What is a standard drink?
Number 1.25 revised June 2009
For general audience
An Australian standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol (12.5 ml of pure alcohol). By counting standard drinks you can keep track of how much you are drinking and how that compares to the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
This fact sheet provides a guide to how many standard drinks are in common containers of alcohol.
For more information about a specific alcoholic drink, read the label on the bottle, can or cask. It will list approximately how many standard drinks are inside the container.
Try pouring a standard drink
Try our interactive tool to see if you can estimate the size of a standard drink.
Adobe Flash Player 8 or later is required to view the ADF Interactive Drink Measure below. (Please note that Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad.)
How many standard drinks are in a…?
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you are actually 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, such as in cocktails and alcoholic punches
- sometimes jugs and casks are shared
- glasses may be 'topped up' before they are empty.
Some of these problems can be overcome by using a standard measure of the amount of alcohol that is being drunk, called a 'standard drink'.
Pot of beer (285 ml)
Full strength (4.8% alc./vol) = 1.1 standard drinks
Mid strength (3.5% alc./vol) = 0.8 standard drinks
Low strength (2.7% alc./vol) = 0.6 standard drinks
Stubbie/can of beer (375 ml)
Full strength (4.8% alc./vol) = 1.4 standard drinks
Mid strength (3.5% alc./vol) = 1.0 standard drink
Low strength (2.7% alc./vol) = 0.8 standard drinks
Red, white or sparkling wine (12% alc./vol)
Small glass (100 ml) = 1.0 standard drink
Average restaurant serve (150 ml) = 1.4 standard drinks
Bottle (750 ml) = 7.5 standard drinks
Fortified wine (18% alc./vol)
Standard serve (60 ml) = 0.9 standard drinks
Spirits (40% alc./vol)
'Shot' or 'nip' (30 ml) = 1 standard drink
Bottle (700 ml) = 22 standard drinks
Ready-to-drink (RTD) or pre-mixed spirits/wine
275 ml bottle full strength (5.0% alc./vol) = 1.1 standard drinks
375 ml can/bottle full strength (5.0% alc./vol) = 1.5 standard drinks
275 ml bottle high strength (7.0% alc./vol) = 1.5 standard drinks
375 ml can/bottle high strength (7.0% alc./vol) = 2.1 standard drinks
(Adapted from Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009)
What are the potential problems with drinking too much alcohol?
Drinking in excess of recommended guidelines can have harmful effects on your health.
These risks include:
- Short-term risks and harms such as hangovers, headaches, nausea, shakiness, vomiting, memory loss, risk of falls and injury, assaults, car accidents, unplanned pregnancy, and accidental death
- Long-term risks and harms such as cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, memory loss and sexual dysfunction.
Excessive alcohol use can also affect many other areas of your life, including family, work and personal relationships. You may feel ashamed and embarrassed by your behaviour while intoxicated. You might experience problems at work or school and legal and financial problems. For example, you might lose valuable items such as your mobile phone, spend recklessly while intoxicated, damage your own or public property, or have to take time off work or school due to hangovers.
Remember, there is no safe level of drinking.
- Fact sheet: Guidelines for low-risk drinking
- For more information about standard drinks and the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, visit www.alcohol.gov.au.
- If you are worried about the amount you are drinking and would like help to cut down, see your family doctor or contact the alcohol and other drug service in your state or territory.
- For more information on drugs and drug prevention, contact DrugInfo.