How Much Alcohol Is In One Shot Glass?

It almost sounds like a trick question: “what is the alcohol content in one shot glass?”

And the answer is, “it depends on the proof of the alcohol that is in the shot.” Using a standard 1.5 ounce shot glass filled to the brim with 72-proof alcohol is equal to 36% alcohol content.

When the “proof” increases, however, the alcohol content rises as well. As a result, different amounts of alcohol can be found in different alcoholic beverages, even when the container of the alcohol is the same.

Definitions and Other Bits of Relevant Information

The standard size shot glass is 1.5 ounces. Other shot glass sizes are called “short shot” glasses or “pony shots” both of which are 1 ounce.

Alcoholism experts define a “standard drink” as 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of 72-proof distilled spirits, or 5 ounces of wine, all of which contain approximately .54 ounces of alcohol.

Proof means the alcohol content of distilled liquors. It is the percentage of alcohol multiplied by two. For example:

  • 50% alcohol = 100-proof
  • 100% alcohol = 200-proof

Since one drink is defined as containing one-half of an ounce of pure ethyl alcohol, each of the following is considered to be one drink:

  • 10 ounces to 12 ounces of beer at 4% to 5% alcohol content
  • 8 ounces to 12 ounces of wine cooler at 4% to 5% alcohol content
  • 4 ounces to 5 ounces of table wine at 9% to 12% alcohol content
  • 2.5 ounces of fortified wine at 20% alcohol content
  • 1.25 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits at 40% alcohol content
  • 1 ounce of 100 proof distilled spirits at 50% alcohol content

Answering the Question “How Much Alcohol Is In One Shot Glass”

Using a standard 1.5 ounce shot glass filled to the brim results in the following number of “standard drinks”:

  • 1.5 ounces of 72-proof = 1 standard drink
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof = 1.2 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 100-proof = 1.5 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 151-proof = 2.27 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 190-proof = 2.85 standard drinks

Proof Levels and Alcohol Content in Popular Alcoholic Drinks

Such facts are nice, but how do they relate to the “real world” of drinking? Stated differently, what are the proofs and the amounts of alcohol in popular alcoholic drinks?

You will find the answer to these questions in the following information:

  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch = 1.2 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof Smirnoff Vodka = 1.2 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof Hennessy Paradis Cognac = 1.2 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof Milagro Anejo Tequilla = 1.2 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 94-proof Beefeater Gin = 1.41 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 100-proof Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy = 1.5 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 108-proof Wild Turkey Bourbon = 1.62 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 110-proof Mezcal = 1.65 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 121-proof Johnnie Walker Blue Anniversary Scotch = 1.82 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 130-proof Absinthe = 1.95 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 151-proof Everclear = 2.27 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 151-proof Bacardi 151 Rum = 2.27 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 160-proof Austrian Stroh 80 Rum = 2.40 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 169-proof St. Vincent’s Rum = 2.54 standard drinks
  • 1.5 ounces of 190-proof Everclear = 2.85 standard drinks

Some of the above facts are staggering as far as how much alcohol one drink can contain. For instance, let’s focus on 190-proof Everclear.

Just one shot of Everclear (190-proof) is equal to drinking 2.85 bottles of beer and nearly three times as potent as 1 ounce of 100-proof Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy!

Using Everclear (190-proof) as an example, the question “how much alcohol is in one shot glass” can best be answered by the following: way too much for ANY drinking situation.

In the United States, Everclear is a brand of grain alcohol that is available at concentration levels of 95% alcohol (190 proof) and 75.5% (151 proof).

Because of Everclear’s lack of sugar and impurities, drinkers may be less prone to experience hangovers.

In addition, the lack of a strong flavor tends to lead to over consumption. Everclear is typically mixed into an alcoholic beverage and is highly flammable.

Due to the amount of alcohol content, to the lack of hangover experiences, and that its lack of flavor can lead to excessive drinking, it is no wonder that it is illegal to purchase Everclear (190-proof) in numerous U.S. states such as California, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Conclusion: Alcohol Content

It would appear that a shot equals a shot equals a shot. After all, don’t most drinkers know how much alcohol is in one shot glass?

Not quite. The “proof” of the alcohol in the shot is what determines the alcohol content.

For example, a standard 1.5 ounce shot glass that is filled to the top with 72-proof alcohol has 36% alcohol content and is considered one “standard drink.”

Without changing the size of the shot glass, moreover, the amount of alcohol in a shot can go as high as 95%, or 2.85 standard drinks.

This means, for example, that if you have one shot of 190-proof Everclear, you have ingested 2.85 times as much alcohol as you would if you had one shot of 72-proof whisky.

So the next time someone at work or at a party asks you “how much alcohol is in one shot glass,” you can answer with conviction: “it depends on the proof of the alcohol that is in the shot glass.”

Find out more on our special ebook Alcoholism Guide. Please click here to download it.