Ladies and Gents,
today our Bartender Søren asked me, if the word jigger is just a mispronunciation - sounds somehow french - was his opinion ... to be honest (hate to do this ;-) ) I have NO idea ...
So .. some thoughts , arguments, sources for the word Jigger - if you know and like to share.
As far as I know the term 'jigger' was an old imperial measurement for 1.5 fluid ounces. It's since been used to describe the measurement device.
Can't find it online, but my web-fu's shot after a very long shift last night. :(
The Oxford English Dictionary says
b. A drink of spirits, a dram. Also, a small glass or metal cup, a measure used in mixing cocktails; the contents of such a glass or measure. (U.S.)
The word "jigger" is related to the American work "thingamajig," both of them meaning basically "object or device that has no other name." Usually those things eventually get names of their own, but not always. There are thus several other "jiggers" to be found in the American folk arts and crafts that have nothing to do with mixing drinks--I think there's one in auto mechanics, one in ice-fishing, etc. etc.
Oh the Bartender is just like a mother to me / And I am his favorite child. --Slim Gaillard
Ooh nice, thisl be some good bar trivia indeed...
I do assume then that "pony" just refers to something smaller than a thingamajig?
Why the long face?
In the British Navy the sailors were rationed Grog once a day. In the beginning it was a splash of rum and water in the sailor’s cup. (That was issued as part of the Ships supplied gear of there eating utensils.) As time past, the Bosun (boatswain)* had the chore of rationing the Grog. He started using a small measuring instrument to measure the rum. Because the sailors felt that it was such a small portion of rum. The sailors nicknamed the bosun’s measuring cup a Jigger in reference to the jigger sail, being the smallest sail on a man o war. The sail was set on the jigger mast that was the very most aft mast on the ship.
* A Bosun is the foreman of a ship's crew, and is responsible for the rigging, anchors, and sails. He was considered by the crew as the Boatswain because he was responsible for executing punishment on board the ship.