For a kitchen novice, baking is science and cooking is art. And regardless of what the best cocktail guides tell you, bartending leans much closer to the latter.
This is the exact divide the ReJigger wants to close. Product designer Marcus Wang found himself in love with the Bay Area cocktail scene. He wanted to enjoy it at home too, but sadly, like many of us, he “quickly discovered that making these cocktails at home was not easy.” Wang believed there was a better way, so he decided to apply his design background to the problem.
Wang researched a plethora of three to four item cocktails and recognized a pattern: similar ingredient ratios. So his solution, the ReJigger, is a precisely proportional bar tool. It’s a small cup divided into three components—each meant for a different ingredient—that hold common quantities for traditional cocktail ingredients (from our measurements: 0.5 oz, 1 oz and 2-2.5 oz). Rather than fiddling with jiggers or eyeballing from a pour spout, you simply fill in the grid with your three ingredients, shake, and pour.
The only additional tool you need is a pint glass. The ReJigger is sized so that you can pour your ingredients into a glass over ice, then flip it for use as the top of a de facto shaker. Once mixed, tilt the ReJigger slightly and it’ll strain away the excess and dispense your final cocktail.
If it sounds too simple to be effective, you’re not alone in your skepticism. As a drinks writer, I’ve tasted plenty of cocktails and consider myself a moderately talented home bartender. I have all the tools, perfected my favorites over time, and won’t shy away from taking requests from house guests. Surely the bartending training wheels that a Rejigger provides would be useful to some, but I wasn’t going to abandon my bar spoon anytime soon.
But in the name of fairness, I had to test the ReJigger, pitting cocktails made with this new tool against cocktails made the old fashioned way. Ultimately, I held two blind taste tests. The first would use a cocktail from the ReJigger’s included guide. The tool itself comes with nine recipes and there is an additional “advanced guide” you can purchase with 20 more recipes ($5). In these, each recipe is laid out so simply that it has been described as a paint-by-numbers approach to cocktails. The second trial would involve applying a cocktail from my go-to reference, The PDT Cocktail Book, to the ReJigger. As a bonus, each test would make me the best roommate in the world—M, my girlfriend, would be tasting fresh cocktails upon arriving home from work two days in a row.
On day one, two Red Weddings from ReJigger’s advanced recipe guide were prepared. The drink is a unique combination of red table wine (smallest component), birch beer, and scotch (biggest component). It’s prepared in a fairly straightforward manner—poured, mixed over ice, strained to serve. If you’ve never had a Red Wedding, it’s refreshing and tastes a bit like a bitter cream soda. I used the measurements outlined above to compete against the machine.
The ReJigger owned this home bartender. M cringed after a sip of Cup A (mine), saying “there’s too much wine, it’s unbalanced” almost as if she was offended. Coincidentally, that was my fear with the ReJigger preparation. I found it difficult at first to pour wine into the small compartment without a slight overflow. M went to Cup B (the ReJigger) immediately without as much as a water rinse, fearing another bit of repulsion. Instead, she came away surprised—this drink she was ready to hate was instead totally tolerable, possibly even enjoyable. (I can confirm this was true, it was unmistakably smooth by comparison.)
For the second trial, it was time for Manhattans. Theoretically, this would provide a home bartender-advantage since it’s primarily a two-ingredient cocktail (whiskey and sweet vermouth) with dashes of bitters involved. In practice however, M sipped each cup twice before emphatically declaring, “I don’t really like Manhattans, but if I did, I’d order the first (ReJigger). It’s stronger.” No matter how much bias I wanted to have, a quick taste all but confirmed it—the ReJigger’s version was somehow more consistent compared to my seemingly watered-down Manhattan.
If you’re a more skilled home bartender, you may not need the Rejigger. But for $15, the ability to make noticeably better drinks in a more efficient manner is hard to pass up. On top of that, the ReJigger begins to quietly build your confidence—maybe combining any three somewhat complimentary flavors within this magic ratio can work?
Check out this video from the Rejigger’s successful Kickstarter campaign to see the Rejigger in action.