What's Considered a Standard Drink?

Learn what is considered a standard drink in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.


People are often curious about what constitutes a standard drink. People who have trouble with alcohol will often talk about how many drinks they had per night or per week.

But you have to ask people what they consider a regular drink for them. What's considered a standard drink is different, depending on the kind of alcohol you're ingesting. So a typical beer would be a 12 ounce beer of 5% alcohol. There are beers of varying degrees, but a typical beer is 5% or a six ounce glass of wine, which is 12% alcohol. Again, that's an average percentage. Or if you're drinking hard liquor, that would be a one and a half ounce shot. That's a typical standard shot glass of liquor. which is of 80 proof or 40%. Those are considered standard drinks.

So when we talk about having one drink, that's the standard that's being used. So if you're having a drink that contains the equivalent of three shots of alcohol, you consider that one drink, but professionals would consider that having three drinks instead. So you have to really define your terms and understand what you're drinking.

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