The Amount Of Shots You'll Get In One Standard Mixed Drink

Math is hard, and it's especially difficult trying to do conversions in your head when you are trying to drink. The world of booze is incredibly diverse, with products and ingredients containing a wide range of alcohol contents that can be hard to keep track of, which are then further confused by all the mixers you might be adding. For someone who wants to enjoy a drink or two but doesn't want to get too tipsy, it's a minefield, and you can easily end up drinking more than you intended.

The basic way of accounting for the alcohol in your mixed drink is called a "standard drink," and is based around comparing the alcohol content of drinks to a baseline, usually one 12-ounce beer. One standard drink of wine (usually 12% alcohol) is 5 ounces, while the standard drink of hard liquor (usually 40%) is 1.5 ounces. That amount of liquor is also usually how much is in a shot.

Of course, the answer to how many shots or standard drinks are in a normal mixed cocktail is that it varies by the recipe, but there is a general range you can usually rely on. Most classic cocktails like the old fashioned or a margarita use a baseline of 2 ounces of the main spirit, which translates to 1.33 shots. Plenty of drinks are a little more or less boozy, but that's a good estimate to start at.

Mixed drinks commonly range between one and two shots

The type of cocktail you are getting and the mixers used can give you hints to the amount of shots in the drink. Highballs like a Tom Collins or mojito, which usually involve non-alcoholic soda or tonic as a mixer, are frequently based around ounces of liquor as the base of the recipe. So do sours like the daiquiri or whiskey sour. A step up from there are Manhattans, Negronis, and other drier drinks that rely on vermouth or other alcoholic drinks as mixers. These usually have the equivalent of two shots in each cocktail. Almost every classic cocktail falls somewhere in this range of 1.33-2 shots, but there are some popular drink categories that will go even bigger.

One style of drink notorious for high levels of alcohol are tiki cocktails. Tropical drinks like the zombie, rum runner, or navy grog often have the equivalent of almost three shots in them. It can be a shock because the fruity, sugary mixtures often cover up for the harshness of the alcohol. There are also well-known outliers that will knock your socks off like the Long Island Iced Tea. So while you can safely assume two shots or less for most mixed drinks, you always want to be aware of what you're putting in your body.