitchen or bar supply store. The plastic ones are cheaper, but I prefer the metal myself.  These are very handy little gadgets.  But if you are on a budget (they can be expensive) skip them and get yourself a good measuring cup.


images1Oxo makes one designed for small amounts of ingredients ranging from 1 tablespoon to 2 ounces all in the same rig.  This has become my favorite to use.  No more juggling 3 or more jiggers and a set of measuring spoons.


Did you catch that??  Yes, I will admit it that I even, as a pro bartender still use a measuring cup on accoasion.  Some of my bottles don’t have Pour spouts on them so this allows me to measure them easily. All drinks rely on the proper balance of flavor, and I want to deliver the best quality cocktail I can. 


I hope this gives you a little help the next time you go to mix a drink at home.  But don’t let it take the place of coming by my bar when you are ready for your libation!!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. savannah permalink
    April 29, 2010 11:14 am

    i am just a cocktail server at a casino but am very interested in bartending. However, because the bartenders where i work are so experienced throwing bottles and doing fancy tricks i am afraid to ask them for basic info b/c they will probably laugh and say “are you kidding.” My biggest and probably the most basic questions are: how do you measure things by pouring them free handed? Isn’t there some kind of count or something? How do you know what liquors can substute others?? I know i am a long way of bartending with questions like these, but hey you have to start somewhere! Thanks

  2. April 30, 2010 8:01 am

    Hell Savannah

    You are exactly right. You Do have to start somewhere, and the bartenders you work with had to start somewhere too, so remeber that when you go to ask them on how to get started. Also keep in mind that “flair bartending” is a specialized skill that works in conjunction with mixing drinks. This is something to worry about down the road. Now in regards to free pouring, you are correct again (see youre off to a good start). Typically a 1 1/2 oz pour is done to a 4-count, and the only way to get this is practice, practice, practice. An empty liquor bottle and pour-spout and a shot glass are the tools. You have to learn the pour and thr rhythm together. Finally, spirits knowledge comes from studying, learning, talking and researching. Just like with any other profession, a good bartender knows the products he or she is using. YOu are lucky to live in a town with a tremdous amount of bar talent. Get to know the bartenders in places that you would like to train. Ask them for a little tutorial. You will probably be best looking for a bar-back position first which is a GREAT way to learn the in-and-outs of the bar.

    I hope this helps, and please dont hesitate to hit me up again. Thanks for reading!!


  3. Rexx Hunter permalink
    November 17, 2012 1:21 pm

    Interesting response…however, in my training…a (1/4) oz. is considered, to be, a (1) count pour.

    So, the 1 1/2 oz. pour count, you suggest, is incorrect!

    The correct pour count for a 1 1/2 oz.should be a (6) count and NOT a (4) count pour…which would only be (1) oz.!

  4. December 1, 2012 3:57 pm

    Typically I don’;t teach counts per se and let my bartenders create their own rhythm as long as it is accurate to the pour


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