How many ml is a normal shot of alcohol?

Quick Answer

A normal shot of alcohol is typically around 44 ml or 1.5 fluid ounces. This equates to about 14 grams of pure alcohol. The standard pour for a shot can range between 30-50 ml (1-1.75 oz) depending on factors like location and type of liquor. Shots may contain slightly more or less alcohol depending on the proof of the liquor. Overall, a typical single shot is generally about 42-44 ml.

What is Considered a Shot of Alcohol?

A shot of alcohol refers to a serving of a distilled liquor or spirit. It is usually consumed quickly, rather than slowly sipped. Shots are often associated with partying and drinking games, where the goal is to consume the alcohol quickly. However, shots can be taken casually outside of party settings as well.

The standard size for a shot is generally considered to be around 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 milliliters. However, the exact pour size for shots can vary considerably, ranging anywhere from 25 ml up to 75 ml. Typical shot sizes include:

– 30 ml (1 fluid oz): Often used as a “short” pour
– 44 ml (1.5 fluid oz): The most common standard shot size
– 50 ml (1.75 fluid oz): Sometimes used as a “generous” pour
– 60 ml (2 fluid oz): Used primarily in parts of Europe

So while 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 ml is considered the normal amount, a shot could realistically be anywhere from 1-2 ounces depending on where you are or who is pouring. Shots do not have an exact universal definition in terms of size.

What Influences Shot Sizes?

Several factors can influence how much a typical shot of liquor contains:


Standard shot sizes vary considerably around the world. For example:

– United States: 1.5 fluid ounces or 44 ml is the norm
– Australia and New Zealand: 30 ml (1 fl oz) is standard
– United Kingdom: 25-35 ml (0.8-1.2 fl oz) is typical
– Europe: 50 ml (1.75 fl oz) is commonly used

So the expectation for a shot size in a pub in England may be 30 ml, while a shot poured at an American bar would likely be 44 ml. Location plays a major role in customary serving sizes.

Type of Liquor

Some types of liquor are traditionally poured in larger shot quantities:

– Whiskey: Typically 1.5 fl oz/44 ml
– Vodka: Can range from 1-2 fl oz (30-60 ml)
– Tequila: Often 1.5 fl oz/44 ml in the US, sometimes 2 fl oz/60 ml in Mexico
– Rum: Around 1.5 fl oz/44 ml is standard
– Gin: Usually 1.5 fl oz/44 ml

So while 44 ml is a standard reference point, some liquors like vodka may have more variability in pour sizes. Tequila shots at a bar in Mexico might be bigger than a tequila shot poured in America.

Proof of the Liquor

The alcohol proof, or ABV (alcohol by volume), impacts the total alcohol content in a shot. For example:

– 40% ABV vodka: 1.5 fl oz shot = 0.6 fl oz pure alcohol
– 90% ABV Everclear: 1.5 fl oz shot = 1.35 fl oz pure alcohol

While both servings are 1.5 fl oz in volume, the high-proof Everclear shot contains more than twice as much actual alcohol. The proof or strength of the liquor can result in significant differences in its alcoholic content, even when shot volumes are equal. So a “normal” shot of high-proof liquor will have more alcohol than one of a lower-proof brand.

Establishment Type

Shots poured at casual restaurants or bars may be smaller than those at a nightclub or more liquor-focused bar. For example, a restaurant may pour a 30 ml shot of vodka while a club pours a 50 ml shot for the same price. Establishments focused on liquor sales tend to use larger shot sizes.

Country Drinking Culture

In some countries, excessive drinking is more socially acceptable than others. Countries like Russia and Poland may have larger standard shot sizes due to different cultural attitudes toward drinking. So shot sizes can be dependent on local drinking norms and behaviors.


Bars sometimes adjust shot sizes based on the price point or brand. A premium or high-priced liquor may come in a 50ml shot, while the well liquor could be a 30ml pour for a lower price. Pricier shots are sometimes bigger to help offset their higher cost compared to cheaper well liquors.

So in summary, many variables including location, liquor type, bar type, distillery and pricing can influence standard shot sizes around the world. The typical range falls between 30-50ml, with 44ml (1.5oz) being the most common “standard” single shot size.

Shot Sizes Around the World

Here is an overview of typical single shot sizes in countries around the world:

Country Typical Shot Size
United States 44 ml (1.5 fl oz)
United Kingdom 25-35 ml (0.8-1.2 fl oz)
Canada 44 ml (1.5 fl oz)
Australia 30 ml (1 fl oz)
New Zealand 30 ml (1 fl oz)
France 45 ml
Germany 20-30 ml
Japan 45 ml
Mexico 45-60 ml
Russia 50-60 ml
Poland 50 ml

As shown, the standard or common single shot size can vary significantly across different countries based on local customs and drinking culture. The United States, along with Canada and Japan, follow the 44 ml (1.5 fl oz) average. Countries like Mexico and Russia tend to use larger 50-60 ml shot sizes, while the UK and some European countries have smaller 25-35 ml pours. Australia and New Zealand have notably small 30 ml (1 fl oz) shot standards. So shot sizes around the world span a range from 25-60 ml.

Alcohol Content of Shots

Now that we’ve covered the typical sizes of shots globally, how much pure alcohol is actually in a standard 44 ml shot? This depends primarily on the proof of the liquor.

Proof represents the percentage of pure ethanol alcohol within a liquor. For example:
– 40% ABV = 80 proof
– 50% ABV = 100 proof
– 75% ABV = 150 proof

Common proofs for popular liquors are:

Liquor Typical Proof
Vodka 70-100 proof (35-50% ABV)
Gin 80-100 proof (40-50% ABV)
Rum 80-150 proof (40-75% ABV)
Tequila 70-110 proof (35-55% ABV)
Whiskey 80-120 proof (40-60% ABV)

So using the typical 80 proof vodka as an example:
– 1.5 fl oz shot of 80 proof vodka = 0.6 fl oz of pure alcohol
– For 80 proof liquors, a 44 ml shot = 14 grams of alcohol

This means a standard 44 ml shot of 80 proof liquor contains around 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure ethanol alcohol.

Higher proof liquors would contain more alcohol content by volume. For example, a 100 proof liquor shot would have around 17 grams of pure alcohol.

So while shot sizes vary around the world, a common single shot of around 80 proof liquor generally contains about 14 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol no matter where you are. This represents over one unit or “drink” of alcohol.

How Shot Sizes Compare to Other Drinks

It’s also helpful to understand how shot sizes compare to servings of beer, wine or other alcoholic drinks.

Some equivalencies to a 44 ml shot include:

– 5 oz glass of 12% ABV wine
– 12 oz serving of 5% ABV beer
– 1.5 oz standard “shot” of 40% distilled liquor
– 1.7 oz “double shot” of 40% liquor

All of the above represent about .6 fl oz of pure alcohol, or one alcoholic drink. So a 44 ml shot has a similar alcohol quantity as a typical glass of wine or bottle of beer. The alcohol concentration is just delivered in a smaller volume.

In the United States, one “standard drink” is defined by the CDC as anything containing 0.6 fl oz or 14 grams of pure alcohol. So a 44 ml shot aligns with this standard drink definition.

However, it’s important to note that these are just approximations. Actual alcohol content can vary based on the exact ABV, serving size, and specific beverage. But in general, a shot compares reasonably to one beer, glass of wine or other standard drink.

Factors That Alter Alcohol Impact

While a 44 ml shot may contain a standardized amount of alcohol, several other factors besides volume impact intoxication levels including:

Drinking Speed

Shots are meant to be consumed quickly. Drinking the same amount of alcohol rapidly rather than over hours results in higher peak blood alcohol concentration.

Food Intake

Shots on an empty stomach are absorbed faster than when consumed with food, which can delay alcohol absorption.

Body Size & Composition

Body size, fat/muscle ratio, hydration levels and genetics influence alcohol absorption and tolerance.

Age & Experience

Older, experienced drinkers may better tolerate larger doses than inexperienced youths due to built-up tolerance.

So while shot volume gives a reference point for potential alcohol intake, many personal and behavioral factors also contribute to overall intoxication from a specific shot size.

How Many Shots to Reach Legal Limits

Most countries have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% for legally operating a motor vehicle. How many shots does it take to reach this level?

It depends on several individualized factors, but some general estimates are:

– For a 120 lb female: 2-3 typical shots over 1 hour
– For a 180 lb male: 3-4 typical shots over 1 hour
– On an empty stomach versus after a meal/snack

Consuming shots in quick succession on an empty stomach, as is common at parties or clubs, can more rapidly elevate BAC. Having food in the stomach can help slow absorption.

But generally speaking, consuming around 3-4 typical 44 ml shots within an hour can put many people near or over the 0.08% BAC limit. However, the actual number will vary for each person based on genetics, weight, tolerance and other alcohol-related factors.

It is also possible to reach potentially dangerous levels through binge drinking. For example:

– For a 120 lb female: ~5-7 shots in 2 hours
– For a 180 lb male: ~7-9 shots in 2 hours

Consuming higher quantities in this manner can result in extreme intoxication, potential alcohol poisoning and dangerous BAC levels above 0.15%.

So while a single typical shot may not instantly cause intoxication, consuming multiple shots in quick succession, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to unsafe BAC elevations for driving or other activities. Moderation and pacing when drinking shots is advised.

What is Considered Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking refers to consuming a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time with the intention to become intoxicated. But how many drinks or shots qualifies as binge drinking?

According to the CDC, binge drinking involves:

– For women: 4 or more standard drinks within 2 hours
– For men: 5 or more standard drinks within 2 hours

So for a female, consuming 4 shots (about 5.5 oz of liquor) within a couple hours would qualify as binge drinking. For a male, 5 shots (around 7 oz of liquor) in the same timeframe would be considered binge levels.

However, some organizations use narrower definitions, with binge drinking for women defined as 3 or more drinks in ~2 hours.

Binge drinking, as compared to taking shots at a slower pace with food intake, confers increased risks of:

– Alcohol poisoning
– Impaired motor skills and judgment
– Increased risk of accidents
– Memory blackouts
– Alcoholism
– Organ damage
– Death at high levels

While taking an occasional shot may not be high risk, binge drinking shots and other liquor in a compressed timeframe is considered dangerous and unhealthy. Moderation is advised if consuming multiple shots or other alcoholic drinks.

How to Drink Shots Responsibly

While taking shots is common at parties, bars and other gatherings, it is possible to minimize risks when drinking them:

– Eat food before and while drinking to slow absorption
– Space out shots, and alternate with water/non-alcoholic drinks
– Limit total shots based on your experience and tolerance
– Never drive right after taking multiple shots – use a rideshare or public transit
– Stay hydrated to reduce next day hangover effects
– Avoid binge drinking levels of shots in short timeframes
– Don’t participate in high-risk drinking games involving shots
– Avoid mixing shots of different liquors
– Stick to water, juice or non-alcohol late at night before bed

Following these tips can help promote safety and moderation when consuming shots in social environments. While taking shots has risks, being mindful of intake pace, hydration, food and transportation can help reduce potential hazards.


A single shot of liquor is commonly defined as being 44 milliliters or 1.5 fluid ounces. However, shot sizes vary significantly based on geographic location, liquor type, establishment, and other factors. Typical shot sizes range from 25-60ml worldwide. A standard 44 ml shot in the United States contains approximately 14 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol alcohol when using 80 proof liquor. This represents about one alcoholic drink equivalent.

Consuming shots too quickly, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to intoxication and dangerous blood alcohol levels. Moderation is key. To minimize risks, aim for no more than 1-2 shots per hour with food intake and alternate with non-alcoholic beverages. Always avoid driving right after taking shots, and be cautious of binge drinking levels. While taking straight liquor shots has risks, being a mindful and educated consumer can help reduce negative outcomes.

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