Making a good drink isn't always the easiest endeavour. ReJigger, a Kickstarter project turned real product, aims to simplify the cocktail process for those of us playing the boozy home game. The democratization of the craft cocktail is a great idea, but here's the thing: You gotta respect the craft.
It's the weekend, you've made it through the long week, and it's time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo's weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. Jigger what? Jigger who?
What Is It?
The ReJigger ($US15) is basically a round plastic cup that's divided into three compartments: One large, one medium, and one small. You follow the included recipe guide (or one from their website), pouring one ingredient into each cup. For our review, we were also sent ReJigger's Silipint ($US10), which is a soft, silicone pint glass, and ReJigger's Advanced Recipe Guide ($US5). Both of which are sold separately from the ReJigger itself.
Why Does It Matter?
While lots of people enjoy a good cocktail at home, many folks are intimidated by the logistics of playing home mixologist. Not everybody has a bar spoon (or knows how to use one), jigger cups, shakers, and the like. This idea behind the ReJigger is a great one: Make it easier to make cocktails at home. Not everybody has the time, or patience, or interest for learning proper bartending techniques; that doesn't mean they should be deprived of a delicious potable in the comfort of their own kitchen.
The ReJigger is made of injection-moulded, clear, Eastman Tritan plastic, which is durable, BPA free, and dishwasher safe (it's used in a lot of sports and baby bottles). I did a couple drop-tests onto hard tile and it survived unscathed. It's wider at the mouth and then tapers down slightly. The inner large, medium, and small cups are supposed to be 56g, 28g and 14g, respectively.
The Silipint looks just like a pint-glass, except it's made of a thick silicone. It's rigid enough that you aren't accidentally going to squeeze out the contents, but it's still nice and flexible. The recipe guide (and Advanced Recipe Guide) are rigid and waterproof, which is good, considering you're probably going to spill your drinks on them at some point. The basic guide has nine recipes, and the Advanced guide has 25.
According to the directions that it comes with, there are just four steps:
- Pour your three ingredients into the proper compartments.
- Add all ingredients into a pint glass filled with ice.
- Place the ReJigger on top and shake for 20-30 seconds.
- Tilt the ReJigger, strain your cocktail into a glass and enjoy.
Sounds easy, yeah? Well, the devil is in the details.
For starters, it's actually pretty tricky to pour straight from a bottle into the oddly shaped cups, especially the smallest one. Once you've filled the little cups, transferring it to a pint glass is a relatively smooth operation, and I didn't have any problems with spillage. But then it gets a little trickier.
You're supposed to invert the ReJigger, clamp it down into the pint glass, and use it as a lid while you shake it. This is a total disaster. Despite using a perfectly standard pint glass, it was nearly impossible to maintain a proper seal while shaking. You have to press it down with so much force that it feels like the glass may slip out of your hands, and if the ReJigger shifts even a little bit (which it constantly wants to do) you will spray your cocktail all over.
That said, when I used the ReJigger with the Silipint, I did not have any spillage issues, as it made a much better seal with the soft rubber walls. It kinda makes you wonder, though, why didn't they just make the ReJigger out of silicone in the first place? That may have worked a whole lot better.
Once the shaking debacle has subsided, you tilt the ReJigger within the pint glass to use it as a strainer, assuming you're just trying to strain out large ice cubes. This, too, unfortunately doesn't work very well. It's awkward to hold and keep in the right position. Even when you succeed in doing that, it makes for a clumsy pour, with liquid often running down the side of the pint glass you're pouring from.
I like the idea of it. Cocktails made easier? What's not to love. Materials and build-quality are excellent on the ReJigger and it feels like it will last quite well. I actually really like the Silipint a lot! Not only does it seal with the ReJigger much better than a standard pint glass, but it's grippier to hold, it's totally unbreakable, and if you use very hot or very cold ingredients it insulates nicely, protecting your hand. I am pro Silipint!
Well, first off, re-read the Using It section above. That's pretty much all No Like, but it gets worse.
For starters, you're supposed to be able to experiment with standard cocktail recipes. That would necessitate knowing how big each of the cups is. You can't find that information anywhere on the site, but after contacting the company I learned they are supposed to be 59mL, 29.5mL and 14.7mL. Those would be great sizes for cocktail experimentation, except here's the thing: They aren't those sizes at all. The large one is 75.4mL and the medium one is 38.4mL. That is way, way off.
According to the instructions in the recipe guides, you are meant to shake all of the cocktails. That's just bad bartending. Any bartender worth his/her salt knows that some drinks are meant to be stirred, and some are meant to be shaken. Cocktails that are all spirits (for example a negroni) should be stirred. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's a special place in hell for bartenders that shake Manhattans.
Almost all of the recipes in the recipe guides are very sweet and rely heavily on juices. Some of them aren't bad (like the Big Elle, which uses gin, sweet vermouth, rhubarb shrub, and a dash of bitters), but more often than not, it seems that these recipes are tweaked so that they will fit into the three-cup paradigm. Also, frankly, some of them are abominations. For example, Zac's Smoky Ginger uses honey syrup, lemon juice, ginger, and Lagavulin. LAGAVULIN! You do not use a $US90/bottle 16-year-old single malt Scotch whisky when you're goofing around with cocktails.
Ultimately, flipping through the Advanced Recipe Guide, you just don't really see much that reflects the modern cocktail scene. The recipes seems thrown together and amateurish and the idea of paying $US5 for 25 recipes is absurd.
Should You Buy It?
No. This is a hard pass, even for just $US15. It's a great idea with really poor execution. Maybe there will someday be a second incarnation that will work better (with correctly measured cups, and that won't leak when you shake it), but today is not that day. The Silipint is awesome, though, and if you've got $US10 burning a hole in your pocket, there are worse ways to spend it. [ReJigger]