What do you mean by a Standard drink?

Ever wondered what is the amount of “pure alcohol” that you are consuming in your drink?

Different drinks have different amounts of alcohol contained. The standard drink helps you measure accurate alcohol intake. The amount is the same and doesn’t depend on the size of the container or alcohol type. Counting the number of bottles, cans or glasses can be misleading because each one has varying alcohol amount in it.

According to the law, all the glasses, bottles, cans of alcoholic drinks should be labeled with how many standard drinks they contain. Observe the image of a drink on the bottle and notice the number inside, it tells the number of standard drinks contained. An average person’s liver can only take up to one standard drink of alcohol per hour.


A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. This is equal to:

  • 285 mL of full-strength beer
  • 425 mL of low strength beer
  • 100 mL of wine (red and white)
  • 30 mL of spirits
  • 275 mL bottle of ready-to-drink drinks (5 percent alcohol content).


The amount of one standard drink is calculated based on the percentage of alcohol in the drink.

  • Cider: Alcohol: 6%, A Standard drink: 10 fluid ounces 
  • Beer/wine: Alcohol: 5%, A Standard drink: 12 fluid ounces.
  • Malt liquor: Alcohol: 7%, A Standard drink: 8-9 fluid ounces
  • Table Wine: Alcohol: 12%, A Standard drink: 15 fluid ounces
  • Spirits and liqueur: Alcohol: 40%, A Standard drink: 1.5 fluid ounces


How are standard drinks calculated?

  • The formula to calculate the number of standard drinks in an alcoholic drink is:
  • The amount of drink in liters (the volume of the container) multiplied by the percent by volume of alcohol (%) multiplied by 0.789 (which is the density of ethanol at room temperature) equals the number of standard drinks.
  • For example, an 800ml bottle of beer which is 5% alcohol by volume:


multiplied by 8 multiplied by 0.789 equals 3.1 standard drinks


0.5 x 8 x 0.789 = 3.15 (approx. 3 standard drinks)


Plan your non-drinking days every week to save your liver and reduce your drinking by no more than 3 drinks (for women) or 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion.

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