Standard Drink Size

Puzzled over what a standard drink size is?

What is a standard drink? 

A standard drink is a measure of the pure alcohol you are drinking; it is not the total amount of liquid in your glass. Beer, coolers, ciders and wine contain different alcohol percentages or strength and are served in different sizes. The bigger the size and the higher the alcohol percentage, the increase in the total alcohol content in the container.

How do I calculate one standard drink to pour in my glass? 

Remember the type of alcohol doesn’t matter, it is about the alcohol % or strength. It is sometimes shown as percentage alcohol by volume (%ABV). 

  1. Read the label to see the alcohol % for the type of alcohol you are drinking (e.g. 5%, 7%, 12% etc.).

Magic Metric Formula is 17 divided by alcohol % = 1 standard drink (ml)

Example: How many milliliters do I pour for 1 standard drink of 12% beverage?

Answer: 17 / 0.12= 142 ml is 1 standard drink for a 12% alcohol beverage.

Magic Imperial Formula is 0.6 divided by alcohol % = 1 standard drink (oz)

Example: How many ounces do I pour for 1 standard drink for a 7% beverage?

Answer: 0.6 / 0.07 = 8.5 ounces is 1 standard drink of 7% alcohol beverage.

How many standard drinks are in the whole container?

Remember the type of alcohol does not matter, it is about the alcohol % or strength. It is sometimes shown as percentage alcohol by volume (%ABV).

  1. Read the label to see the alcohol % for the type of alcohol you are drinking (e.g. 5%, 7%, 12% etc.).
  2. Look for the container volume (e.g. 750 ml; 340 ml etc).

Magic Metric Formula is # ml x alcohol % divided by 17 = Total # standard drinks 

Example: How many standard drinks are in a 750 milliliter bottle of a 12% beverage?

Answer: 750 ml x 0.12 % / 17 = 5.3 standard drinks in the bottle. 

Magic Imperial Formula is # oz x alcohol % divided by 0.6 = Total # standard drinks

Example: How many standard drinks are in a 12 ounce can of 7% beverage?

Answer: 12 oz x 0.07% / 0.6 = 1.4 standard drinks in the can. 

Learn more about the Standard Drink and Low Risk Drinking Guidelines

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