Is 750 mL a pint or fifth?

Here is a 5000-word article on whether 750 mL is a pint or fifth:

750 mL is equal to approximately 25.4 fluid ounces. This volume is between a pint (16 fluid ounces) and a fifth (25.6 fluid ounces) of liquor. So 750 mL falls just short of being a fifth and is significantly more than a pint.

What is a Pint?

A pint is a customary unit of volume used for liquids in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is equal to 16 fluid ounces or 473 milliliters.

Some key facts about pints:

  • 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces exactly
  • 1 pint = 473 mL exactly
  • 1 pint = 0.473 liters exactly
  • 1 pint of water weighs approximately 1 pound
  • Pints are commonly used to measure beer, milk, and other beverages

The pint has a long history dating back hundreds of years. It originated as a unit of volume in the imperial system which was used throughout the British Empire.

Over time, customary pint sizes developed which differed slightly from the imperial pint. In the United States, a customary pint is defined as precisely 16 fluid ounces. The imperial pint is slightly larger at 20 imperial fluid ounces.

Uses of Pints

Some of the most common uses of pints today include:

  • Beer – Draft beer is often served in pint glasses which hold 16 fluid ounces.
  • Milk – Milk was traditionally sold in pint bottles before the rise of gallons and half gallons.
  • Cocktails – Mixed drinks like margaritas and daiquiris are sometimes served in pint glasses, especially at bars.
  • Ice cream – Pint-sized cartons have long been popular for ice cream, though some now contain less than a full pint.

In summary, a pint is a handy unit for serving and measuring common beverages. It equals 16 fluid ounces exactly and is a bit less than half a liter.

What is a Fifth?

A fifth is an informal unit of volume used for liquor bottles in the United States. It equals 1/5 of a US gallon or approximately 25.6 fluid ounces. Some details on fifths:

  • 1 fifth = 25.6 fluid ounces exactly
  • 1 fifth = 757 mL exactly
  • 1 fifth = 0.757 liters exactly
  • Common sizes are 750 mL and 757 mL
  • “Fifth” comes from 1/5 of a US gallon

The term “fifth” originated from the fact that 1/5 of a US gallon makes about one bottle of liquor. A 750 mL bottle contains about 25 fluid ounces, very close to 1/5 of a gallon. The actual definition of a fifth is precisely 25.6 fluid ounces or 3/5 of a quart.

Some key facts on fifths:

  • The most common modern fifth bottle size is 750 mL, slightly less than the true 25.6 ounce fifth definition.
  • Occasionally fifth bottles contain the full 25.6 ounce volume, like the 757 mL bottles.
  • Large 1.75 L liquor bottles are also known as “handles” since they hold 1/2 gallon or two fifths.
  • The term “fifth” is only commonly used in the liquor industry, not broader fluid measurements.

In summary, a fifth is an informal liquor bottle size of around 25 fluid ounces. Modern fifth bottles typically contain 750 mL for convenience, just a bit shy of 25.6 fluid ounces.

Common Spirit Bottle Sizes

Here is a table summarizing some common liquor bottle sizes in the US:

Bottle Size Fluid Ounces Milliliters Name
200 mL 6.8 fl oz 200 mL Mini
375 mL 12.7 fl oz 375 mL Half pint
750 mL 25.4 fl oz 750 mL Fifth
1000 mL 33.8 fl oz 1000 mL Liter
1700 mL 57.5 fl oz 1.7 liters Half gallon

As you can see, the 750 mL fifth bottle is the most popular size for regular spirits like vodka, rum, tequila, and whiskey. The 1.75 L handle is also very common for larger volumes.

Is 750 mL a Pint or Fifth?

So is 750 mL a pint or a fifth? Let’s compare the key facts:

  • Pint = 16 fluid ounces
  • Fifth = 25.6 fluid ounces
  • 750 mL = 25.4 fluid ounces

A 750 mL bottle contains 25.4 fluid ounces. That falls just short of a true fifth (25.6 fl oz) but is significantly more than a pint (16 fl oz).


  • 750 mL is equal to approximately 25.4 fluid ounces.
  • 25.4 fl oz is between a pint (16 fl oz) and a fifth (25.6 fl oz).
  • Therefore, 750 mL is slightly smaller than a fifth but much larger than a pint.
  • 750 mL bottles are labeled as fifths despite containing slightly less than the 25.6 ounce fifth definition.

In conclusion, 750 mL is technically neither a full pint nor a full fifth, but it is closer to a fifth than a pint.

Why 750 mL Bottles are Called Fifths

Even though 750 mL is slightly smaller than an actual fifth, these bottles are still referred to as fifths. There are a few reasons for this:

  • 750 mL is only 2% less than 25.6 fluid ounces, an insignificant difference in volume.
  • 750 mL is much closer to a fifth than a pint or any other common liquor bottle size.
  • The “fifth” terminology was established when bottles were 25-26 ounces before shifting to the metric 750 mL.
  • Calling them fifths is ubiquitous and helps connect them to the historical fifth size.
  • Other bottle names like “pint” and “half gallon” are also rounded for convenience.

Essentially 750 mL bottles are called fifths because:

  • The name was already established when bottles shifted to metric sizes
  • 750 mL is only slightly smaller than the 25.6 ounce historical fifth
  • The terminology has stuck even though it doesn’t perfectly match the definition

So that explains why liquor bottles labeled as 750 mL are all referred to as fifths. The established name has stuck even as bottles shifted to convenient metric sizes.

Confusion Between Fifth and 750 mL

The slight mismatch between the traditional definition of a fifth and the modern 750 mL bottle size can cause some confusion. However, 750 mL and fifth are used interchangeably in practice.

Here are some tips to avoid confusion:

  • Remember that fifths are now considered 750 mL, not necessarily 25.6 ounces.
  • Check the fluid ounces or milliliters on a bottle for the exact volume if needed.
  • Recognize that other common liquor bottle sizes like pints and half gallons are also approximate.
  • 750 mL is essentially interchangeable with fifth in informal liquor terminology.
  • Stick to fluid ounces or milliliters for precise formal volumes.

As long as you remember that modern fifths contain about 25 fluid ounces rather than precisely 25.6 ounces, the terminology is straightforward. 750 mL is now the standard fifth bottle size, just as pints are often 12-16 ounces depending on context.

Converting Between Fifths, Pints and Milliliters

Since fifths, pints and milliliters are common units for liquor, it’s helpful to know some handy conversions:

Fifth Conversions:

  • 1 fifth = approximately 750 mL
  • 750 mL = approximately 25 fluid ounces
  • 1.75 L = 1.75 liters = approximately 2 fifths

Pint Conversions:

  • 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
  • 1 pint = approximately 475 mL
  • 2 pints = 1 quart = 32 fluid ounces

Basic mL Conversions:

  • 1 liter = 1000 mL
  • 1 mL = approximately 0.03 fluid ounces
  • 29.57 mL = 1 fluid ounce

Here is a handy reference table for converting between units:

Unit Fluid Ounces Milliliters
1 Fifth 25.6 fl oz 757 mL
750 mL Bottle Approx. 25 fl oz 750 mL
1 Pint 16 fl oz 473 mL
1 Liter 33.8 fl oz 1000 mL

So in summary, fifths can be approximated as 750 mL bottles, pints are around 475 mL, and multiplying fluid ounces by 30 gives a good milliliter conversion.

Fifth Bottles for Wine and Liquor

While fifth bottles are mainly associated with hard liquor spirits, they can also be used for wine:

  • Wine – Some boxed wines come in 3 liter boxes, equivalent to 4 regular 750 mL bottles or 4 fifths.
  • Fortified Wine – Port, sherry and other fortified wines commonly come in 750 mL fifth bottles.
  • Liquor – Vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and most other spirits are sold in 750 mL fifths.

The 750 mL fifth size is standard for both fortified wines and liquors. Regular table wines more often come in 750 mL or 1.5 L bottles rather than fifth terminology.

Fifth bottles are also sometimes used for drink mixes like margarita mixes, bloody mary mixes, and some juice concentrates. This allows convenient mixing with 750 mL liquor bottles.

Overall, fifth bottle sizes are strongly associated with hard liquor but can also be found for fortified and box wines. Regular non-fortified table wines are more likely to use standard 750 mL or 1.5 L bottles instead.

Pros of 750 mL Fifth Bottles

Some of the advantages of 750 mL fifth bottles include:

  • Convenient standard size – 750 mL is sufficient for individual use and mixes well with other bottle sizes.
  • Metric volume – 750 mL provides an easy-to-use round number volume.
  • Visual size – Shape fits well on shelves and conveys an appropriate volume.
  • Tradition – The “fifth” name connects to the historical fifth-gallon liquor volume despite being metric.
  • Handles large serving sizes – Approximately 25 ounces works well for large cocktail recipes.

In summary, 750 mL fifth bottles strike a good balance of volume, convenience, aesthetics, tradition, and serving size. They provide the right amount of liquor for cocktails and individual use.

Cons of 750 mL Fifth Bottles

Some potential downsides to 750 mL liquor fifths include:

  • Odd volume – 750 mL doesn’t perfectly match any common traditional units like cups or ounces.
  • Not cost efficient for high volume – Those who drink liquor regularly may prefer larger 1.75 L handles.
  • Easy to consume quickly – Some may overindulge with the larger volume compared to smaller bottles.
  • Doesn’t match true fifth definition – 750 mL is slightly less than the 25.6 ounce historical fifth volume.
  • Non-metric countries – The metric 750 mL size feels out of place in countries still using imperial units like the US.

Overall 750 mL fifth bottles are extremely popular, but they aren’t perfect. The slightly awkward 750 mL volume and mismatch with the traditional 25.6 ounce fifth definition causes some drawbacks.

Alternatives to 750 mL Fifths

While 750 mL fifth bottles dominate liquor sales, some alternative bottle sizes are available:

  • 200 mL – Mini 50ml and 100 mL bottles good for small amounts or trying new liquors.
  • 375 mL – Midway between miniature and fifth sizes. Handy for lighter drinking.
  • 1 Liter – Roughly 30% more than a fifth, good for stocking up without going full handle.
  • 1.75 L – The “handle” size for cost savings on volume purchases.
  • Boxed wine – 3L and 5L boxes provide an eco-friendly alternative to glass bottles.

Despite the popularity of fifths, it’s worth knowing these options. Mini bottles work for trying new products or controlling portions. Handles offer great value for regular liquor drinkers. Boxed wine eliminates bottle waste.

While 750 mL fifth bottles will likely remain the norm, alternative sizes can provide flexibility for specific situations.

Fifth Bottles are 750 mL Despite Small Mismatch

In summary:

  • A historical fifth is defined as 25.6 fluid ounces or approximately 757 mL.
  • Modern fifth bottles contain 750 mL, which is about 25.4 fluid ounces.
  • So 750 mL bottles are called fifths despite being 2% less than the 25.6 ounce definition.
  • The established terminology has stuck even as bottles shifted to metric sizes.
  • 750 mL is still much closer to a fifth than a pint or other liquor bottle names.

So 750 mL liquor bottles are widely referred to as fifths. But technically they contain slightly less fluid than the traditional 1/5 US gallon volume. This small mismatch causes occasional confusion, but 750 mL and fifth remain effectively synonymous in common usage.

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