How do you measure a shot of gin?

When making or serving a cocktail that calls for a “shot” of gin, it’s important to accurately measure out the correct amount. A standard shot is generally considered 1.5 ounces or 44 ml. However, this can vary depending on the specific recipe, your measuring tools, and personal preference. Keep reading for a deeper look into properly measuring shots of gin.

Defining a Shot

While there is no universal standard, a shot of gin is commonly defined as 1.5 ounces or 44 ml. This is the same as 3 tablespoons and roughly the amount that would fill a standard 1.5 ounce jigger measuring tool. Some recipes may call for a slightly smaller or larger shot to adjust the strength of the drink. But 1.5 ounces is the typical baseline for one shot of gin.

This standard 1.5 ounce gin shot yields about 14 grams of alcohol, or nearly 30% of a standard drink according to dietary guidelines. The actual alcohol percentage of gin can range from 37.5% to 50% ABV depending on the brand and bottling proof. Higher proof gin will contain more alcohol per 1.5 ounce shot.

Using Jiggers and Other Tools

For accurate measuring, it’s best to use a jigger or other bar tool designed specifically for portioning out shots. These usually have clearly marked 1.5 ounce and 1 ounce pours. A jigger takes the guesswork out of free-pouring a shot. Simply fill to the correct measurements lines clearly etched into the metal.

If you don’t have a jigger, you can improvise with common kitchen tools. A standard stainless steel tablespoon, which equates to 1⁄2 ounce of liquid, can be used to portion 3 level tablespoons of gin for a 1.5 ounce shot. For a makeshift 1 ounce jigger, fill a 1⁄4 cup measuring cup to the 2 tablespoon line.

You can also use a liquid shot glass or medicine cup marked with 1.5 ounce and 1 ounce volumes. These tend to be less precise than a jigger, but work in a pinch. Be sure to fill right up to the marked line for an accurate shot. Avoid rounded “full shot” pours which can easily contain 2 ounces or more.

Factors that Affect Shot Size

Several factors can result in slightly more or less gin in a standard shot pour:

  • Jigger precision – Differences in manufacturing and markings can change the actual volume.
  • Ice dilution – Shaking with ice will displace some liquid volume.
  • Foam – Aeration from shaking or stirring adds foam which takes up space.
  • Spills and waste – A heavy hand can lead to overpouring shots.
  • Glass shape – Shots measured in non-standard glasses may skew pour size.

To account for these variables, make sure to use a properly marked metal jigger and pour into the intended glassware when measuring shots. Adjusting technique to minimize foam and waste will also increase consistency. Many bartenders aim slightly below the 1.5 ounce line to allow for dilution from ice and foam.

When Less is More

In some cocktail recipes, a “shot” may call for less than the 1.5 ounce standard. Here are common reasons you may want to scale down the amount of gin:

  • More cocktails use less alcohol per serving.
  • Lower alcohol by volume creates a more balanced drink.
  • Certain ingredients can easily overpower the gin.
  • You want to limit the number of standard drinks.
  • The other ingredients contribute significant volume.

For example, a Negroni splits a 3 ounce pour between gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. This yields a 1 ounce gin shot per serving. Similarly, a Bee’s Knees with 3⁄4 ounce gin may allow the lemon and honey to shine. Adjusting shot sizes gives you flexibility in crafting the target flavor profile.

When More Hits the Spot

Some recipes call for gin shots larger than the standard 1.5 ounce:

  • Stronger drinks use 2+ ounces gin per serving.
  • Only gin and few other ingredients.
  • Serving a double cocktail.
  • Desire a higher alcohol content.
  • Using lower proof gin.

A classic Martini can contain 2 to 3 ounces of gin, especially when served without vermouth. Doubles like a Gin & Tonic may call for 3 ounces or more of gin. Be sure to have measuring tools to accommodate larger shot sizes where appropriate.

Adjusting for Taste and Strength

The beauty of making cocktails at home is that you can adjust shots to meet personal preferences:

  • Taste – More gin amplifies the core spirit flavor, less allows other ingredients to come through.
  • Strength – Scale shots to achieve the desired alcoholic effect.
  • Balance – Change amounts to optimal ratios with other components.
  • Diet – Control calories and standard drinks with smaller shots.

Consider your goals for the cocktail and the flavors involved when making changes. Be precise with measurements using jiggers and other tools. This allows tweaking amounts in small increments to perfect your custom creation.

Visualizing Shot Sizes

To give a sense of how gin shot quantities translate in practice, here is a table with photo examples*:

Shot Amount Photo Visual
1 ounce
1.5 ounces (Standard Shot)
2 ounces
3 ounces

*Photos are approximations for illustrative purposes only.

Tools and Tips for Measuring Shots

Having the right tools and understanding proper technique will ensure accuracy when portioning out gin shots.

  • Invest in a quality stainless steel jigger with clear 1.5 ounce and 1 ounce markings.
  • Always measure in a small glass or mixing cup, not just free pouring into the cocktail.
  • Fill precisely to the marked line, being careful not to over pour.
  • Use a small liquid measuring cup if you don’t have a jigger.
  • Aim slightly below the marked line to account for dilution from ice and foam.
  • Perfect your free pouring skills with practice to become more consistent.

Frequency Asked Questions

What are some common sizes for gin shots?

The most common sizes are 1 ounce, 1.5 ounces (standard), 2 ounces, and 3 ounces. Shots may range from 1/2 ounce up to 3 ounces depending on the specific cocktail recipe.

Should you use a jigger or free pour shots?

For accuracy, it’s best to use a jigger or other measuring tool. However, experienced bartenders can free pour consistently with practice. Use a jigger when getting started until your free pouring is precise.

How much alcohol is in a shot of gin?

A standard 1.5 ounce gin shot contains around 14 grams or 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, assuming an 80 proof gin. Higher proof gins will have more alcohol content per shot.

Can you use teaspoons to measure a shot?

Yes, 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon, so you can use 9 level teaspoons to make 3 tablespoons for a 1.5 ounce gin shot. This isn’t quite as precise as a jigger but works in a pinch.

Should you adjust shot sizes in recipes?

Feel free to tweak shots to achieve your preferred gin flavor profile and drink strength. Just be precise with measurements using proper tools. Make small incremental changes to dial in the perfect ratios.


A standard gin shot clocks in at 1.5 ounces or 44 ml. However, recipes can vary from 1 ounce to 3+ ounces depending on the desired alcoholic strength and flavor balance. Dilution, foam and other factors can also skew the actual shot volume. Using a jigger or other precise measuring tool is key to nailing the perfect shot every time. With practice, you can fine tune shots by taste to craft next level gin cocktails.

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