If you’re a bartender, mixologist, or simply enjoy crafting cocktails at home, you’ve probably wondered how many tablespoons are in a shot.

The quick answer: A standard shot is 1.5 ounces, which is equal to 3 tablespoons.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deeper into the world of measurements and explore why understanding the difference between shots and tablespoons is crucial for making the perfect drink.

We’ll also take a look at some common conversions and answer some frequently asked questions to help you elevate your bartending game.

Shots vs. Tablespoons: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to mixing cocktails, accuracy is key. One of the most common questions asked by bartenders and home mixologists alike is how many tablespoons are in a shot. While both measurements are used to add liquids to a cocktail, they are not interchangeable.

Why Accuracy Matters in Cocktails

When making cocktails, accuracy is essential to achieving a balanced and delicious drink. Using too much or too little of an ingredient can throw off the flavor and texture of a cocktail. This is especially true for spirits, which can be potent and overpowering if not measured correctly.

The Importance of Understanding Measurements

Understanding measurement conversions is a crucial skill for any bartender or mixologist. It allows you to follow recipes accurately and consistently, ensuring that every drink you make tastes the same. Knowing the difference between shots and tablespoons and how to convert between them is a fundamental aspect of this skill.

How to Measure Shots and Tablespoons

A standard shot is typically 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 milliliters. This is equivalent to three tablespoons or 1.5 fluid ounces. However, it’s important to note that shot glasses can vary in size, so it’s always best to measure the volume of your shot glass before using it to mix cocktails.

Tablespoons, on the other hand, are a more precise measurement and are commonly used in baking and cooking recipes. One tablespoon is equal to 0.5 fluid ounces or approximately 15 milliliters. To convert tablespoons to shots, simply divide the number of tablespoons by three. For example, two tablespoons would be equal to approximately 0.67 shots.

It’s also worth noting that some cocktail recipes may call for a “double shot” or “two shots” of a particular spirit. In this case, you would simply double the standard shot measurement, which would be three tablespoons or 1.5 fluid ounces.

By understanding the difference between shots and tablespoons and how to convert between them, you’ll be able to mix cocktails with confidence and precision. Cheers to that!

Common Conversions for Cocktail Making

If you’re a bartender or just enjoy making cocktails at home, it’s essential to know the common conversions for cocktail making. Here are some of the most important conversions to keep in mind:

Ounces to Tablespoons

One fluid ounce is equivalent to two tablespoons. So if a recipe calls for two ounces of vodka, you’ll need four tablespoons.

Tablespoons to Ounces

On the other hand, if a recipe calls for six tablespoons of lime juice, that’s equivalent to three fluid ounces.

Milliliters to Tablespoons

One milliliter is equal to 0.067628 tablespoons. So if you have a recipe that calls for 30 milliliters of simple syrup, you’ll need approximately two tablespoons.

Tablespoons to Milliliters

Conversely, if a recipe calls for four tablespoons of bitters, that’s equivalent to approximately 59 milliliters.

Cocktail Recipes and Conversions

It’s important to note that many cocktail recipes are written in ounces, so it’s helpful to have a conversion chart handy. You can find many conversion charts online, such as Difford’s Guide.

Knowing these common conversions will make it easier for you to create your favorite cocktails and experiment with new recipes. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things – after all, that’s part of the fun of cocktail making!

FAQs About Shots and Tablespoons

  • Can You Use Tablespoons Instead of a Jigger?
  • While a jigger is the preferred measuring tool for making cocktails, you can use tablespoons as a substitute. However, keep in mind that a jigger is specifically designed to measure precise amounts of liquid, while tablespoons can be a bit less accurate. So, if you’re aiming for consistency in your cocktail recipes, it’s best to invest in a jigger.

  • What Is the Difference Between a Jigger and a Shot Glass?
  • Both a jigger and a shot glass are used to measure liquid for cocktails, but they differ in size and shape. A jigger typically holds 1.5 ounces on one end and 2 ounces on the other, while a shot glass holds 1.5 ounces of liquid. The shape of a jigger is designed to make it easier to pour and measure liquids, while a shot glass is typically straight and narrow.

  • How Many Tablespoons Are in a Double Shot?
  • A double shot typically contains 3 ounces of liquid, which is equal to 6 tablespoons. However, this can vary depending on the size of the shot glass or jigger being used.

  • How Many Shots Are in a Cocktail?
  • The number of shots in a cocktail depends on the recipe being used. Some cocktails, like a martini, typically contain just one shot of liquor, while others, like a Long Island Iced Tea, can contain multiple shots. It’s important to follow the recipe and measure out the ingredients accurately to ensure that the cocktail is balanced and not too strong.

  • How to Measure Ingredients Without a Jigger
  • If you don’t have a jigger, there are a few ways to measure ingredients for cocktails. You can use tablespoons as a substitute, or you can use a kitchen scale to weigh out the ingredients. Another option is to use a shot glass, but keep in mind that shot glasses are not always accurate and can vary in size.


While it may seem like a small detail, understanding the difference between shots and tablespoons can make a big difference in the quality of your cocktails.

By using accurate measurements, you can create drinks that are perfectly balanced and delicious every time.

So whether you’re a seasoned bartender or just starting out, keep these tips and tricks in mind to take your cocktail game to the next level.

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