Terminology 101: What Is A Part In Bartending?

what is a part in bartending
Joe | Last Updated: November 18, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

A “part” is a versatile measure used to create well-balanced and consistent cocktails in bartending.

While the terminology may sound confusing at first, it’s actually very simple and is important for all bartenders to understand and grasp.

Whether it’s a classic martini or an adventurous concoction, the art lies in the right proportions. Depending on the scale, a part could be anything – an ounce, 1 shot, or even a cup.

It’s the bartender’s secret code for crafting perfection in every drink. So, if you’re curious about the term ‘part’ in bartending and want to learn more about these measurements, you’re in the right place.

What Is A Part In Bartending?

Mastering the concept of a “part” is an important skill for whipping up tasty cocktails as a bartender.

“A part” is a flexible term used for measuring ingredients relative to each other. It’s a scalable method that works for both individual drinks and larger batches.

Essentially, it’s about maintaining the ratio of ingredients, regardless of the actual quantity being made.

For instance, if a recipe requires 1 part of ingredient A and 2 parts of ingredient B, you use twice the amount of ingredient B as you do of ingredient A.

To put this into a practical example: if you’re making a drink with orange juice and vodka, and the recipe calls for 2 parts orange juice and 1 part vodka, you would use twice as much orange juice as vodka.

This could mean using two shot glasses of orange juice to one shot glass of vodka.

The beauty of this system is that it keeps the drink’s flavor balanced, whether you’re mixing a single cocktail or a large batch for a party.

The Importance Of Measuring Drinks In Parts

Nobody wants a cocktail where the proportions are off, as it’ll either be too strong or too weak and ultimately be returned from the customer.

Therefore, whether using a jigger, free-pouring with pour counts, or measuring with teaspoons, cups, or ounces, the key is consistency.

If using a jigger, one part corresponds to a full jigger with pour spouts for precise liquor bottle measurements.

This consistency establishes a baseline measurement against which all other ingredients are gauged.

Considerations for the final cocktail size and the ice volume in the chosen glasses are also important in determining the appropriate part size.

To grasp how much to pour into a cocktail glass, consider various elements such as a small dash of triple sec for flavor, the amount of ice used, and how full you want the glass to be.

This ensures that each part aligns with the overall composition of the drink.

It’s a balancing act that combines precision with creativity, allowing bartenders to adapt the part measurement to various recipes and serving preferences.

By paying attention to these details, every drink maintains a high standard of quality.

The Relationship Between Parts And Ounces

The concept of “parts” aligns seamlessly with ounces, making it a standard unit of measurement. As a fundamental principle taught in bartending school, one part equals one ounce.

This interchangeability is seen in popular cocktail recipes like the classic gin fizz. Whether expressed in ounces or parts, the drink recipe calls for consistency:

  • Two ounces gin
  • One ounce of lemon juice
  • ¾ ounces simple syrup
  • ½ ounce egg white
  • One-ounce club soda

In this context, ‘one part’ typically represents one ounce, a standard measurement in the industry. This system’s flexibility is evident in ratios such as one to two parts or one to three parts, showcasing its adaptability in various cocktail recipes.

For instance, a 1-to-2 ratio signifies that for every one part of an ingredient, two parts of another are added.

This concept is similar to everyday cooking practices, like preparing oatmeal with a 1-to-2 ratio of oatmeal to milk.

Another example is making a vinaigrette salad dressing, where you typically add three parts of oil for every one part of vinegar, following a 1-to-3 ratio.

Using Parts To Measure Drinks Effectively

In the U.S., cocktail ingredients are often measured using fluid measurements and tools like a measuring cup, with the imperial system in place.

what is a part in bartending
Photo by Andra C Taylor Jr

Ingredients in cocktails are measured in ounces, offering more precision than using tablespoons or cups.

This measurement system is applied across all elements of bartending, from each liquor bottle to mixing glasses and cocktail shakers.

Bartenders use a jigger to ensure precise measurements for every cocktail.

Jiggers, with capacities ranging from 1/4 ounce to 2 1/2 ounces, ensure the accurate flow of ingredients, offering a standardized approach to creating cocktails.

The bartender’s imperial-to-metric conversion simplifies the transition between U.S. and metric measurements.

For instance:

  • Tall Shot: 2 oz (U.S.) is equivalent to 60 mL (Metric)
  • Standard Shot: 1 1/2 oz (U.S.) corresponds to 50 mL (Metric)
  • Short Shot: 1 oz (U.S.) equals 30 mL (Metric)
  • Half Shot: 3/4 oz (U.S.) is equal to 25 mL (Metric)
  • Small Shot: 1/2 oz (U.S.) converts to 15 mL (Metric)

When measuring parts, precision takes a back seat to proportion.

“One part” signifies any equal part of the total volume, whether one ounce for a single cocktail, one cup for a punch, or another measurement.

Converting from imperial to metric is made simple through the use of parts.

To determine your “one part,” consider your basic measurement, then adjust other ingredients accordingly to maintain the desired ratio.

Understanding the capacity of your shot glasses helps establish the appropriate one-part measurement for the drink you’re making.

To Sum Up

‘A part’ is a fundamental unit of measurement that ensures precision and balance in cocktail making, essential for bartenders to create delicious drinks.

It’s a flexible, relative measurement that’s used in bars all around the world for precision and accuracy.

That said, precision gives way to proportion, whether using ounces, milliliters, or parts. Bartenders rely on tools like jiggers to maintain consistency, with fluid measurements prevailing in the U.S.

Now you know exactly what ‘a part’ is in bartending and can begin using the term and process while behind the bar.

Enjoy and see you in the next one.