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What is a standard drink?
It can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you are having. Different types of drinks contain different amounts of alcohol.
A drink is often much more than a ‘standard drink’. An Australian standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (12.5ml of pure alcohol). Keep track of how much you are drinking by counting the number of standard drinks you’re consuming.
- Spirits 40% alcohol, 30ml nip
- Wine 13% alcohol, 100ml average serving
- Sparkling wine 13% alcohol, 100ml
- Full Strength Beer 4.9% alcohol, 285ml glass
- Light Beer 2.7% alcohol, 425ml glass
- Cider 4.9% alcohol, 285ml glass
Keeping track of your drinks
It’s difficult to keep track of how much you’re drinking because:
- glass sizes are not the same in different places
- different types of drinks contain different amounts of pure alcohol
- sometimes drinks are mixed with unknown quantities of alcohol, e.g. in cocktails and alcoholic punches
- sometimes jugs and casks are shared
- glasses may be ‘topped up’ before they’re empty.
Overcome these issues by using a standard measure of the amount of alcohol that is being drunk, called a ‘standard drink’.
The Australian drinking guidelines recommend that to reduce your risk of injury and disease including cancer, keep it to 10 or less standard drinks a week. Have no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce your risk of injury and accidents.
What is a Standard Drink?
It is important to understand what a standard drink is so that when you are drinking you can manage how much alcohol you consume. This can help you stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.
In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (e.g beer, wine, spirit).
A standard drink is a unit of measurement. In the same way one metre measures a particular distance travelled, one standard drink measures a particular amount of alcohol consumed.
Because alcoholic drinks are sold and served in many different sizes, it’s often difficult to know how many standard drinks you are consuming.
A standard drink may be less than you think.
Australian food labelling law requires all packaged alcohol to include the number of standard drinks on its label.
Counting your standard drinks can help you stay within the NHRMC Guidelines.1 Health experts recommend to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol, healthy men and women should:
- drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week; and
- drink no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm.
How many standard drinks are you pouring?
Find out how many standard drinks are in the drinks you typically pour by using our ‘What is a Standard Drink’ tool.
What are ‘standard drinks’ and why do we use them?
A ‘standard drink’ is the measure of alcohol used to work out safe drinking levels.
A standard drink in Australia contains 10g of alcohol. This is always the same, no matter what type of alcoholic beverage or how it is served. As some drinks are stronger than others (for example, low-strength beer is around 2.7% whereas spirits are typically 40%), the higher the alcohol concentration of a drink, the less liquid it contains.
A serving of alcohol in a pub or club can often be larger than a ‘standard’ drink, for example a standard glass of wine is 100ml but a typical serve may be 150ml.
In Australia, all bottles, cans and casks containing alcoholic beverages are required by law to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks they contain.
One Australian standard drink is equal to approximately:
- 285 mL of full strength beer (4.8% alc. vol)
- 375mL of mid strength beer (3.5% alc.vol)
- 425 mL of low strength beer (2.7% alc. vol)
- 100 mL of wine (red – 13% alc. vol, and white – 11.5% alc. vol)
- 100 mL of champagne (12% alc. vol)
- 30 mL of spirits (40% alc. vol)
- 275 mL bottle of ready-to-drink beverage (5% alcohol content)
Glasses, bottles and cans of alcohol contain varying amounts of alcohol and can contain more or less than one standard drink – see our Standard drinks guide for more information.
What is a standard drink?
A standard drink is a unit of measurement. In Australia, a standard drink refers to any drink that contains 10 grams (or 12.5 millilitres) of alcohol. A standard drink contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of container size, alcohol type, or volume of liquid.
Further information about standard drinks is available from the Australian Government Department of Health.
The table below details the number of standard drinks contained in different types of alcohol beverages.
What’s a standard drink?
All bottles, cans and casks of alcohol packaged for sale are required by law to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks contained.
It can be hard to estimate standard drinks in real-life situations because:
- glass sizes vary
- people share drinks (e.g. jugs, casks or bottles of alcohol)
- glasses are topped up by other people
- the composition of mixed drinks is unknown (cocktails or punch).
How much alcohol is in a standard drink Australia?
What percentage of alcohol is in a standard drink?
Is 30ml shot a standard drink?
Examples of standard drinks
How do you calculate alcohol standard drink?
A shot glass is a glass originally designed to hold or measure spirits or liquor, which is either imbibed straight from the glass (“a shot”) or poured into a cocktail (“a drink”). An alcoholic beverage served in a shot glass and typically consumed quickly, in one gulp, may also be known as a “shooter”.
Shot glasses decorated with a wide variety of toasts, advertisements, humorous pictures, or other decorations and words are popular souvenirs and collectibles, especially as merchandise of a brewery.
The word “shot”, meaning a drink of alcohol, has been used since at least the 17th century, while reference to a shot specifically as a small drink of spirits is known in the U.S. since at least the 1920s[clarify]. The phrase “shot glass” has been in use since at least the 1940s.