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Standard Drink

What Is A Standard Drink? (from: http://www.rupissed.com/standarddrinks.html)

In Australia a 'Standard Drink' is one that contains 10 grams (about 12.5ml) of alcohol. Other countries have different measures which can range from 13.5 grams (17ml) in Canada to 8 grams (10ml) in the UK.

Regardless of variations between countries, the way the numbers roll out means that a 10g or 12.5ml standard drink should be used for calculations in countries where a legal BAC limit of 0.05% applies.

Most beverages are labeled with their percent alcohol by volume (ie; 5%), so to calculate how many standard drinks a particular beverage serving represents you find out what percentage of alcohol is in the drink, multiply it by the serving size, and then divide it by 12.5 (ml) to calculate how many standard drinks that represents.

Examples Of 'Standard Drink' Calculations

    A 285ml glass of 4.8% (heavy) alcohol beer = 285 x 0.048 = 13.68ml alcohol
    13.68ml / 12.50ml = 1.09 standard drinks.

    A 375ml bottle of 2.7% (mid strength) alcohol beer = 375 x 0.027 = 10.12ml alcohol
    10.12ml / 12.50ml = 0.81 standard drinks.

    A 150ml glass of 11.5% alcohol wine = 180 x 0.115 = 17.25ml alcohol
    17.25ml / 12.50ml = 1.38 standard drinks.

    A full nip (30ml) of 40% alcohol bourbon = 30 x 0.40 = 12.00ml alcohol
    12.00ml / 12.50ml = 0.96 standard drinks.

Standard Servings In Terms Of Standard Drinks

285ml Glass (10oz)
375ml Can (13oz)
425ml Glass (15oz)
Light (2.7%)
Mid-Strength (3.5%)
Full-Strength (4.8%)
100ml Glass (3.5oz)
150ml Glass (5oz)
750ml Bottle (26oz)
White Wine (11.5%)
Red Wine (13.5%)
30ml Shot (1oz)
60ml Double (2oz)
700ml Bottle (24oz)
Regular Spirit (40%)
RTD (Pre-Mix)
275ml Bottle (10oz)
330ml Bottle (11.5oz)
375ml Can (13oz)
Regular Strength (5%)
High Strength (8%)

Alcohol Consumption In Terms Of 'Standard Drinks'

The general rule of thumb is that 2 "Standard Drinks" in the first hour will raise your BAC to 0.05%, and one "Standard Drink" per hour thereafter will maintain that level.

To do a quick calculation of whether you are over 0.05% BAC simply take the number of hours since your first drink and add 1 to it. This is the number of "Standard Drinks" that you could safely have in that period. Then calculate the number of "Standard Drinks" that you actually had, and compare the 2 results.


    1. You have been drinking for 3 hours and have had 7 375ml cans of light beer in that time.

    3 (hours) + 1 = 4 standard drinks "allowed" during that time
    7 (can) x 0.80 (standard drink equivalents) = 5.6 standard drinks
    Whoops. Too many!.

    2. You have been drinking for 2 hours and have had 3 bourbons in that time.

    2 (hours) + 1 = 3 standard drinks "allowed" during that time
    3 (bourbons) x 0.9 (standard drink equivalents) = 2.7 standard drinks
    Close! If you drink your next one slowly you should still be OK, but probably best to stop now.

BAC will vary according to gender, weight, level of fitness and age, but this quick and ready calculation can help you avoid the mistake of having "one more for the road" when you shouldn't. It's also handy next morning.

    3. It's 8:00am, you really tied one on last night, but if you don't go down to the shop and get some more Coke now, you will die. You started drinking with the boys at 8:00pm (12 hours ago) and you must have had 15 vodkas before they poured you into the taxi at 1am. So let's do the numbers.

    12 (hours) + 1 = 13 standard drinks "allowed" during that time
    15 (vodkas) x 0.9 (standard drink equivalents) = 13.5 standard drinks
    Guess what? You'd better walk to the shop - you're probably still over 0.05.