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What is a standard drink?

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It can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you are consuming because different types of drinks contain different amounts of alcohol.

A single drink is often much more than a 'standard drink'. An Australian standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol (12.5 ml of pure alcohol). By counting the number of standard drinks you are consuming you can keep track of how much you are drinking and how that compares to the Australian guidelines for low risk drinking.

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.)


Why it's difficult to keep track of how much you're drinking

  • 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'.

How many standard drinks are in a...?

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)

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.

More information

 

Last updated: 6 July 2016

    Information you heard is intended as a general guide only. This audio is copyrighted by the Australian Drug Foundation. Visit www.DrugInfo.ADF.org.au for more