How many ounces in a shot - header image

How many ounces in a shot glass - Shot sizes around the world

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 5, 2022 
When ordering a shooter at a bar in a foreign country, you probably don't give a second thought to how many ounces are in this shot. And why would you? But, depending on where you go in the world, you'll get completely different things.

Do you know these nights out when you have 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. So, how many ounces are in a shot?

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. In the US, it even varies from state to state. 

Some countries regulate alcohol pour sizes. The UK, for example. However, the US and many other countries don't have such a 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 misconception that they're standardized to hold 1 oz of liquid. But similar to a dash or a dram, they are not. Shot glasses usually have a volume between 1 oz and 2 liquid ounces.

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.

Also noteworthy: 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 for your home bar.

How many ml in a shot?

To answer this, you just need to convert oz into 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: 1 cl is 10ml, so 1 oz equals 3 cl, 1.5 oz equals 4.5cl, and 2 oz equals 6cl. Once you know that, converting amounts from oz to ml or cl becomes pretty straightforward.

Size of a shot glass by country

You don't have to travel far to notice that a shot isn't always what you expect it to be. As I mentioned earlier: already within the US, there are considerable differences.

But transnational, the differences are even more significant, which I find very interesting. -And sometimes telling 😉

 I put together this graphic for you. It shows the various sizes of a shot in different countries.

Size of a Single Shot by country

Why it's important to know how many ounces are in a shot

Measuring the pouring amount is essential when creating cocktails. If you don't measure correctly, the results will be far below average. In some cases, your drink might even turn out unpalatable.

But it's not only essential for cocktails. If you had a few shots, you might want to know how much alcohol you consumed. 

Especially if you have to decide between driving yourself or taking a taxi, it is crucial to keep track of how much alcohol you had over a certain period. 

Though, it's best to stay away from alcohol entirely if you intend to drive the same day. -Keep in mind that 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, also, when not driving. So it is a good idea to measure and count your shots. 

That can keep the hangover the next day at bay. And even if it doesn't, it will help you balance your drinking in the long run.

On a final note

Before mixology became my passion, I assumed a shot is something like a global standard and didn't consider it could be different in other places. Maybe you did, too? 

So, the next time you have a shot, you perhaps look at it differently. -At least at the first one. After the fourth, things get blurry anyway.

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