What is a Standard Drink?

In the United States of America, a standard drink contains about 14 grams
of pure alcohol. That’s about .49 ounces. Half an ounce.

I used three different online conversion tools for this, and my kitchen scale.
14 grams is .49 ounces. The reason I bring it up is I keep seeing .6 ounces 
on other sites.  I think it’s because people copy and paste the data instead 
of doing the conversion,   or it’s both.
“A standard drink is 14 grams or .6 ounces”. So does that mean it can be either?

Notice that we’re talking about pure alcohol, or pure ethanol

Each of these would be considered a standard drink:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol

There are plenty of nonstandard drinks out there.
Like Snake Venom, it’s a beer that has 67.5% alcohol.
That sounds like a fun beer.

Lets talk about mixed drinks and apply the
golden ratio ( 2:1:1 ) to a standard drink.

2 parts spirit
1 part sweet
1 part tart


8 ounce glass, filled with ice.

1.5 ounces Vodka
.75 ounces Orange Juice
.75 ounces Cranberry Juice

Other countries have different standard drink amounts.

So if you’re going to bartend in different countries make
sure you educate yourself on the different drink standards.

The last thing you need is unhappy customers or worse,
some government official fining you for something that you
didn’t understand.

Having a set amount of alcohol, that establishes a standard drink,
is a good thing.  It helps with consistency.

Consistency is very important when it comes to mixology and

You’re guests should always get the same quality of drink every
time they order.

It’s very important that you, and every other bartender,
use the same standards for all of the drinks that are served.

This is one of the keys to keeping good customers.

When they know what they are going to get, every time, you will
keep the good customers and they will bring other good customers
to your bar.

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