A shot glass is a 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".

Three shot glasses of varying shape and size
Shot glasses with a variety of designs. Shot glasses such as these are often collected as novelty items.

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.[1]

Name originEdit

The word shot, meaning a drink of alcohol, has been used since at least the 17th century, while it is known to have referred specifically to a small drink of spirits in the U.S. since at least the 1920s.[2] The phrase shot glass has been in use since at least the 1940s.[3][4]

There are two theories as to why a shot is called that way. One is that it was inspired by the Old West, where cowboys paid for their whiskey by trading for bullets. Another theory is that shots were named after Friedrich Otto Schott, a man who started a glassworks factory that made shot glasses in America.[5]

Earliest shot glassesEdit

Some of the earliest 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 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 crafted using 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.[citation needed]


Country Small Single Double Notes
Albania 50 ml 100 ml
Australia 30 ml 60 ml A single shot is sometimes called a "nip".[6] At 30 ml, a typical spirit with 40 percent alcohol is roughly equivalent to one Australian standard drink.[7]
Bulgaria 50 ml 100 ml 200 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,[8] though all establishments serve a "standard drink" of 1 oz.[9] However, shot glasses available in Canada typically are manufactured according to US fluid ounces rather than imperial,[10] making them about 4% larger.
Channel Islands 25 ml 50 ml Jersey and Guernsey, both British Crown dependencies.[11][12]
Denmark 20 ml 40 ml 50 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.[citation needed]
Greece 45 ml 90 ml A shot is also 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 is served in a standard liquor glass half full of blonde beer, where the bartender adds a glass shot filled with vodka or whiskey.[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]
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 (approximate quantity) in India is called a Patiala peg. [13]
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.
Isle of Man 28.4 ml 56.8 ml One-fifth of an imperial gill.[14][15]
Israel 30 ml 50 or 60 ml In Israel, the common word for a small shot is צ'ייסר ("chaser").[citation needed]
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, shottino. In North Italy, the cicchetto is the most-common way to taste grappa from at least two centuries.[citation needed]
Japan 30 ml 60 ml In Japanese, the word ショットグラス (shottogurasu) is the term for a shot glass.
Korea 50 ml Due to the reason shot glasses are almost exclusively used with Soju, they are called 소주잔 (soju-jan, lit. Soju glass).
Netherlands 35 ml In the Netherlands a standard shot glass is 35ml. A shot glass is also called a "borrelglas", in which "borrel" means a glass or shot of an alcoholic drink and "borrelen" is the verb.[16]
Norway 20 ml 40 ml
Poland 20 ml 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 small 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 single shot is simply called unu (una mare), meaning "one (big)".[citation needed]
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".[citation needed]
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).[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]
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 shot is equal to 35 ml in Northern Ireland and Scotland and 25 ml in Wales and England.[17]
United States 30 to 44 ml (1.0 to 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 (44.4 ml).[18] Elsewhere in the U.S., the standard size is generally considered to be 1.25–1.5 US fl oz (37–44 ml).[19][20] A double shot in the U.S. may be 2 fluid ounces[21] or more. However in most of the U.S. 1.5 US fl oz is the standard, with 1.5 US fl oz of 40% A.B.V spirit having the equivalent alcohol of 12 US fl oz of 5% beer, and 5 US fl oz of 12% wine.[citation needed]

Types of shot glassesEdit

Cheater glassEdit

30 ml (1 US fl oz) cheater shot glass.

These glasses are for those wary of heavy drinking. Or, for establishments which want to cheat their patrons into thinking they are being given more than they are in reality. Their bottoms are sturdy and thick so they give the illusion of a plain shot glass when in reality they only hold two-thirds as much liquid.[citation needed]

Single glassEdit

A single shot glass holds a full shot.[citation needed]

Fluted glassEdit

A fluted glass is a type of shot glass with a basic fluting featured on the base of the glass.

Pony glassEdit

Pony glasses can only hold about an ounce (30 ml) of fluid each but are normally used while mixing drinks into a larger glass.[citation needed]

Tall shot glassEdit

Tall shot glasses are taller, but narrower. They are sometimes also known as shooter glasses.[citation needed]

Rounded glassEdit

In rounded shot glasses, the walls of the glass curve down leaving a 10 centimetre difference between the lip of the glass and the bottom rim of the glass. They are popular in Europe.[citation needed]

Shot-measuring toolsEdit


Variety of jiggers

A jigger, also known as a measure, is a bartending tool used to measure liquor, which is typically then poured into a glass or cocktail shaker.

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. 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.[22][23]

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.[24] 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),[25] 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. Many jiggers may also have fractional markings on the inside of the bowl, to facilitate smaller measures of liquid.

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),[26] but starting in the latter part of the 20th century, it is typically interpreted to be 1.5 US fluid ounces (44 ml).[27]

Measuring shot glassEdit

A shot glass graduated in smaller units such as half-ounces,[28] 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mark Pickvet (Oct 1, 1998). The Encyclopedia of Shot Glasses. Glass Press, Inc.
  2. ^ "shot". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
  3. ^ "He held his shot glass upside down and watched the last few drops of whisky roll down the side of the glass" Prairie Schooner, Volumes 13–14 (1939-1940). University of Nebraska Press).
  4. ^ "...and brought out a bottle of brandy and a shot glass..." The Portsmouth Times September 6, 1941.
  5. ^ Mertes, Alyssa (2021-01-03). "A Guide to Bar Glasses: 46 Different Types of Drinkware Everybody Should Know". Promotional Products Blog. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  6. ^ "Alcohol – Standard drinks guide". alcohol.gov.au.
  7. ^ "Standard Drinks Guide". Australia: Department of Health and Ageing. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  8. ^ "Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines" (PDF). The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Smart Serve Ontario: Hospitality Industry Training Organization of Ontario. Smart Serve Ontario: Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training (2002). Queen's Printer for Ontario, p. 6.
  10. ^ "What's in an ounce? Less if you're in Canada". The Hamilton Spectator. Dec 23, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  11. ^ [http://www.guernseylegalresources.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=72458&p=0 GUERNSEY STATUTORY INSTRUMENT 1991 No.57: The Weights and Measures (Various Foods) (Amendment) Requlations, 1991]
  12. ^ "Weights and Measures (Jersey) Law 1967". www.jerseylaw.je.
  13. ^ Kirin Narayan (1995), Love, stars, and all that, Piatkus, 1995, ISBN 978-0-7499-0265-0, A Patiala peg is as high as the distance between pinky and index finger.
  14. ^ "Changes to Isle of Man alcohol measurements scrapped". BBC News. March 8, 2013.
  15. ^ "1/5 Gill Shot Glass Government Stamped". Gellings.
  16. ^ "Onenigheid over inhoud borrelglaasje". Trouw (in Dutch). February 16, 1996.
  17. ^ "1 Unit" Archived 2011-08-10 at the Wayback Machine (PDF format).
  18. ^ Mark. "Shotglass Size". Shotglass.org: a site for shotglasses and other similar items. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  19. ^ Graham, Colleen. "Shot Glass". Cocktails: The Glassware Tour. About.com. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  20. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Units: S". How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  21. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Units: D". How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  22. ^ Ware, Eugene Fitch (1907). The Lyon campaign in Missouri. Topeka, Kansas: Crane and Company. pp. 187–189.
  23. ^ "jigger". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
  24. ^ Frechette, Chloe (April 14, 2017). "How Japanese Are Japanese Bar Tools?". Punch. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Klein, Herbert Arthur (1974). The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 34. ISBN 0-486-25839-4. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  26. ^ Willett, Andrew (2016). Elemental Mixology. p. 24. ISBN 9781300013525. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  27. ^ Feller, Robyn M. (2003). The Complete Bartender. Berkley Books. ISBN 978-0-425-19013-5.
  28. ^ "How Many Ounces In A Shot Glass?". February 24, 2021.

External linksEdit