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Standard Drinks

What Is A Standard Drink?

Different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol. In Australia a Standard Drink contains 10 grams (about 12.5ml) of alcohol regardless of serving size or drink type. Other countries have different standard drink 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. For males, generally the alcohol contained in two standard drinks is just less than the amount needed to bring the blood alcohol concentration to 0.05%, and the average metabolic removal rate is just under one standard drink per hour.

This is the basis for the general rule of thumb that 2 Standard Drinks in the first hour will increase your blood alcohol content (BAC) to under 0.05%, and from then on it only takes one Standard Drink per hour to maintain your BAC at that level.

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 = 1.09 standard drinks

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

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

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

Standard Drinks Calculator

Enter in a type of drink and the number of those drinks consumed, then press "Add". If your drink isn't listed, you can manually enter the alcohol level and size of glass instead of choosing a drink from the list. Continue with each type of drink you consumed during the period.

Drink Type Alcohol Level Drank From Number

... Or enter your own:   %

List of drinks consumed:    (Clear all drinks)
No drinks added yet.
Alcohol Ingested:
0 ml
Standard Drinks: 0.00

Standard Drinks Guide

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 (7%)

How Many Standard Drinks Can You Have And Still Drive?

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

To do a quick calculation of whether you are likely to be 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've 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 (cans) 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 a bit over 0.05.

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This web site does not endorse drink driving or the excessive consumption of alcohol. Blood alcohol calculations are to be used as a guide only.