This $5 Tool Helps Me Pour Perfect Cocktails Every Time

You can even use it to make salad dressings and condiments, too.

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May 21, 2020

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I’ve always considered myself more of a wine person. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a well-crafted cocktail, but until recently I’ve left that task in the capable hands of local barkeeps. However, somewhere in the last month or so, cocktail hour has become a daily ritual in my household. I started off by making simple spritzes, but I knew those would get old fast, so I decided to try my hand at mixing more complex cocktails.

One of the elemental tools for any professional bartender is a jigger — a dual-sided measuring device that typically measures 1 1/2 ounces on one size and 3/4 of an ounce on the other side. Those are standard measurements for many cocktail ingredients, but in my search for more complex cocktails, I found myself guestimating measurements not included on my jigger. Plus, my nascent skills left a lot to be desired when it came to seamlessly pouring booze without overfilling the jigger, or trying not to spill while I tipped it into my glass or shaker.

As I was reaching for some measuring spoons for yet-another baking project, I spied my mini liquid measuring cup lying among the cookie cutters. (I haven’t gotten to the organization phase of my quarantine-induced nesting instincts.) That’s when I realized my cocktail-making game was about to get a major boost.

A couple years ago, a friend, who’s also a former bartender revealed to me that she prefers using a mini angled measuring cup instead of a jigger for mixing drinks at home. I promptly purchased a $5 OXO Mini Angled Liquid Measuring Cup figuring that since it didn’t break the bank, it was a reasonable item to have on-hand. Since that purchase, I’ve moved several times and the cup keeps getting relegated to an overlooked cabinet nook or drawer. But now it’s taken a star turn at cocktail hour and has become my secret weapon for expertly-measured and perfectly-balanced cocktails.

The cup, which measures 1/4 cup in total volume, has markings in increments for cups, ounces, tablespoons and milliliters. As with other angled liquid measuring cups, it’s easy to read the measurement from above as you pour, saving you from angling your head as you recall seventh grade science techniques for reading the liquid’s meniscus. It’s easy to hold, feels comfortable in the hand and doesn’t slip or wobble. The cup also has a spout, which ensures that I don’t spill any precious drops of liquor when pouring it in to the glass or shaker. Plus, if I overshoot the measurement, the spout is handy for pouring excess liquor right back into the bottle. It’s dishwasher safe to boot.

My mini angled measuring cup has proven its worth for the cocktails alone, but its size also makes it ideal for other liquid measuring tasks, like streaming in olive oil for whisking into vinaigrettes or whipping up homemade mayo. Or if I need to measure out fresh citrus juice for a recipe, my hand-held citrus squeezer fits over the top, so I can squeeze it right into the cup. I’ve heard that some people even use their mini measuring cup for making spice blends too, layering the spices in the cup to the desired tablespoon measurement line, thereby saving them from using and rewashing measuring spoons.

Best of all, it’s inexpensive, so you can justify it for all manner of kitchen projects, and it’s tiny, so you can accommodate a spot for it somewhere in your kitchen cabinets or drawers. If you're planning to keep up cocktail hour all summer, you can even upgrade to this stainless-steel version and display it on your home bar.

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