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What Is a Standard Drink?

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol (about 0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons). Below are standard drink equivalents as well as the number of standard drinks in different container sizes for each beverage. These are approximate, as different brands and types of beverages vary in their actual alcohol content.

 
STANDARD
DRINK
EQUIVALENTS
APPROXIMATE
NUMBER OF

STANDARD DRINKS IN:
 
   BEER or COOLER
12 oz.
An image of a 12oz. glass
~5% alcohol
  • 12 oz. = 1
  • 16 oz. = 1.3
  • 22 oz. = 2
  • 40 oz. = 3.3
   MALT LIQUOR
8-9 oz.
An image of a 8-9 oz. glass
~7% alcohol
  • 12 oz. = 1.5
  • 16 oz. = 2
  • 22 oz. = 2.5
  • 40 oz. = 4.5
   TABLE WINE
5 oz.
An image of a 5 oz. glass.
~12% alcohol
  • a 750 mL (25 oz.) bottle = 5
   80-proof DISTILLED SPIRITS
1.5 oz.
An image of a 1.5 oz glass
40% alcohol
  • a mixed drink = 1 or more*
  • a pint (16 oz.) = 11
  • a fifth (25 oz.) = 17
  • 1.75 L (59 oz.) = 39

*Note: Depending on factors such as the type of spirits and the recipe, one mixed drink can contain from one to three or more standard drinks.

  
The percent of “pure” alcohol, expressed here as alcohol by volume (alc/vol), varies by beverage.

Although the “standard” drink amounts are helpful for following health guidelines, they may not reflect customary serving sizes. In addition, while the alcohol concentrations listed are “typical,” there is considerable variability in alcohol content within each type of beverage (e.g., beer, wine, distilled spirits).

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