How Do I Measure a Cocktail That Uses Parts?

You May Need to Do a Little Math, but It's Easy

The Making of a Drink
Measuring is key to creating great cocktails. Here's what you do when the recipe is measured in 'parts'. Jens Schott Knudsen/pamhule.com/Getty Images

When you are browsing cocktail recipes, you will most often find the measurements of ingredients listed in ounces, dashes and splashes. Those are very straightforward and you know what to do. What happens when you come across one of the many cocktails that uses the term "parts" instead?

Don't panic -- just do a little math (not too much math, really!) and you will have a great drink.

How to Measure Parts

One part is any equal part.

Think of it as one measure of your jigger (or whatever device you are measuring with).

For example, if you need 1 part, you would pour one full jigger.

  • For 2 1/2 parts, pour two and a half jiggers.
  • For 1/2 part, pour one-half of the jigger full.

It is very logical because you will decide what 1 part means for that recipe and divide or multiply from there.

Yet, you may have to adjust a little bit to obtain the right sized cocktail for the glass. For instance, to fill a tall glass that may be 8 ounces you may want to consider "1 part" equal to 1 1/2 or 2 jiggers full.

The Easiest Parts Conversion

Quite often, you can simply replace the word "parts" with "ounces." Look for recipes that have 1 1/2 parts or 2 parts for the base liquor (the size of the typical shot), then pour all of the ingredients with the measurements given.

The Danny Ocean Cocktail is a perfect example:

  • 1 1/2 parts Casamigos Reposado Tequila
  • 3/4 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 parts fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 part agave nectar
  • 1/4 part maraschino liqueur

To pour this cocktail, begin with 1 1/2 ounces tequila. The pour 3/4 ounces of each juice, 1/2 ounce nectar and 1/4 ounce maraschino.

More Complex Parts Conversion

Here are two drink recipes that use parts, one simple and one complex.

Simple Parts: Pumpkin Divine Cocktail

The recipe reads:

Break this recipe down. Obviously, the vodka and butter are going to be equal in measure, as are the triple sec and simple syrup. To make it very easy on yourself, pour 1 jigger (typically 1 1/2 ounces) each of vodka and pumpkin butter, then pour 1/2 a jigger (or 3/4 ounce) each of triple sec and syrup.

The result of this will be a 4-5 ounce cocktail after shaking, the perfect size for a modern cocktail glass.

Complex Parts: Time for a Change Cocktail

The recipe reads:

Because this is in a cocktail glass, it doesn't make sense to start with 2 1/2 jiggers (4 1/2 ounces) of bourbon. Instead, pour 2 ounces of bourbon, 1/3 ounce triple sec and 3/4 ounce each of the juices and syrup. Again, you will have around a 5-ounce cocktail.

It is very rare that recipes are written with this level of complexity. This drink's creator should have made the recipe far easier to understand.

Why Are Parts Used in Recipes?

Remember that not everyone uses the same measuring system.

The United States still uses the Imperial system. The rest of the world uses the Metric system, so by writing in parts, the recipe becomes universal to more drinkers throughout the world. the recipe becomes universal to more drinkers throughout the world.

Parts can also be helpful when you want to increase or decrease a drink's volume without changing the ratio of the ingredients. For instance, if you want to transform the Sea Breeze into a martini, you would pour 1 part cranberry juice, 1/2 part vodka and 3/4 part grapefruit juice.