Alcohol Use and Older Adults

Frequently Asked Questions

14. How much is one alcoholic drink?

A "standard" drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. A single drink can be

  • one 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer, ale, or wine cooler
  • one 8- or 9-ounce can or bottle of malt liquor
  • one 5-ounce glass of wine
  • one 1.5-ounce shot glass of 80-proof distilled spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, or rum. The label on the bottle will say "80 proof."

Not all drinks are served in standard sizes. For example, a mixed drink can contain as many as three or even more standard drinks, depending on the type of liquor and the recipe. Even popular brands of beer advertised as “light” may have almost as much alcohol as regular beer. “Light” typically refers to less calories, not less alcohol.

Learn more about what counts as a standard drink.