How many ounces are in a shot glass? The answer is not as straight forward as you might think.
First Things First – What is a Shot?
In popular language as it relates to alcoholic beverages a shot is a small quantity of liquor that is imbibed straight. A shot does not necessarily need to be consumed in one go. Many are sipped for the flavor of the spirit to be savored.
The term shot is also commonly used to denote a specified measure of spirituous liquid to be used as an ingredient of a cocktail.
It is typically poured in a shot glass which is a small vessel used to hold and sometimes measure the spirit of choice.
Most frequently served as shots are vodka, tequila, brandy, rum, whiskey as well as fancy liqueurs and digestifs such as fruit schnapps varieties, Rumple Minze, Jägermeister and Goldschläger.
Oz in a Shot in the US
In the US a shot is 1.5 ounces following the country’s standard unit of measurement for liquids which is fluid ounces.
The oz in a shot reflect the definition of a standard alcoholic drink being equal to 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Because most spirits contain 40% alcohol by volume the math works out to 1.5 oz in a shot.
Some people claim that a shot is precisely 1.48 ounces but it is really a matter of rounding up. According to both the National Institute of Health and the CDS a shot of a distilled spirit is exactly 1.5 oz or 44 ml assuming the spirit has the designated 40 % alcohol by volume. The fluid ounce measure is used to help gauge the strength of a single alcoholic drink.
Oz in a Shot Around the World
Shots sizes vary in different countries and reflect the local drinking traditions. Additionally, where the metric system is used they are measured in milliliters.
According to Wikipedia these are standard alcohol pours that amount to an official shot in several countries, noted in both fluid oz and ml and organized by magnitude.
- Germany 0.67 oz / 20 ml
- United Kingdom | South Africa 0.84 oz / 25 ml
- Australia | India | Serbia 1.01 oz / 30 ml
- Ireland 1.2 oz / 35.5 ml
- Denmark |Finland | Hungary | Sweden | 1.35 oz / 40 ml
- Canada 1.5 oz / 44 ml
- Greece 1.52 oz / 45 ml
- Bulgaria | Poland | Romania | Russia 1.69 ounces / 50 ml
- Israel |Italy | Japan 2.02 ounces / 60 ml
How Many Oz in a Double Shot?
In the United States a double shot is exactly 2 ounces and not the double standard amount. If you want to order 3 oz of a spirit in a cocktail to double its strength then simply ask for two shots to be used (of tequila in your margarita for example).
Around the world a double shot is frequently exactly what the name suggests. For example in Bulgaria 50 ml is the standard shot measure (called ‘small pour’) and 100 ml is the double (referred to as ‘large pour’).
How Many Shots in a Fifth?
The answer to how many shots are in a fifth is best expressed in fluid ounces because by definition a fifth of liquor is a fifth of US liquid gallon or or 25+3⁄5 fluid ounces.
Therefore, assuming a 1.5 fluid ounces shot size there are 17 shots in a fifth (25.6 oz/1.5 oz = 17).
HISTORICAL NOTE: The fifth was the usual size of a bottle for distilled beverages in the United States until 1980. To quote from the Amendments to the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1919: “The ordinary whisky bottle contains one-fifth of a gallon or 25 and 3/5 ounces. They are either marked 25 ounces or one-fifth of a gallon.” Other authorized units based on the fifth were the 4/5 pint, known as a tenth, and a 1/10 pint.
Shooter vs Shot
While a shot consists of a single spirit and is often sipped slowly to savor the flavor of the spirit, a shooter is usually consumed quickly, in one gulp and is comprised of two or more spirituous drinks.
A shooter can be blended, mixed and stirred – for example Slammer Royale and Washington Apple.
Layered shooters consisting of a combination of liquors carefully poured to form distinct layers are very popular at bars. Examples include Baby Guinness and B-52 (of which the top layer of Grand Marnier is set on fire before consumption).
Side Shots and Chasers
When a shot is served in combination with a larger pour of an alcoholic beverage with lesser alcohol by volume such as beer it is known as a side.
When a shot is accompanied by another one or a differently sized pour of another beverage that is supposed to be imbibed immediately after it – that second pour is known as chaser (ex. Tequesso is a shot of tequila chased by a shot of espresso). Sometimes tequila shots are chased by a pony shot of lime juice. The size of the shots is not the most important, rather it is their sequence.
A Shot Pour vs a Neat Pour or On the Rocks Pour
If you ask a bartender for your favorite liquor neat or on the rocks you will get 2 ounces. This is the standard pour for these beverages and they will be served in an appropriate rocks, tumbler or lowball glass.
About Espresso Shots
Espresso is also quantified by way of shots and the standard espresso shot is 1 ounce. It is also called a single or a solo shot. The double is 2 liquid ounces and so on.
For example if you ask for a latte with an extra espresso shot you will get a total of 3 ounces of strong coffee in your beverage – the customary two shots plus the extra one you requested. The same concept applies to other coffee drinks.
Is a Shot Glass 2 Oz?
It makes sense that a shot glass would have a capacity that is slightly larger than the standard 1.5 oz measure.
To that end 1.75 oz or 2 oz capacities are common and comfortably accomodate the liquid ounces in a shot.
However customary drink serving sizes can and do differ from the standard and are often a matter of practice and tradition which are hard to change by any regulation. Many establishments, especially bars of larger corporate chains that serve shots of 1.25 oz use a 1.5 oz capacity glass.
Shot Glass vs Shooter Glass
A shooter glass is usually tall and slender and can hold a bit more than a shot glass due to the fact that shooters are a mixture of liquids (see above explanation).
Shooter glasses are frequently sized to accomodate 2.5 oz or 3 oz, some can hold up to 5 oz. This size of a shot glass is perfect for many of a shooter cocktail recipe.
Does a Shot Glass Have to Be Made of Glass?
Thick-walled glass is the most common choice of material for shot glasses around the world. It has the very useful property of being see-through but is sturdier and can withstand rough handling – from washing in bar conitions to enthusiastic manipulation by patrons.
Other popular materials include stainless steel, ceramic and acrylic. Rock crystal and other materials are less common.
Types of Shot Glasses
The ones listed below are simply the classic ones. Today the abundance of shapes and designs you can buy is simply mind boggling.
- Single. The standard shot glass that looks like a cone with the bottom cut off and usually a heavy base. Holds 1.5 oz or less, for serving hard liquors like vodka, tequila, bourbon and other whiskey.
- Cheater. The cheater glass looks like the single, but with really thick bottom and only about two thirds of it is hollow. Consequently it holds only 1 oz while creating the illusion of a full pour.
- Tall. Thin and elegant – the proper shape for tequila as many would say. Usually 2 oz or more, this larger shot glass is also used for shooters and commonly sold as shooter glass.
- Rounded. Wide and round, sometimes with a slight bulge across the middle. Often used for apéritifs and digestifs but also for whisky and brandy.
- Flute/tulip. This shape is used for serving liqueurs and cordials like limoncello, sambuca or amaretto.
- Pony. A small shot glass used for a pony shot which is 1 oz.
How Did Shot Glasses Get Their Name?
Truth be told, no one really knows for sure. The stories that are told about the origin of the name are many and have little in common but the name.
One you can hear a lot is that back in the day when America was still being settled and folks hunted for many of their proteins a small glass would be placed on the table at dinner parties so that buckshots encountered in the food would be disposed in it.
There is also the story of German chemist and glass technologist Friedrich Otto Schott who worked on several novel types of glass and invented the sturdy glass material of which shot glasses are commonly made.
Jigger vs Shot Glass
A jigger is strictly used for measuring alcohol. It is a tool with two cones of different sizes that are joined at their tapered ends. One cone is usually 1.5 oz and the other one 0.75 oz. The combination of 2 oz and 1 oz is also frequently encountered. Some jiggers have a handle.
TIP: If you do not have a jigger you can easily use a tablespoon measure to prepare shooters and cocktails with specified shots of alcohol. Because 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons a standard 1.5 oz shot will require that you measure out 3 tablespoons of the spirit.
Tips for Drinking Shots
The always prudent advice of ‘drink responsibly’ is probably best heeded while dealing with the high ABV and often rapid consumption of the types of alcohol served as shots.
- eat before or at least while drinking shots to slow down the absoption of the alcohol; the meze appetizer dishes of Turkey and the Balkans are designed for this very purpose and are always enjoyed with local rakia (fruit brandy)
- sip instead of gulping down the whole thing; allow yourself time to savor and appreciate the flavor of the spirit
- if you must drink a shot in one gulp then slightly tilt your head backwards and avoid holding the liquid in your mouth
- chase shots of less smooth spirits such as young (silver tequila) or some schnapps varieties with something acidic (lime juice/wedge) or something sweet (orange slice or cranberry juice) to mellow their alcohol burn
- drink plenty of water alongside the spirituous liquid (self-explanatory)
You Might Enjoy These Recipes
- spirit with 40% ABV
- shot glass
To measure a shot for a cocktail pour the alcohol into the jigger and then transfer to your cocktail shaker or straight into a glass.
Use a standard measure of 1.5 oz.
If measuring espresso the correct amount for a shot is 1 oz.