Is 8 ounces of vodka enough to get drunk?

Whether 8 ounces of vodka is enough to get drunk depends on a variety of factors including your body weight, gender, alcohol tolerance, and the length of time you drink the vodka in. Drinking 8 ounces of vodka would lead to intoxication and feelings of drunkenness in most people, but the level of drunkenness can vary greatly between individuals.

Quick Answer

For most adults, drinking 8 ounces of vodka within 1-2 hours would likely cause a significant level of intoxication, impairment in motor skills and judgment, and a feeling of drunkenness. However, alcohol tolerance levels vary, and some individuals may not reach legal intoxication levels from 8 ounces of vodka alone.

How Many Standard Drinks is 8 Ounces of Vodka?

To determine how intoxicating 8 ounces of vodka may be, it helps to understand standard drink sizes. In the United States, one standard drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer (around 5% alcohol)
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor (around 7% alcohol)
  • 5 ounces of wine (around 12% alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (around 40% alcohol)

Since vodka is a distilled spirit with around 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof), 8 ounces of vodka equates to around 16 standard drinks.

Blood Alcohol Concentration

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. Your BAC goes up when you drink faster than your body can metabolize and eliminate the alcohol. A BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered legally impaired in most states. Many people exhibit signs of drunkenness at lower BAC levels as well.

For the average adult, it takes around 2 hours for the liver to fully metabolize a single standard alcoholic drink. So if you consume 2 drinks per hour, your BAC will steadily climb rather than decrease. Drinking 16 standard drinks (8 ounces of vodka) within 2 hours could potentially bring a 150-pound male or female past a BAC of 0.20% – over twice the legal limit.

Estimated BAC Levels*

Drinker Weight 2 hours 1 hour
120 lbs 0.26% 0.34%
150 lbs 0.21% 0.27%
180 lbs 0.17% 0.22%

* Rough estimates only, actual BAC depends on many factors.

As shown, drinking 8 ounces of vodka in one hour could potentially bring a 150 pound person to around a 0.27% BAC. The same amount over 2 hours could result in around 0.21% BAC.

Effects and Symptoms of a 0.20% BAC

A 0.20% BAC or above represents severe intoxication with the following common effects:

  • Significantly impaired balance, movement and coordination
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired memory, judgment and decision-making
  • Nausea, vomiting or blackouts may occur
  • Loss of consciousness is possible

Most people would be unable to safely operate a vehicle or make rational choices at this level of impairment. Blackouts or alcohol poisoning become increasingly likely as BAC rises past 0.20%.

Factors that Influence Alcohol Intoxication

While drinking 8 ounces of vodka would lead to drunkenness in most individuals, some important factors influence just how impaired someone may get:

Body Weight and Composition

Someone who is larger or has more muscle mass is likely to reach a lower BAC than a smaller person from the same amount of vodka. Muscle tissue contains more water to help dilute alcohol in the bloodstream. Women also tend to have higher BACs than men of the same weight after drinking equivalent amounts.

Genetic Differences

Genetic variations in liver enzymes that metabolize alcohol mean some individuals may eliminate it faster or slower than average. People of East Asian descent often have a variant that impairs alcohol metabolism, making intoxication more likely at lower amounts.

Food Intake

Drinking vodka on an empty stomach allows the alcohol to be absorbed faster, whereas a full stomach slows the rate of absorption into the bloodstream somewhat.

Alcohol Tolerance

Those who regularly drink heavy amounts of alcohol tend to develop tolerance and may not reach the same BAC as others from 8 ounces of vodka. However, tolerance does not change alcohol’s damaging effects on coordination and decision-making.

Time Span of Drinking

Taking shots of vodka within an hour or less maximizes the peak BAC. Drinking the same amount over 2-3 hours allows more time for the body to metabolize the alcohol, resulting in a lower peak BAC.

Health Risks of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking refers to consuming a large amount of alcohol in a single occasion – generally defined as 5+ drinks for men and 4+ for women within two hours. Downing 8 ounces of vodka would qualify as binge drinking and poses serious health and safety risks:

  • Alcohol poisoning – vomiting, loss of consciousness, respiratory depression
  • Injuries and accidents – falls, burns, motor vehicle crashes
  • Risky behavior – unprotected sex, violence, criminal activity
  • Alcohol blackouts – short-term memory loss while intoxicated
  • Long-term liver damage and neurological effects

Trying to drink large amounts of vodka or other alcohol quickly is extremely dangerous. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal in severe cases where choking on vomit or respiratory system shutdown occurs.

Safe Alcohol Consumption Guidelines

To avoid binge drinking and reduce risks from excessive alcohol intake:

  • Drink no more than 1-2 standard drinks per day as a woman, or 2-3 as a man.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to pace yourself.
  • Eat food before or while drinking to slow absorption.
  • Allow at least 1 hour per drink for the alcohol to metabolize before driving.
  • Never drink to the point of impairment or blacking out.

Consuming vodka or other spirits by the ounce is not necessary to enjoy alcohol responsibly and avoid intoxication. Moderating your intake and drinking at a measured pace leads to a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Signs You’ve Had Too Much Vodka

If you experience any of the following after drinking vodka, it’s a sign you are becoming dangerously impaired or possibly approaching alcohol poisoning:

  • Difficulty walking or standing upright without stumbling or falling down
  • Extreme drowsiness, inability to stay awake
  • Being unable to stop vomiting
  • Severe confusion, disorientation or hallucinations
  • Irregular or dangerously slow breathing
  • Skin that is clammy, pale or blue-tinged
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures

At this point, you need immediate medical attention. Tell someone to call 911 or get to an emergency room right away. Don’t wait for symptoms to potentially get worse.


Drinking 8 ounces of vodka within an hour or two would cause profound intoxication in most people, likely past the legal limit for operating a vehicle safely. However, alcohol tolerance and genetic factors can alter individual responses. To avoid alcohol poisoning and long-term health effects, it’s best to moderate your intake and not binge drink large amounts of vodka or other spirits. If you ever feel your safety is at risk after drinking, seek medical care immediately.

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