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What is a standard drink?

Nov 30, 2017 | Alcohol, Impaired Driving

Standard Drink – Defintion

 

Many people are confused to what counts as a standard drink. It doesn’t matter how much is in your glass, what counts is the amount of alcohol in the drink. In the US, a “standard” drink contains 14 grams of pure alcohol which is equivalent to:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer at 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine at 12% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits at 40% alcohol

Alcohol Content in a Standard Drink

The percentage of alcohol in the drink is the most important criteria to look for when measuring how much alcohol is in a drink. Some sugary drinks such as long island ice tea contains multiple shots of alcohol and may be very deceptive in their alcohol content. This is dangerous because you can be impaired with just 1 drink depending on the amount of shots in the drink. Carbonated alcoholic beverages such as champagne hit the blood system and brain much more quickly than non-carbonated drinks. The drinker rarely knows the effects of drinking alcohol on driving until it is too late. If you know you’ll be drinking, make sure you get a designated driver or call a Taxi or Uber.

 

How do you know how much alcohol is in your drink?

Even though they come in different sizes, the drinks below are each examples of one standard drink:

The same amount of alcohol is contained in 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 8 to 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor, 5 fluid ounces of table wine, or a 1.5 fluid ounce shot of 80-proof spirits (“hard liquor” such as whiskey, gin, etc.) The percent of ‘pure’ alcohol varies by beverage.

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