How many shots are in a fifth of whiskey?

A fifth of whiskey contains approximately 17 to 25 standard 1.5 ounce shots, depending on the proof of the whiskey. This equates to around 25.6 to 37.5 fluid ounces. Understanding how many shots are in a fifth of whiskey can help you plan for parties or events properly.

What is a Fifth of Whiskey?

A fifth is a common bottle size for liquor in the United States. It contains 25.6 fluid ounces or 750 milliliters. The term “fifth” refers to it being approximately one-fifth of a gallon. Other common liquor bottle sizes in the US include:

  • Mini bottle – 1.7 ounces
  • Pint – 16 ounces
  • Half gallon – 64 ounces
  • Gallon – 128 ounces

So a fifth of whiskey contains about 25% of a gallon, or 750ml. It’s an extremely popular bottle format that gives you a good amount of liquor while still being easily portable.

What is Considered a Shot of Whiskey?

A standard shot of whiskey in the United States is generally considered 1.5 ounces. This is the typical amount both shot glasses and bar measures pour. So when examining how many shots come in a fifth, we use 1.5 ounces as the standard shot size.

In some countries such as Australia and New Zealand, a shot may only be 30ml or 1 ounce. And in parts of Europe, shots could be as little as 20ml or 0.7 ounces. But throughout most of North America, a 1.5 ounce jigger is used.

How Proof Impacts Total Shots

The alcohol proof, or ABV (alcohol by volume), determines how many shots you’ll get out of a fifth. Proof is double the percentage of alcohol in a spirit. For example, an 80 proof whiskey is 40% ABV.

Higher proof whiskey has less liquid and more alcohol, resulting in fewer total shots per bottle. Lower proof whiskey has more liquid and less alcohol, giving you more shots.

Most major whiskies like Jack Daniel’s, Johnnie Walker, and Jameson are 80 proof (40% ABV). But small batch and single barrel whiskies often are higher proof, sometimes over 100 proof.

Standard Whiskey Proof Levels

  • 80 proof – 40% ABV
  • 86 proof – 43% ABV
  • 90 proof – 45% ABV
  • 94 proof – 47% ABV
  • 100 proof – 50% ABV
  • 101 proof – 50.5% ABV
  • 107 proof – 53.5% ABV
  • 114 proof – 57% ABV
  • 120 proof – 60% ABV
  • 123 proof – 61.5% ABV

As you can see, proof levels range quite a bit, especially between regular and premium/high-end whiskies. This affects the total shot count per fifth.

Shots Per Fifth at Different Proof Levels

Using the standard US shot of 1.5 ounces, here is how many shots come in a fifth at different popular proof levels:

Proof ABV Shots Per Fifth
80 proof 40% Approximately 17 shots
86 proof 43% Approximately 16 shots
90 proof 45% Approximately 15 shots
100 proof 50% Approximately 13 shots
107 proof 53.5% Approximately 12 shots
114 proof 57% Approximately 11 shots
123 proof 61.5% Approximately 10 shots

As you can see, the difference between an 80 proof and 100 proof whiskey is about 4-5 shots per fifth. So choosing a higher proof whiskey will yield fewer servings.

Factors That Change Total Shot Volume

There are a few variables that can alter how many shots ultimately come in a fifth bottle:

  • Bottle Fill Level – Bottles are not perfectly filled to precisely 750ml. There is often some headspace or variation.
  • Alcohol Lost During Aging – For aged spirits like whiskey, alcohol evaporates over years in the barrel, decreasing total liquid volume.
  • Budget Brands – Cheaper whiskies may contain slightly less than 25.6 ounces per fifth.
  • Extra Aging – Longer aged whiskies lose more volume during additional years in barrels.

While these factors can change the actual liquid amount slightly, their impact is minimal in most cases. You will still get approximately the number of shots listed based on the proof level.

Calibrating Your Shot Size

The standard US shot of 1.5 ounces is a good guideline. But you can also experiment with slightly smaller or larger shot sizes when pouring:

  • 1 ounce – This smaller shot will yield around 25 shots from a fifth.
  • 1.25 ounces – A slightly smaller shot size, giving you about 20-22 shots.
  • 2 ounces – A large double shot, resulting in 12-13 servings.

This lets you calibrate your pouring to meet your needs, going smaller to make the bottle last longer or larger for a strong drink.

Fifths and Shots in Recipes

Understanding fifth sizes and shot amounts also helps for drink and cocktail recipes. For example, a recipe may call for:

  • 1 fifth whiskey
  • 3 shots whiskey
  • 1/2 cup whiskey

You can use the information above to appropriately size and measure ingredients based on the whiskey fifth you have on hand.

Buying the Right Fifth Size

You can use the shot data above to help buy the right fifth size for your needs. For example:

  • Buying for a party? Get 2-3 fifths based on number of guests and desired drinks.
  • Stocking a bar cart? Get 1-2 fifths to hold a decent variety.
  • Making cocktails? A fifth lets you make 12+ drinks.

Understanding how many shots are in a fifth enables you to plan your whiskey purchases for any situation.

Other Whiskey Bottle Sizes

In addition to fifths, you can also buy whiskey in these other bottle formats:

Size Volume
Mini Bottle 1.7 ounces
Half Pint 8 ounces
Pint 16 ounces
Fifth 25.6 ounces
Quart 32 ounces
Half Gallon 64 ounces

The pint and half gallon sizes are also popular for whiskey. You can estimate shots per bottle using the proof calculations above.

Shooter Sizes vs. Shots

Shooters and shots are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a distinction:

  • Shot – 1 to 1.5 ounce serve of whiskey, usually sipped neat or on the rocks.
  • Shooter – 1 to 1.5 ounce whiskey serve taken quickly as a shot.

While shooter and shot sizes are the same, shooters are associated more with quickly drinking liquor rather than sipping and enjoying whiskey.

Should You Drink Whiskey as a Shot?

Drinking whiskey as a straight shooter is common at parties or bars. However, sipping whiskey slowly is recommended for properly tasting and appreciating flavors and aromas.

Whiskey experts suggest avoiding shooters, and instead advise:

  • Pour a proper 1 to 2 ounce shot
  • Smell and taste the whiskey slowly
  • Add a few drops of water to open up flavors
  • Sip over 10-20 minutes to fully experience the whiskey

While you can certainly take quick shooters for fun, sipping a whiskey properly is ideal for unlocking its subtle flavors and aromas.

Serving Whiskey in Cocktails

Whiskey shots are also commonly used as ingredients in cocktails, such as:

  • Old Fashioned
  • Manhattan
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Irish Coffee
  • Mint Julep

A fifth of whiskey gives you flexibility to both take straight shots and mix into 12+ delicious cocktails for parties and gatherings.

Should You Drink Whiskey Straight or on Ice?

Both whiskey shots and cocktails are often served straight up or on the rocks (over ice):

  • Straight Up – Served neat at room temperature in a rocks or shot glass. Allows you to fully taste the whiskey’s pure flavors.
  • On the Rocks – Served over ice cubes in an old fashioned glass. The ice cools the whiskey slightly and dilutes it a bit.

Many whiskey drinkers enjoy their shot or cocktail either way. But serving on rocks is more common in bars, while whiskey experts often advise drinking high-end whiskies neat.

Getting Buzzed vs. Getting Drunk on Whiskey

When drinking whiskey, it’s important to consume safely:

  • Getting Buzzed – Up to 3-4 shots/cocktails consumed slowly for light social drinking.
  • Getting Drunk – 5+ shots/cocktails consumed quickly to reach high intoxication.

Getting an enjoyable light buzz can be safe for most people. But getting fully drunk poses much higher health and safety risks.

To drink responsibly, sip whiskey slowly, space out drinks with water, don’t mix alcohols, and don’t drive after multiple shots or cocktails.

Hangovers and Whiskey Shots

Consuming too many whiskey shots in a short time increases your chance of a hangover. Symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Body aches

To help avoid hangovers, drink water between each shot, don’t overdo it, eat food, and get proper rest after drinking. Drinking in moderation is key.


A fifth of whiskey will give you around 17 to 25 shots, depending on the proof. Higher proof whiskies have more alcohol and less liquid, resulting in fewer shots per fifth. A standard US whiskey shot is considered 1.5 ounces.

Knowing approximately how many shots come in a fifth enables you to plan for parties, make cocktails, and purchase the right whiskey bottle size for your needs. Just be sure to drink responsibly and avoid excessive consumption to prevent hangovers and health risks.

Sip your whiskey slowly when possible, savoring the flavors and aromas. And be sure to stay safe and drink plenty of water if consuming multiple shots or cocktails in one occasion.

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