What is mean alcohol volume (MAV) and average drink size? These are very important terms in the drinking community because people seem to get mixed up about them constantly. People also tend to use different definitions for both of these terms, making it hard to have an overall picture of how many drinks you should have per hour depending on who is telling you and what their definition of a drink is.
Many bars and restaurants will advertise the MAV of their alcoholic beverages, but using a glass as our unit of measurement makes things a little tricky. Most glasses contain 5 ounces which means that a bottle one third full would be 2½ glasses and a shot one fourth full would be 1¼ shots! Using this article’s bullet points as a guide, a bottle one quarter full would only need to be considered a cup for calculating MAVs.
Furthermore, some people may define a drink differently than how most bar establishments do. Some drinkers believe that a sip is not a true drink so they subtract from the total number of drinks when computing the average. Others may include liquid flavorings like liquor or soda in the equation too, further lowering the amount of pure alcohol in a drink. All of these factors make having a standard definition of average drink sizes difficult at best.
However, there is a way to accurately calculate the average drink size.
History of the shot glass
The first documented use of the term “shot” is in 1605, when King James I used it to describe his drinking regimen. He would take three drinks: one wine drink, one beer drink, and one whiskey or “shot” of strong liquor.
The word “glass” was not used for alcoholic beverages until much later, but you can probably guess what kind of vessel people were using!
Since then, there have been many theories about why someone would make a bottle of booze into a shot glass. Some say that making the drink more compact makes it easier to down, while others believe it’s just an easy way to get a lot of liquid without having to hold a cup or bottle properly.
Whatever reason, it has become very common practice.
The size of a shot glass
A good way to determine how many ml your drink has is to look at the size of the drink! If it’s bigger than the diameter of a plain water bottle (1 cup, 250ml) then it’s usually 1-2 shots per person depending on whether or not you like strong drinks.
Some bars go one step further and advertise their strength as a “double shot” which equals 2 cups (500ml). This can easily be double what most people consider a normal amount so please do not overdo it unless you know what liquids weight proportionally more in liquid volume.
I would also recommend staying within a certain number of alcoholic beverages per hour because alcohol can affect you differently for every body type. Some people feel drunk after one or two drinks, while others may feel the effects of three or four!
Be aware of that and try to keep an appropriate limit for yourself. Also, ask yourself if you are still able to perform tasks before adding another drink to yours.
The shape of a shot glass
The size of a shot is determined by the diameter of the drink vessel you use to hold it. Most people agree that for alcohol drinks, a standard way to measure how much alcohol in a shot is 1 ml (mililiters). One milliliter is 0.05 fluid ounces or one drop.
That means if a drink has 5 mL of liquid in it, then it’s considered to have one “shot” of alcohol. Some drinkers like to be slightly more precise than others, so some say 10 drops and other folks say 8! It doesn’t really matter which method you choose as long as you are consistent.
However, there is no agreement about what defines a drop. Some say 2 drops, while others say 4. What difference does it make? Only enough to determine whether someone is drinking very low-proof beverages or high proof ones.
What alcohol is in a shot glass
Shots typically have one to two ounces of liquid in them, which is about the size of a table olive or three to six drops of fluid. One ounce is usually consumed at once, so a good rule of thumb is that for every drink you make, there should be an equal amount of shots!
Many people like to mix their drinks with sugar or acidification agents such as citric acid. The amount of each ingredient needed to taste pleasant varies from person to person, but too much can hurt your health.
Drinking more than this may cause dehydration, stomach upset, or excessive drinking due to lack of thirst. Because alcohol is a hydrate agent, drinking enough water while drinking alcohol can help prevent these effects.
Alcohol has some uses aside from being fun, including treating anxiety and sleep disorders. But until it becomes completely clear what dose of alcohol is safe, we’re advised to stick to our normal recommendations for water intake.
How to drink properly
When you pour your alcohol beverage, how much you use per drink depends mostly on the size of the glass you use! The standard way to measure drinks is by what’s called a’shot’. A shot is defined as one ounce (5 ml) of liquid.
That means if a bottle has three shots in it, then each shot should contain five ounces or fifteen ml. Some people may disagree with this definition but it is very common so we will stick with it!
Some bottles do not include an ounce measurement; instead, they list numbers such as six mL or eight fluid drops. These types of alcoholic beverages are usually weaker than normal liquor because there is less alcohol in them. They are also referred to as lower percentage wines or beers.
Tip: Never pour more than two drinks into any one container. For example, don’t pour twelve ml of vodka into a whiskey tumbler! This could result in someone getting hurt or even killed due to excessive drinking.
Helpful tips for drinking shots
Shots are typically defined as one drink, but some people choose to be more generous with their definitions. A 1-drink shot can easily be 2 or even 3 drinks depending on how many guests you have and what type of alcohol you use.
That’s why it is important to know how much milk or water you need to pour into your shot glass before adding alcohol! The best way to do this is by using our handy dandy chart below.
We also suggest using very thin glasses so that less than half a fluid ounce (15 mL) of liquid is needed to make sure every drop of alcohol gets mixed in. This helps ensure your drink does not taste watered down.
When you are drinking alcohol, how much liquid you have in your mouth is important! If you drink more than what’s allowed, then of course you could potentially get drunk faster, but it also depends on whether or not those around you should know that you have drank too many drinks.
If someone asks if you are feeling well and you reply with “yes I am fine, just this one drink” then they might assume that you had only one drink. It is best to be honest about how many alcoholic beverages you have consumed so that people do not worry for you or ask questions.
Some things that determine how many ml of an alcoholic beverage you have are:
The size of the glass you use
How thirsty you are at the time
What type of drink you mix it into (water has zero percent alcohol by volume)
When you drink the drink, how quickly you down it can affect the amount of liquid you consume
General guidelines: A small drink usually takes up to a minute to completely go down, and a large drink normally takes less than half a minute. Because most people don’t stay awake during that time, no one really knows exactly how many minutes pass until everyone says they feel okay and stop being asked about their health.
Another way to look at it is that there are 2,000 milliliters in 1 US gallon, which makes 1 US gallon equal to 4 L in other countries.
Know your friends
What is volume? That’s one of the most important things to know about alcoholic beverages! Volume can be measured in two ways: how much liquid it contains and what size the glass or cup you use to drink it from.
Volume is always dependent upon the type of beverage, the alcohol content of the beverage, and the size of the drinking vessel. For example, a half-bottle (5 ounces) of wine has more volume than a 1/2 bottle (7 ounces) of beer.
A standard measure for total volume is called a “unit” which equals 0.8 fluid ounce (1 oz = 30 ml) for every 10 grams of pure alcohol that a drink contains. This means that a 5oz glass of water has twice the volume of a 2oz glass because it contains 2 units of liquid per each 10 gram alcohol difference.
So if a drink had 5% ABV (alcohol by weight), then it would contain 2 units of alcohol and therefore have 4 times the volume of a unit! As we will see later, some drinks are way more powerful than others, so check out our recommendations at the end of this article to make sure you aren’t overdoing it.