How many cups does a shot glass hold?

A shot glass is a small glass designed to hold or measure spirits or liquor, which are also referred to as shots. Shot glasses come in different sizes, typically ranging from 1 to 3 fluid ounces (30 to 89 mL). The most common size used for taking straight shots of liquor is 1.5 ounces (44 mL). So how many cups does a standard 1.5 ounce shot glass hold?

What is a Shot Glass?

A shot glass is a small drinking glass designed to hold a shot of liquor, which is usually consumed in one sip. Some key characteristics of shot glasses include:

  • They are generally very small, holding 1 to 3 ounces of liquid.
  • They have short heights to easily allow the contents to be consumed quickly.
  • They are typically made of clear glass so the type of liquor can be easily identified.
  • They may have markings on the side indicating the volume of the glass.

The purpose of a shot glass is to quickly consume a small amount of straight liquor. Shots are often associated with parties and social drinking. Doing multiple shots of hard liquor in a short period can have a very fast and intense effect on inebriation. Overall, a shot glass is used as a measuring tool to standardize a single serving of a spirit.

Standard Shot Glass Sizes

While there is some variation in sizes, there are several standard capacities for shot glasses:

  • 1 ounce – A 1 ounce shot glass holds exactly 1 fluid ounce. This is the smallest common shot glass size.
  • 1.5 ounces – The most popular standard shot glass size in the United States holds 1.5 fluid ounces. This is commonly used to serve spirits like vodka, rum, tequila, and whiskey as shots.
  • 2 ounces – A 2 ounce shot glass holds 2 fluid ounces. This is on the larger side for a shot glass and sometimes used for layered shooters.
  • 3 ounces – A 3 ounce shot glass can hold up to 3 fluid ounces. This is an unusually large shot glass best suited for layered drinks and shooters.

The glass size used to serve shots depends on the type of liquor and the desired impact. Straight spirits like vodka and tequila are commonly served in 1.5 ounce glasses. More viscous liquors like whiskey may be served in 2 ounce shot glasses. For shooters with multiple liqueurs, 3 ounce glasses allow layering and combinations.

How Many Cups are in a Shot Glass?

Now that we know what a shot glass is and the common sizes, how does it convert to cups? Here is the cup measurement for standard shot glass volumes:

Shot Glass Size Cups
1 ounce 1/8 cup
1.5 ounces (common shot size) 3/16 cup
2 ounces 1/4 cup
3 ounces 3/8 cup

As you can see, the most popular 1.5 ounce shot glass size equals 3/16 of a cup. That’s helpful to know for converting drink recipes or measures into cups.

Converting Shots to Cups

Using the standard conversions above, we can find a cup measurement for any number of shots:

  • 1 shot (1.5 ounces) = 3/16 cup
  • 2 shots = 3/8 cup
  • 3 shots = 1/2 cup
  • 4 shots = 2/3 cup
  • 6 shots = 1 cup
  • 8 shots = 1 1/3 cups
  • 12 shots = 2 cups

If you know the number of shots as a volume, simply multiply that by 3/16 to get the cup conversion. For example:

  • 9 ounces of shots x (3/16 cup per 1.5 ounces) = 5 1/3 cups

Using these conversions can be helpful for planning parties. If you buy a liter bottle of vodka that holds 33 ounces, that equals 22 shots or about 3 1/2 cups of vodka.

Comparing Shot Sizes

To put it in perspective, here is how the ounce size of a shot compares to household items:

  • 1 ounce shot – about the same as 1-2 gulps
  • 1.5 ounce shot – similar to an espresso
  • 2 ounce shot – approximately the same as a lemon lime soda
  • 3 ounce shot – comparable to a juice box

As you can see, even the largest standard 3 ounce shot glass still holds much less than an entire cup. The small ounce amounts in a shot are meant to be consumed rapidly as a single sip and measured precisely.

Why Measure Shots in Cups?

There are two main reasons someone may want to convert shot measurements into cups:

  1. Cooking/Baking: Some cocktail-inspired recipes may call for a certain number of shots. Using cup conversions can be helpful for accurately measuring out the right amounts.
  2. Estimating Alcohol Volumes: For planning parties or events, it can be useful to estimate the total cups of alcohol needed based on the number of shots expected to be served.

Here are some examples of when shot-to-cup conversions can come in handy:

  • A cocktail recipe calls for “3 shots of vodka” – Using the conversion, you would add 1/2 cup vodka.
  • You’re planning a New Year’s Eve party for 50 people and estimate everyone will have an average of 4 shots – That equals around 25 cups of liquor to buy.
  • Your holiday punch recipe says “1 shot rum per serving” – For a party of 30, that would be 5 cups of rum.

Knowing these shot equivalencies in cups simplifies measuring for recipes or party planning. While shot glasses are designed for precision drinking, cups are better for combining ingredients.

Cup Conversions for other spirits

The standard shot glass size of 1.5 ounces can be used to convert any type of spirit or liquor into cups using the 3/16 ratio. However, here are some other common cup conversions:


  • 5 ounces wine = 1/2 cup
  • 1 standard 750mL wine bottle = about 25 ounces = 3 1/3 cups


  • 12 ounces beer = 1 1/2 cups (1 can or bottle)
  • 16 ounces beer = 2 cups (pint glass)


  • 4 ounces champagne = 1/2 cup
  • Standard 750mL bottle = 25 ounces = 3 1/3 cups

So a pint of beer is actually more than a whole cup, while a 5 ounce glass of wine is exactly half a cup. Use these handy reference points for drink recipes or planning your next event.

Things to Consider

When converting shot amounts into cups, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Shot sizes can vary slightly – Always check the exact ounce capacity if precision is vital
  • Different liquors may have slightly different densities
  • Recipes may specify fluid ounces rather than shots
  • Always measure carefully for cooking/baking recipes to avoid errors
  • These cup conversions are approximate estimates, not exact measures

While the cup equivalents provide useful guidance, there will always be slight variances. For cooking, carefully measure amounts rather than relying solely on conversions. When simply estimating amounts or party quantities, the standard conversions offer a good ballpark figure.

Standard Drink Definitions

Beyond just converting to cups, shots can also be compared to “standard drinks.” A standard drink is a measure used in the United States to define amounts of alcohol equivalent to each other. This makes it easy to track alcohol volumes across different beverages. Here are the standard drink definitions:

  • 12 ounces of beer = 1 standard drink
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor = 1 standard drink
  • 5 ounces of wine = 1 standard drink
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits = 1 standard drink

As you can see, the typical 1.5 ounce shot equates to one standard drink. This measure is useful for monitoring alcohol consumption and understanding limits, like how many standard drinks are considered moderate vs heavy intake.

Measuring Shots Precisely

While converting to cups is useful for estimates, the only way to precisely measure liquor shots is by using an actual shot glass or other measured jigger/beaker. Here are some considerations for accurate shot measurements:

  • Use a clear liquid measuring cup with volume markings
  • Pour carefully until the liquid reaches the desired ounce line
  • Use a jigger tool designed specifically for measuring shots
  • Read the volume etched into the glass – Don’t just assume a shot glass holds 1.5 ounces
  • Use a bartending measuring spoon if fractions of an ounce are required

With the proper tools and careful technique, you can measure shots down to the exact fluid ounce or fraction needed for cocktails and recipes.

Shot Glass FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about shot glass sizes and using them:

How much is a shot of alcohol?

A standard shot of liquor is generally considered 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 milliliters.

How many ounces is a shot glass?

While shot glass sizes range from 1-3 ounces, the most common standard size is 1.5 ounces.

Can shots be larger than 1.5 ounces?

Yes, it’s possible to have larger shot sizes like 2 or 3 ounce glasses. However, 1.5 ounces is the standard size people refer to when talking about taking a “shot.”

Are all shot glasses the same size?

No, shot glass sizes can vary, so you shouldn’t assume they all hold 1.5 ounces. Check each glass for its ounce capacity.

Should you fill a shot glass to the top?

No, only fill it to the ounce line marking – filling completely to the top will over-pour. The line shows the proper fill level.

Can you use a shot glass to measure ingredients?

Yes, a shot glass can be used to measure small amounts of liquids in cooking, baking, and cocktails.


In summary, the most common 1.5 ounce shot glass size equals 3/16 of a cup. This standard conversion makes it easy to estimate cups of alcohol for recipes or party planning based on the number of shots. However, for truly precise measurement, always use a properly marked shot glass or measuring tool.

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