A shot glass is a small glass originally designed to hold or measure spirits or liquor, which is either imbibed straight from the glass ("a shot") or poured into a cocktail ("a drink"). An alcoholic beverage served in a shot glass and typically consumed quickly, in one gulp, may also be known as a "shooter".
Shot glasses decorated with a wide variety of toasts, advertisements, humorous pictures, or other decorations and words are popular souvenirs and collectibles, especially as merchandise of a brewery.
The word "shot", meaning a drink of alcohol, has been used since at least the 17th century, while reference to a shot specifically as a small drink of spirits is known in the U.S. since at least the 1920s. The phrase "shot glass" has been in use since at least 1940.
Earliest shot glasses
Some of the earliest small whiskey glasses in America from the late 1700s to early 1800s were called "whiskey tasters" or "whiskey tumblers" and were hand blown. They are thick, similar to today's shot glasses, but will show a pontil mark or scar on the bottom, or will show a cupped area on the bottom where the pontil mark was ground and polished off. Some of these glasses even have hand-applied handles and decorations hand cut by a grinding wheel.
In the early to mid-1800s, glass blowers began to use molds and several different patterns of "whiskey tasters" in several different colors were being made in molds. These glasses are also thick like today's shot glass but they will have rough pontiled bottoms from being hand blown into the mold. By the 1870s to 1890s as glass making technology improved, the rough pontiled bottoms largely disappeared from glasses and bottles.
Just before Prohibition in the U.S. in the late 1800s to early 1900s, thin-sided mass-produced whiskey glasses were common. Many of these glasses feature etched advertising on them. After Prohibition, these were replaced by shot glasses with a thick base and thick sides.
|Australia||30 ml||60 ml||A single shot is sometimes called a "nip". At 30 mL, a typical spirit with 40 percent alcohol is roughly equivalent to one Australian standard drink.|
|Bulgaria||50 ml||100 ml|
|Canada||30 ml (1 US fl oz) or 28 ml (1 imp fl oz)||44 ml (1.5 US fl oz) or 43 ml (1.5 imp fl oz)||71 ml (2.5 imp fl oz)||In Canada, a "shot" may refer to an official "standard drink" of 1.5 imperial fluid ounces or 42.6 millilitres, though many establishments serve a "standard drink" of 1 oz. However, shot glasses available in Canada typically are manufactured according to US fluid ounces rather than imperial, making them about 4% larger.|
|Denmark||20 ml||40 ml|
|Estonia||20 or 30 ml||40 ml|
|Finland||20 ml||40 ml||N/A|
|France||25 or 35 ml||50 or 70 ml|
|Germany||20 ml||40 ml||In Germany, shot glasses (Schnapsglas, Pinnchen, Stamperl) are smaller.|
|Greece||45 ml||90 ml||A shot is commonly referred to as a "sfinaki" and it can be made of one liquor or a cocktail mix. There is also a 3 oz – "bottoms up" version of "sfinaki", called "ipovrihio", Greek word for submarine. It's served in a standard liquor glass half full of blonde beer, where the bartender adds a glass shot filled with vodka or whiskey.|
|Hungary||20 or 30 ml||40 or 50 ml||80 or 100 ml||In Hungarian, shot glasses are called felespohár (feles meaning "half", standing for 0.5 dl), pálinkáspohár (for pálinka), kupica or stampedli.|
|India||30 ml||30 ml||60 ml||A shot is commonly referred to as a "peg", and is measured as a "small" (chhota), or a "large" (bud-da) peg. A 120 ml shot in India is called a Patiala peg.|
|Ireland||35.5 ml||71 ml||Derived from the use of a quarter-gill (35.516 ml, one-sixteenth of a pint) as the traditional Irish spirit measure.|
|Israel||30 ml||50 or 60 ml||In Israel, the common word for a small shot is צ'ייסר ("chaser").|
|Italy||30 ml||40 or 60 ml||In Italy, the common word for a shot is cicchetto or, more informally and used mainly in nightclubs by young people, shortino. In North Italy, the cicchetto is the most-common way to taste grappa from at least two centuries.|
|Japan||30 ml||60 ml||In Japanese, the word ショットグラス (shottogurasu) is the singular term for a shot glass.|
|Poland||50 ml||100 ml||A standard shot (small) is called pięćdziesiątka (lit. fifty, as in 50 ml) while a large shot (double) is called setka or, colloquially, seta (lit. a hundred, as in 100 ml).|
|Romania||50 ml||100 ml||A single shot is traditionally known in the Romanian language as unu mic (una mică) meaning "a small one" or cinzeacă, meaning "a fifty", as in fifty milliliters. A double shot is simply called unu (una mare), meaning "one (big)".|
|Russia||50 ml||100 ml||Both single and double shots are commonly called стопка (stópka) in Russian, though a variety of slang names exist. Before metrication a single shot was called шкалик (shkálik) and amounted to 61.5ml, while a double was called чарка (chárka) and was equal to 123 ml — both names are still occasionally used.|
|Serbia||20 ml||30–50 ml||60–100 ml||A single shot is traditionally known in the Serbian language as чашица за ракију and ракијска чашица, meaning "small glass for rakija" and "rakija glass", or simply as мера—мерица, meaning "measure". A double shot is simply called Дупли, meaning "a double", while the smallest, 20 milliliter glass, is known as dvojka meaning "two".|
|Sweden||20 ml||40 ml||60 ml||A single shot is referred to as a fyra, meaning "a four" and a double is referred to as a sexa, meaning "a six", as Swedes generally use centiliters rather than milliliters.|
|Slovakia||20 or 25 ml||40 or 50 ml||80 or 100 ml||The most-common single-shot size is the pol deci (literally, "half a decilitre", 50 ml).|
|Slovenia||30 ml||50 ml||100 ml||The 50 ml size is colloquially known as nula pet ("zero five", meaning 0.5 of a decilitre), and the small one nula tri ("zero three"). Another common term for a single shot is ta kratek, meaning "the short one".|
|South Africa||25 ml||50 ml||The South African government has an official definition for the single-shot size.|
|United Kingdom||25 or 35 ml||50 or 70 ml||Shots sold on-premises must contain either 25 ml or 35 ml measures of whisky, gin, rum, or vodka as defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1985. This requirement does not extend to other spirits. A 2001 amendment allowed a double shot of 70 ml to be served. Generally, a single measure is equal to 35 ml in Northern Ireland and Scotland and 25 ml in England and Wales.|
|United States||30 ml (1 US fl oz)||44 ml (1.5 US fl oz)||59 to 89 ml (2 to 3 US fl oz)||There is no standard size for a single shot, except in Utah, where a shot is defined as 1.5 US fl oz (44 ml). Elsewhere in the U.S., the standard size is generally considered to be 1.25–1.5 US fl oz (37–44 ml). A double shot in the U.S. may be 2 fluid ounces or more.|
Types of shot glasses
Tall shot glass
The term jigger in the sense of a small cup or measure of spirits or wine originates in the U.S. in the early 19th century. It was slang for a small drink of about half a gill or so, or the special cup used for it. Many references from the 1800s describe the "jigger boss" providing jiggers of whiskey to Irish immigrant workers who were digging canals in the U.S. Northeast.
The style of double-ended jigger common today, made of stainless steel with two unequal sized opposing cones in an hourglass shape, was patented in 1893 by Cornelius Dungan of Chicago. Typically, one cone measures a regulation single shot, and the other some fraction or multiple—with the actual sizes depending on local laws and customs.
A contemporary jigger measure in the U.S. usually holds 1.5 US fluid ounces (44 ml), while the jiggers used in the U.K. are typically 25 ml or sometimes 35 ml. Jiggers may also hold other amounts and ratios, and can vary depending on the region and date of manufacture.
In the U.S. up until Prohibition, a jigger was commonly known to be about half a gill, or 2 US fluid ounces (59 ml), but starting in the latter part of the 20th century, it is typically interpreted to be 1.5 US fluid ounces (44 ml).
Measuring shot glass
A shot glass graduated in smaller units such as half-ounces, teaspoons, tablespoons, or millilitres. They are useful for precise measurement of cocktail ingredients, as well as in cooking recipes that call for multiples of a smaller unit (e.g. several teaspoons), allowing the dispensing of the amount in a single measure.
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