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Shot glass
Three types of shot glass.
Shot glasses with a variety of designs. Shot glasses such as these are often collected as novelty items.
A souvenir shotglass for Disney World. This shotglass contains a Hidden Mickey.

A shot glass is a small glass designed to hold or measure liquor, to be either poured into a mixed drink or drunk straight from the glass (a shot).

Jigger or pony is an earlier name for a container used to measure or drink a standard quantity of liquor. A small glass holding a shot of liquor is called a whiskey. American distilleries distributed thin whiskey glasses bearing etched advertising between the late 19th century and the beginning of Prohibition. Shot glasses decorated with a wide variety of advertising, humorous pictures, and toasts are popular souvenirs and collectibles. Care must be taken when drinking from decorative shot glasses, as some decorations (such as coloring or pictures) contain lead. Pre-prohibition whiskey glasses are also highly collectible.

In Italy, the shot glass has been used for over 200 years, very popular in taverns for tasting grappa. Grappa is sipped from the shot glass, not downed in one gulp.

Contents

Origin

A 2 fl. oz. shot glass filled with rum.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word shotglass first appeared in print in the 1940s. There are many apocryphal stories about its origin, but none of them stand up to scrutiny. They all place the origin at least decades before the word or phrase shows up in print; or they describe an item that had nothing to do with drinking liquor.

Many references from the 1800s describe giving workers who were digging canals a jigger of whiskey or rum. Most shotglasses are found in America, and shotglasses from before the 1940s are very rare. The word shotglass (or phrase, shot glass) does not show up in print until the 1940s in The New York Times, in a story about an effort to regulate the size of a shot of liquor in New York; and did not come into common usage until much later.

If the origin of the shotglass was sparked by special circumstances in America, in the years before the Second World War, the likely candidates are The Great Depression, and Prohibition. Although most people associate the beginning of prohibition with the passage of the Volstead act, alcohol was locally prohibited in many locations years before the passage of the act (see local option). Since the Great Depression was a worldwide phenomenon, and shotglasses evolved only in America, the depression was probably not a major influence on the birth of the shotglass.

The obvious connection between Prohibition and the shotglass is they are both related to alcohol. Before Prohibition, thin-sided whiskey glasses were common.[1] After Prohibition, the shotglass with thick base and sides had replaced them.

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The Old West

The most popular origin story is that the shot glass originated in the Western saloons of the Old West. The story explains that the cowboys of the old west would trade a cartridge (bullet plus powder and primer encased in brass) for a small amount of alcohol. One problem with this story is that, even if true, the average old west saloon would not be able to commission the creation of a new style of glass to fill this purpose–even today many bars do not stock shotglasses; they serve shots in ordinary whisky glasses. Another problem with this origin story is the economics of such a trade are such that it is unlikely to have happened, as alcohol sold for much more than a single cartridge.

Bird or Buck Shot

Another origin story is that a shot glass was a glass used at the dinner table to place any lead shot left in your meat that you would find during a meal (much like a spit jar is used for smokers or tobacco chewers). However, people were shooting their food with shotguns for hundreds of years before the shotglass was born. See (Shotgun History). There may have been a "shot glass" for this purpose, but the shot glass did not come from it.

Quill Pen Holder

Another story ties the origin of the shot glass to the use of quill pens. According to this story, the term shot glass was coined over 100 years ago, describing a small, thick-walled glass placed on a writing desk, and filled with small lead BBs, or shot. A feather writing quill would be placed in the glass when not in use, and the lead shot would hold the quill upright. An upright quill was more easily removed from the glass.

Even if there was a shot glass used for quill pens, it was probably a different size and shape—the thin base and wide top of a standard shotglass are quite unstable for inserting and removing a quill (or even just for having on a desk). A shot glass for holding a quill is more likely to have a small top and a large base, the opposite of what we know of as a shotglass.

Firing glass

An additional origin story ties the birth of the shot glass to the sound of a gunshot. Certain fraternal organizations such as Freemasons have a custom of drinking toasts from specially shaped glasses known as cannons. Another name for these glasses are firing glasses, which comes from the French calling the toast, feu meaning fire. If the glass is slammed on the table, it makes a sound like a gunshot–a firing glass then becomes a shot glass. Not only is the firing glass much older than the shot glass, it also has a very specific shape (relatively thin sides, very thick protruding base)[2][3] which is quite different from the shot glass.

Shot meaning a small amount

The word shot also means dose, or small amount, such as a so-called immunization shot. This use pre-dates the use of the word shot glass. Therefore, the small glasses are called shot glasses because they hold small amounts.

Friedrich Otto Schott, Ernst Abbe and Carl Zeiss

The word shot was originally spelled Schott, and named after Friedrich Otto Schott a German chemist and Glass Technologist who helped Ernst Abbe (a physicist) and Carl Zeiss (an instrument maker) develop some of the first Optical lenses in Germany, many years before any of the above theories. Schott, Abbe and Zeiss, founded a glassworks factory (Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Genossen) in Jena, Germany in 1884. [4]

This Jena glass has been theorized as the origin of the first Schott Glass and the source of the name, which was later, in the USA, mutated to Shot Glass and the original origin of the word forgotten.

Sizes

Most countries have standard definitions of single and double shot sizes (which are not always in a 2 to 1 ratio):

Country Small Single Double Notes
Australia 30 mL 60 mL
Bulgaria 50 mL 100 mL
Czech Republic 20 mL 40 or 50 mL 80 or 100 mL Most common single (large) shot used to be 50 mL, but recently it has become 40 mL.
Estonia 40 mL 80 mL
Finland 40 mL 80 mL In Finland, the maximum amount of strong alcohol restaurants are allowed to serve is regulated by law to one 40 mL portion at a time per customer. Doubles cannot be legally served.
Germany 20 mL 40 mL In Germany, shot glasses (German: Schnapsglas, Pintchen, Stamperl) are smaller.
India 30 mL 60 mL
Ireland, Republic of 35.5 mL 71 mL
Kazakhstan 50 mL 100 mL In Russia, Kazakhstan, and other CIS (former Soviet) states there is also a larger бокал (glass or goblet), which usually contains 200–300 mL.
New Zealand 30 mL 60 mL
Poland 25 mL 50 mL 100 mL To take a single shot in Polish slang is to take po pięćdziesiątce, meaning take 50 (50 mL).
Russia 50 mL 100 mL A double shot in Russian is called стопка meaning a stack; it also alludes to the number 100.
Sweden 20 mL 40 mL 60 mL
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).
South Africa 20 mL The South African government has an official definition for the single shot size.
United Kingdom 25 or 35 mL 50 mL One premises may sell 25 mL or 3525 mLmL measures of whisky, gin, rum, or vodka as defined in Weights and Measures Act 1985. This requirement does not extend to other spirits.
United States and Canada 1.0 US fl oz (30 mL) 1.5 US fl oz (44 mL) 2.5 US fl oz (74 mL) Except in Utah, where a shot is defined as 1.5 fl oz, there is no standard size for a single shot.[5] Elsewhere in the U.S., the standard size is generally considered to be 1.25–1.5 fl oz.[6][7] As a result, the size of a double shot varies between 2.5 and 3.0 fl oz.[8] A smaller 1.0 fl oz shot is generally referred to as a pony shot or short shot.[9]

References

  1. ^ http://www.pre-pro.com
  2. ^ http://www.museumofcroydon.com/ixbin/indexplus?record=CAT3140&_IXEMBED_KIOSK_=kiosk/a2_k4&_IXFROMC_=1
  3. ^ http://www.warwickcrystal.co.uk/shop/glasses/glass77.htm
  4. ^ "Jena glass". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9043517/Jena-glass. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  5. ^ "Shotglass Size". Shotglass.org: a site for shotglasses and other similar items. http://www.shotglass.org/. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  6. ^ Graham, Colleen. "Shot glass". About.com Cocktails: The Glassware Tour. About.com. http://cocktails.about.com/od/embellishments/ss/glss_gde_10.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  7. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Units: S". How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictS.html. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  8. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Units: D". How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictD.html. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  9. ^ "Shot glass". Glass info. The Webtender. http://www.webtender.com/db/glass/2. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  

External links


Simple English


A shot glass is a small cup that people use to drink alcohol with. Usually, when using a shot glass, the alcohol is not mixed with any other drinks, it is pure alcohol. A person usually swallows everything in the glass at once.


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