A shot glass typically holds 1.5 ounces or 44 milliliters of liquid. The size of a shot can vary, but this is the standard size used for measuring spirits or liquor.
What is a shot glass?
A shot glass is a small glass designed to hold or measure spirits or liquor, which is typically served or consumed as a single serving. Shot glasses are also used to serve cordials and liqueurs. They are generally small, cylindrical, and made of glass. Shot glasses often hold 1 to 3 ounces of liquid.
The most common size for a shot glass is 1.5 ounces or 44 milliliters. This is the standard size used as a jigger or measurer in bars and restaurants when making cocktails or other mixed drinks. So one “shot” of hard liquor is generally considered to be 1.5 ounces.
Some key characteristics of standard shot glasses:
- Hold between 1 and 3 ounces, with 1.5 ounces being the most common.
- Small and cylindrical – usually around 1.5 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches tall.
- Typically made of glass, but can be made from plastic or metal.
- Often have markings on the side indicating ounces or milliliters.
- Designed for single serve of spirits, liqueurs, and cordials.
History of the shot glass
Shot glasses likely originated in the 1800s as a way to serve spirits and liquor in a standard sized single serving. Before that, spirits were often served in containers of varying sizes and shapes.
As liquor and cocktails grew in popularity in the late 1800s, the need for standard measurement arose. This led to the creation of the jigger – a metal tool used to measure out shots. The word “jigger” itself is from the 1800s and referred to a 1.5 ounce serving of liquor.
Bartenders found shot glasses useful for quickly and easily measuring out a standard pour. From the late 1800s to early 1900s, shot glasses became common barware and spread in popularity. They were used to serve straight spirits as well as build cocktails.
Many credit the rise of the shot glass to the Prohibition era in the 1920s and early 1930s in the United States. Underground speakeasies and cocktail culture drove the need for quickly serving liquor in individual servings.
Over the years, shot glass styles and designs have evolved and they are now popular souvenirs, collectibles, and novelty items. The standard 1.5 ounce size remains the norm for bars and restaurants.
Standard liquor pour sizes
In addition to the standard 1.5 ounce shot, here are some common liquor pour sizes:
- Nip – 1 ounce pour
- Pony – 1.5 to 1.75 ounces
- Shot – 1.5 ounces
- Double – 3 ounces (two 1.5 ounce shots)
There are some regional differences and slang terms as well. For example, in Wisconsin a “shorty” is a 1 ounce pour and a “long” refers to a 1.5 ounce standard shot.
In the United Kingdom, a single or 25ml is the common shot size. A double would be 50ml. Japan also considers a single serving of spirits to be 25ml or 30ml.
Canadian shot sizes are generally consistent with the US at 1 to 2 ounces. In Australia, a standard 30ml shot is common.
How many shots in different alcohol bottle sizes?
Here’s a breakdown of approximately how many 1.5 ounce shot sized servings are in different common liquor bottle sizes:
- Pint (16 oz) – 10 to 11 shots
- Fifth (750ml) – approximately 17 shots
- Half liter (500ml) – 11 to 12 shots
- Liter (1000ml) – Approximately 33 shots
- 1.75 L – Approximately 59 shots
There are some caveats here. First, this is assuming a full bottle. Also keep in mind that overpouring can alter the numbers. But this provides a general estimate of how many standard pours are in different liquor bottle volumes.
Shot glass sizes and variants
While 1.5 ounces is the standard, shot glass sizes can vary including:
- Mini shot – Usually 0.75 to 1 ounce.
- Double shot – Holds 2 to 3 ounces.
- Oversized or mega shot – Holds 3 to 4 ounces.
There are also some shot glass variants to be aware of:
- Shooter – A tall, narrow shot glass intended for shooters or bomb shots.
- Rocks glass – Shorter and wider tumbler that can function as a makeshift shot glass.
- Test tube shot – Made to look like a lab test tube and often used for shooters.
How many shots to get drunk?
How many shots it takes to get legally drunk or experience alcohol intoxication depends on a variety of individual factors. These include:
- Your body weight and composition
- Your metabolism
- Your tolerance to alcohol
- What you’ve eaten and how much
- The alcohol proof of the liquor
As a very general guideline, it could take 2 to 4 standard shots consumed within an hour to put someone near or over the legal limit for intoxication of 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) in the US. However, this varies significantly based on the factors mentioned.
For someone smaller or with lower alcohol tolerance, just 1 to 2 shots may put them over the edge. While someone larger with higher tolerance may require 4 to 5 drinks in close succession to near legal intoxication levels.
It’s important to note that alcohol tolerance can increase with frequent, higher levels of drinking. So relying on your ability to “hold your liquor” is not a good gauge for when you are unsafe to drive or engage in activities requiring alertness and coordination.
When consuming alcohol, it’s best to pause and assess how you feel before considering another drink. Factors like food intake, hydration, and pace of drinking also impact alcohol absorption over time.
Blood alcohol content (BAC)
Blood alcohol content or BAC refers to the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream. It is measured as weight of alcohol per volume of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.08% means 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
BAC rises as you consume more alcohol faster than your body can metabolize and eliminate it. Over 0.08% BAC is legally intoxicated in most US states. But impairment can occur at lower BAC levels.
It takes about 6 to 8 hours for the body to fully metabolize and remove a standard drink from your system. So BAC continues to climb if you consume multiple drinks back to back before it can return to zero.
Higher BAC levels result in greater impairment of coordination, reaction time, judgment, and decision making. Severe intoxication can occur above 0.25% BAC and potential alcohol poisoning above 0.40%.
Factors like body weight, metabolism, tolerance, and food intake impact BAC level from a given number of drinks. But controlling pace of drinking and total intake are the best ways to limit alcohol impairment.
What is considered binge drinking?
According to the CDC, binge drinking refers to:
- 5 or more drinks for men within 2 hours.
- 4 or more drinks for women within 2 hours.
This brings a person’s BAC to the legal intoxication limit of 0.08% or close to it. Binge drinking is considered a dangerous pattern of alcohol consumption.
The risks of binge drinking include:
- Impaired judgment and coordination
- Higher risk of alcohol poisoning
- Increased risk of injury or death from accidents
- Memory blackouts
- Potential brain damage from excessive intake
Frequent binge drinking can damage health over time and may indicate an alcohol use disorder. Experts advise limiting intake to moderate levels and avoiding binge behavior.
Responsible alcohol consumption
To consume alcohol responsibly and in moderation, experts suggest guidelines such as:
- No more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 for men.
- Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Drink water to avoid dehydration.
- Eat food before and while drinking.
- Pace drinks to around 1 per hour.
- Don’t drink more than 3 to 4 drinks on any day.
- Avoid binge drinking behavior.
Controlling pace of drinking and staying hydrated helps prevent sudden spikes in BAC. Eating helps slow absorption. Knowing limits and not exceeding them reduces risks of impairment or potential health effects.
Drinking responsibly checklist
Here is a simple checklist to follow for responsible drinking:
- Limit total drinks – No more than 2 to 3 is a good range for most people.
- Pace yourself – 1 drink per hour is a good rule of thumb.
- Alternate with water – Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
- Eat before and during – Food in your system helps regulate absorption.
- Measure drinks – Use a shot glass or jigger so you know the standard serving size.
- Know your limits – And don’t go beyond what your body can safely handle.
- Have a plan – Like a designated driver or rideshare to ensure you get home safe.
Following responsible drinking habits can help promote safety, health, and wellbeing for yourself and those around you.
In summary, a standard shot glass holds 1.5 ounces or 44 milliliters of liquid. This is considered a single serving of straight liquor or spirits. The number of shots it takes to reach intoxication varies by many individual factors. But responsible drinking entails knowing your limits, pacing intake, staying hydrated, and getting home safely. Following safe alcohol consumption habits can help reduce risks and promote wellbeing.