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Brad Johnson

How Much Is a Shot of Alcohol? | Best Alcohol for Shots

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From the casual, social drinker to those with years of bar management experience, just about everyone is familiar with shots. What’s less common is knowing how much alcohol is in a shot. 

It’s an important question to ask too, because it helps you know how much you can safely drink. It also assists bar staff in their responsibility to not overpour for customers that have become noticeably intoxicated. 

If you’re wondering about the ABV content of your favorite tequila shots or want to educate your employees, this is the post for you. Read on to discover the best alcohol for shots and other useful info. 

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How Much Is A Shot of Alcohol?

The standard shot of alcohol is 1.5 ounces. The US government has never declared a formal measurement for it, but most states and bars use this amount for shots. A shot can be served solo, as part of happy hour drinks, or included with popular cocktail recipes

Shots are consumed quickly, which means you’ll need to stay on top of your inventory. Instead of tracking everything by yourself, use our perpetual inventory software, BinWise. You can easily view how much you’ve sold, when, and how profitable it was with our complete bar inventory software

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How Many ML In A Shot Of Alcohol?

The average shot is 43 to 44 milliliters (ml) of alcohol. If you’re wondering how the term “shot” came to be associated with alcohol, it's an interesting backstory. 

The Western half of the United States was explored and colonized from the early 19th century through the early 20th century. At that time, ranchers were in need of workers who they called cowhands. Most cowhands were young men in search of cash. 

When a cowhand was low on money, they would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. Over time, this became known as a “shot” of whiskey because of what was being exchanged. The terminology stuck, because the industry has kept the phrase around decades later. 

"Key Takeaway: The standard shot of alcohol is 1.5 ounces. The US government has never declared a formal measurement for it, but most states and bars use this amount for shots."

How Many Ounces In A Shot Of Alcohol?

There are 1.5 ounces in a shot of alcohol. Drinkers in countries like the US, Ireland, and Greece consume full shot glasses, but not every culture does this. Germans, Hungarians, and Romanians drink shot glasses half full, and Russians and Poles drink them one-quarter full. 

Types of Shots of Alcohol

Types of alcohol like tequila, whiskey, and vodka are normally used for shots. However, you can also use liqueurs, beer, and amaro. 

A liqueur is a distilled liquor with sweeteners, fruit, or cream added to it. Examples of liqueurs include Limoncello, RumChata, and Grand Mariner. Limoncello is vodka mixed with lemon juice and sugar, RumChata is a combination of horchata and rum, and Grand Mariner is Cognac, sugar, and orange zest. 

Beer is a beverage made by boiling and fermenting mashed grains with water, hops, and yeast. Pouring beer for shots is less common but people still enjoy it as a laid-back activity. 

Amaro is a bitter liqueur of Italian origin that’s normally consumed as a digestive aid after meals. It can also be used for shots, and some amaro brands are sweeter than others.

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Best Alcohol For Straight Shots

Whiskey is touted as one of the best alcohols for straight shots. Not only does it have a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) than tequila and vodka, it tastes great by itself. You can still do shots with vodka and tequila, but the taste is so strong that it’s difficult to stomach. Use an ABV calculator to figure out how strong a drink is before you consume it.

Another reason whiskey is a good alcohol for shots is because distillers want to create unique flavors. The type of grains and yeast used to develop a particular whiskey flavor are noticeable in the final drink. 

Best Alcohol For Jello Shots

The best alcohol for jello shots is vodka since vodka brands range from 40% ABV to nearly 100% ABV. Spirytus vodka has the highest ABV at 95%. Vodka has a neutral taste which allows the jello flavor to stand out. 

Other types of alcohol that work for jello shots are gin, tequila, and even whiskey. Gin has a citrusy flavor because it’s made with juniper berries, which are naturally piney and a little fruity. 

Tequila is a good match because the natural sweetness from agave carries through to its final distilled form. Sweetness and jello go hand in hand, which means you might not even notice that the jello has alcohol in it. 

Finally, whiskey is a great base alcohol for jello shots too. Its notes of vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut are a smooth pairing with the tart and tangy jello flavors. The jello flavor will still be the primary taste, but by experimenting with drink combinations, you’re bound to find something awesome. 

How Much Alcohol In Jello Shots

If you’re wondering how much alcohol is in jello shots, it’s about 0.33 ounces per shot. This is less than the standard pour for a shot, which is 1.5 ounces. 

The typical jello shot recipe produces shots with 10% ABV because of the additional ingredients. Straight shots of alcohol are about 40% ABV. 

One aspect to note about jello shots is even though they have a lower ABV, it’s easy to get intoxicated on them faster. Since the sugar masks alcohol flavors and solidified alcohol digests slower than liquid alcohol, people tend to eat more of them.

If you aren’t careful, this can lead to toxicity symptoms rather quickly. Bar staff should keep an extra careful eye on customers when serving alcoholic treats like these. A bartender is legally required to refuse service to visibly intoxicated customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions About How Much Is A Shot Of Alcohol

Whether you’re learning bartender duties or simply enjoy learning about alcoholic beverages, you’ll discover drinks differ quite a bit. Beverages that don’t taste strong may have a high ABV, and those that taste vigorous may be easier on the digestive system. Keep in mind that alcohol consumed after its alcohol expiration date will have a different taste.

A perfect example is shots, which have varying ABVs depending on what base liquor you’ve used. Check out the frequently asked questions and our answers below to learn more: 

How Much Alcohol Is A Shot Of Vodka?

A shot of vodka, which can be anywhere from 40-95% ABV, is 0.6 to 1.425 ounces of alcohol, respectively. The average shot is 1.5 ounces of liquid, so a simple ABV calculation reveals how much alcohol is in the shot. 

How Many Ml Is A Shot Of Alcohol?

A single shot of alcohol is about 44ml. This number can be calculated with a simple ounces to milliliters conversion calculator. You can also convert ounces to milliliters with this formula: 

(Ounces of beverage) x (29.57 milliliters / 1 fluid ounce) = Milliliters of beverage

Can You Get Drunk Off 1 Shot Of Vodka?

Since individual alcohol tolerance varies between people, it’s impossible to say whether or not a single shot of vodka will get someone drunk. A person who rarely consumes alcohol will be affected differently than someone who is out at bars every week. 

That being said, vodka has higher ABV than many other liquors. Since some vodka brands are almost pure alcohol, it’s easier to get drunk with this liquor than others. No matter what alcohol you’re consuming, drinking responsibly is recommended in all circumstances. 

Why Is a Shot Glass Used for Measuring Alcohol?

Shot glasses are used for measuring alcohol to ensure consistency in drink recipes. That's also a way to control the amount of alcohol in each serving. They provide a standardized way to pour and serve drinks.

Are All Shots the Same Size in Different Countries?

The size of a shot depends on the region. On average how much is a shot differs in the UK and the USA. In the United States a standard shot is 1.5 fluid ounces. In the UK, however, it's often 25 milliliters. The local culture is what usually influences the size of the shot and the size of drinks overall.

Are There Standard Shot Sizes for Different Types of Spirits?

While the standard shot size is usually consistent, some spirits, especially in regions with metric measurements, may adhere to slightly different standards. For example, a standard shot in the UK is often 25ml. That's why it's a good practice to ask "How much is a shot" when you enter a bar at a different location.

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Liquor Won’t Solve Your Problems, But It’s Worth A Shot

Doing shots of alcohol has been around for thousands of years, but it became more popular in America in the 1930s. This was shortly after prohibition was repealed and millions of Americans were excited to drink freely again. 

Ever since then, drinking competitions, flavored variations, and picklebacks have accompanied shots. Now that you know what kind of shot to recommend and when, you’ll be serving customers with confidence. 

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