Is 2 oz a standard shot?

When it comes to pouring alcoholic drinks, especially spirits like vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey, the standard serving size is often referred to as a “shot.” But is 2 ounces truly the standard shot size, or can shots vary? Let’s take a closer look at some key questions around shot sizes and standards for pouring alcohol.

What is the standard shot size in the United States?

In the United States, a standard drink is defined as 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. This is the amount of alcohol found in:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor, which is usually about 7% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine, which is typically around 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits, which are usually around 40% alcohol

So in the US, a standard shot is considered 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof liquor, which contains roughly 14 grams of pure ethanol alcohol. This is the standard shot size that is used across the American bar and restaurant industry.

What are some other typical shot sizes?

While 1.5 ounces is the standard US shot size, other common shot sizes include:

  • 1 ounce – A smaller “shot” sometimes served at bars trying to reduce alcohol content.
  • 2 ounces – A larger shot size often used for straight whiskeys or vodka.
  • 3 ounces – The equivalent of three 1 ounce pours, sometimes served as a double or triple shot.

In some countries, the standard shot size is larger or smaller than the US standard 1.5 ounce shot:

  • United Kingdom – 35ml or 1.2 US fluid ounces
  • Australia – 30ml or 1 US fluid ounce
  • Japan – 45ml or 1.5 US fluid ounces
  • Russia – 50ml or 1.7 US fluid ounces

So while 2 ounces is larger than the standard US shot, it is considered a standard pour for some spirits in some drinking establishments.

Why is 2 ounces sometimes served as a shot?

There are a few reasons why some bars or restaurants may serve a larger 2 ounce pour as a shot, rather than the standard 1.5 ounce US shot:

  • Higher alcohol spirits – A 2 ounce pour is common for drinking straight liquors like whiskeys over 40% alcohol since the flavor stands up. This provides a bolder tasting experience.
  • Higher-end establishments – Some luxury bars and restaurants provide larger 2 ounce pours as part of an upscale experience.
  • Geographical/cultural norms – In some countries or regions a 2 ounce shot is norm, rather than 1.5 ounces.
  • Customer expectations – At some establishments, customers expect a larger shot so 2 ounces becomes the standard.

While not universal, it is fairly common to see a 2 ounce shot served, especially at higher quality establishments or for sipping certain straight liquors like whiskeys.

What does a 2 ounce shot look like?

Two ounces of 80 proof liquor looks equivalent to:

  • A jigger (shot glass) filled nearly to the top.
  • Two standard 1 ounce shot glass pours.
  • One pony glass filled approx halfway.
  • Approximately 4 tablespoons of liquor.

For reference, here is what a 2 ounce shot size looks like in different glassware:

Glassware Photo
Standard shot glass
Jigger (shot glass)
Pony glass

Do all liquors have the same shot size?

While 2 ounces is common for high proof liquors like whiskeys, standard 1.5 ounce shots are still more typical for lower proof liquors like:

  • Vodka – Typically 80 proof or 40% ABV
  • Gin – Often 80 proof as well
  • Rum – Ranges from 80 to 150 proof
  • Tequila – Usually 80 proof, sometimes 100 proof

For these lower alcohol spirits, a 2 ounce pour would be quite large and not standard. Shots are usually 1.5 ounces for vodka, gin, rum, and tequila.

When are double shots common?

While a single 2 ounce pour may be served as a shot at some places, ordering a “double shot” is requesting a larger, 4 ounce pour. Some instances where double shots are common include:

  • Clubs/parties – Double shots are popular in nightlife settings to get a bigger buzz.
  • Special occasions – People sometimes order doubles for celebrations or specific events.
  • High alcohol tolerance – Those with high tolerance may opt for a double shot for a stronger drink.

Double shots containing 4 ounces of liquor are not standard, but are certainly common in some drinking scenarios. The term “double” indicates two times the standard 1.5 ounce single shot size.

What are pony shots?

A pony shot is 1.5 ounces of liquor served in a specific glassware called a pony glass. These glasses are named for holding roughly the volume of a pony – a half standard shot. Some key attributes of pony shots include:

  • 1.5 fluid ounce volume
  • Served in 3-4oz pony glass
  • Glass has thick base and flared lip
  • Commonly used term in the United States
  • Primarily used for spirits like whiskey, tequila, vodka

So while the pony glass holds up to 4 ounces, a “pony shot” only refers to a standard 1.5 ounce shot pour that fits in the bottom half of this uniquely shaped glassware.

What are some other unique shot glass names and terms?

Beyond the common shot glass, jigger, and pony glassware, there are some other terms and glass names used for shots including:

  • Nip glass – A small 0.75-1.5 ounce glass for a short “nip” of liquor.
  • Tasters – 1 ounce sample pours of expensive liquors.
  • Snifters – 2 ounce mini spirit glasses for sipping.
  • Pousse cafe – Layered colorful after dinner cordial shots.
  • Shooters – Shots designed for quickly drinking (“shooting”).
  • Test tube shots – Uniquely shaped straight test tube shot glasses.

Beyond the pony glassware, all these other shot terms and glass types are defined more by the drinking culture and liqueur, rather than a specific alcohol volume.

Are shot sizes regulated in bars and restaurants?

Unlike technical manufacturing or food safety standards, there are no legal regulations around standard pour sizes for shots in bars and restaurants. Each establishment is free to choose their standard pours. However, there are some general industry norms:

  • Bars often abide by local norms – Whatever shot size is typical in a region becomes the standard.
  • Restaurants often pour standard 1.5 ounce shots for mixed drinks.
  • High-end places may pour heavier 2 ounce shots as part of upscale service.
  • Nightclubs sometimes pour extra heavy double shots for partying.

Within these general norms, individual business owners typically set serving size standards for their bartenders and wait staff to follow.

Do home bartenders follow shot size standards?

When making drinks at home, bartenders generally don’t carefully measure out every 1.5 ounce shot. In a casual home environment, shot sizes can vary more freely:

  • Experienced home bartenders often eyeball pours instead of measuring.
  • Standard liquor bottles make it easy to splash in “shot sized” pours.
  • Pour spouts can aid in delivering approximately 1.5 ounce shots.
  • Jiggers are still common for home bartenders who prefer to measure.

Without the formality of a bar or restaurant setting, home bartenders typically have more flexibility and variability in their shot pours when making drinks for themselves, friends, or family.

What are some tips for eyeballing shot sizes?

For experienced home bartenders who prefer to eyeball free pour shots instead of formally measuring, here are some tips for visually gauging standard 1.5 ounce and 2 ounce shots:

  • Use the tip of your index finger to divide liquor bottles into 1.5 ounce sections.
  • Reference common items like a lime wedge to visualize shot volumes.
  • Practice pouring into a jigger to train your eyes on standard sizes.
  • Imagine dividing a 12oz beer bottle into 8 standard shots.
  • Stack two quarters next to each other to envision a 2 ounce pour.

With a little practice and experience, you can train yourself to accurately eyeball proper shot sizes when making drinks at home without measuring tools.

Should you ask for shot size when ordering at a bar?

If you are very particular about shot size, it can be reasonable to ask the bartender about their pour amounts when ordering. However, some tips on asking include:

  • Ask discreetly – Don’t yell “how big are your shots?!” across the bar.
  • Ask politely – A kind “excuse me, how large are the shots here?” can get good results.
  • Avoid demands – Don’t insist on a specific size pour that may not be standard for them.
  • Tip well – If you receive good service, make sure to tip appropriately based on pour size.

While you can request shot size information, it is still up to the bartender’s discretion and their establishment’s standards. With polite discretion, you can find out their standard pours to set expectations.

In summary, is 2 ounces a standard shot size?

In summary:

  • The standard US shot is defined as 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  • However, 2 ounce shots are common at higher-end bars or for sipping spirits like whiskey.
  • Asking about standard pour size when ordering at an unfamiliar bar is reasonable.
  • Home bartenders typically have more flexibility in shot sizes when making casual drinks.

So while 1.5 ounces is still the most common and technically “standard” US shot size, 2 ounce shots are certainly not uncommon. The expected pour can vary based on geographical region, specific spirit, and drinking establishment.


Defining a “standard” shot ultimately comes down to the norms and regulations of drinking culture. The technical US standard is 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof liquor, but 2 ounce shots are still reasonably common at nicer bars and restaurants or for sipping whiskeys. With a typical 12oz liquor bottle divided into 8 shots, home bartenders also often consider a “shot” as simply being anywhere from 1-2 ounces. So in summary, while 1.5 ounces remains the standard US definition, 2 ounces is a very reasonable and common large shot size in many drinking establishments and situations.

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