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How many ounces in a shot glass – Guide to Shot sizes around the world

Don’t we all know the nights out when one has had too many shots? And the morning after, you wake up and have no idea how to get up and get your coffee? It is already a challenge to remember how many shots you had. But it is sheer impossible to know how much alcohol it was. Even if you knew the ABVs, it wouldn’t get you anywhere. Why? Because the size of a shot varies drastically. Every country has its own standard, some don’t have one at all, and in the US, it even varies from state to state. So, how many ounces are in a shot?

Some countries regulate alcohol pour sizes, the UK, for example. In the US and many other countries, there’s no regulation. But of course, there are some established standard pour sizes. So let’s see how many oz are in a shot.

How many ounces in a shot

I’ve often seen people using shot glasses to measure pour sizes. It is a common belief that they’re standardized to hold 1 oz of liquid. But as a matter of fact, they are not. Shot glasses usually hold between 1 oz and 2 ounces of liquid.

As a rule of thumb, mostly shot glasses will hold 1.5oz. So if you’re looking at a shot glass that feels somewhat small, it’s probably 1 oz. And if you’re looking at a comparably large one, there’s a good chance this holds something around 2 oz. But one thing becomes clear: you shouldn’t measure your intake in shot glasses.

If you’re about to make a cocktail and your recipe asks for a shot, it usually refers to a jigger shot. A jigger shot means 1.5 oz of liquor. And by the way, if you don’t have a jigger at home, I recommend getting one. It’s such an essential tool every household should have.

How many ml in a shot?

For this question, you just need to convert oz in ml. 1 oz is approximately 30ml. So 1.5 oz of liquor is about 45ml (to be precise, it’s 44ml, but 45ml is easier to memorize), and 2 oz equals 60ml.

The same goes for cl. As you might know, 1 cl is 10ml, so 1 oz equals 3 cl, 1.5 oz equals 4.5cl, and 2 oz equals 6cl. Once you remember this, translating amounts from oz to ml or cl is becoming a lot easier.

How to measure a shot without a shot glass

As mentioned, the solution is a jigger. It is a little helper tool every bartender owns, and it is just perfect for measuring pour sizes. However, if you don’t have one and can’t get hold of a shot glass, there also are other ways to measure a shot.

How many tablespoons spoons in a shot

A tablespoon is a decent tool to measure amounts of liquids. A standard tablespoon will hold 0.5 oz of liquid. So to get 1 oz, you will need two tablespoons. A shot of 1.5 oz requires three tablespoons. I’m sure you can do the math 😉


Teaspoons are another way to measure a shot. As they’re a lot smaller than tablespoons, it takes quite some teaspoons. For every tablespoon, you will need three teaspoons. So that translates to six teaspoons for 1 oz of liquid and nine teaspoons for 1.5 oz of liquor.

Solo cups

If you have a solo cup, you can also use this to measure a shot. If you wonder why it is called solo: The wife of the solo cup inventor came up with the idea for the name because the cup was intended as a disposable one-use container. Actually, pretty unspectacular. But back to measuring a shot with your solo cup.

There’s an urban legend that the lines of a solo cup signal pouring amount for various drinks. The bottom line allegedly marks the size of a shot, the next one a portion of wine, and the top line is the mark for a serving of beer. However, this is not exactly true.

The bottom line equals approximately 1 oz of liquid. So you can use it and drink smaller shots, or you can estimate 1.5 oz based on the 1 oz mark. This method is not as accurate as others. But it still is good enough.

Free pouring

If you’re able to measure shot sizes by free pouring, you are a real pro. And then all you need is a pourer and lots of practice. Because trust me, it isn’t an easy thing to do. But if you master it, it’s a cool way to pour shots for your friend.

If you want to practice this technique, get yourself a pourer and best use water in a liquor bottle. Take a cup and pour in the water with the pourer. While you do this, count to 4, and you should end up with 1.5 oz of water in your cup. Double-check the poured amount after each try, and adjust your counting speed if necessary.

That probably won’t work the first time, and it takes a bit of try and error to get the right counting speed and consistency. But don’t let yourself be discouraged. Free pouring is fun, and you can show it off on many occasions.

Size of a shot glass by country

If you travel to foreign countries a lot, you might have noticed that a shot isn’t always what you expect it to be. Already within the US, as I mentioned earlier. But around the globe, the differences are even more significant. Because I find this very interesting, I put together an extensive infographic and want to show you the various sizes of a shot country by country.

Shot glass sizes around the world

Why shot measuring is important

Measuring the pouring amount is essential when creating cocktails. If you don’t measure correctly, the results will not taste good. In some cases, your drink will even become undrinkable.

But it’s not only essential for cocktails. If you had a shot, you might want to know how much alcohol you had. Especially if you have to decide between self-driving or taking a taxi, it is crucial to keep track of how much alcohol you had over a certain period. -Always remember, even small amounts of alcohol can affect your reactive capacity.

Generally, knowing your limit and how much alcohol you drink is something you should be aware of. So it is a good idea to measure and count your shots. That doesn’t automatically prevent the hangover the next day, but it will help you balance your drinking in the long run.


For a long time, I assumed a shot is something like a global standard and didn’t know if it might be different in other places. Maybe you did, too? And next time you have a shot, you perhaps look at it differently (at least at the first one). And maybe you even decide to learn free pouring. I can only recommend doing so. It is a fun technique and so practical if there’s no other measuring tool available.

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