If You’re Cutting Back, You Have to Know How Much Alcohol Is in That Drink

Alcohol Is in That Drink

If you’ve come here after searching on this issue, it’s likely that you’re wondering about your drinking

and whether or not you should cut back to reduce alcohol-related problems or risks for problems. If you’ve not read the previous post I recommend doing so as they build on each other.

The first post covered definitions of moderate drinking based on solid empirical research over the years. It also addressed instances where moderate drinking or a goal of pursuing moderate drinking could be hazardous to your health and well-being. If you haven’t yet read it, we recommend that you do so first.

This second post focused on what’s really the first step or question to answer about your drinking? Would it be a good thing for me to change it?

This third post (below) gives you a way to compare different kinds of alcohol and encourages you to use a standard drink (Standard Ethanol Content or SEC to use research terms) and gives you a calculator for it.

The fourth post addresses your chances of success in cutting back.

The fifth post cover concrete steps to take in cutting back on your drinking.

The sixth post discusses how to deal when your efforts to moderate your drinking aren’t working.

How Much is in that Drink?

One of the first steps in learning how to moderate or stop drinking so much is to determine how much alcohol is in your favorite drink.
Now more than ever, in the age of supersize drink pours and growing wine glasses, it’s important to understand the alcohol content %, in order to determine how many “standard drinks” are in your glass.
For example, your nightly glass of wine wine could actually be equivalent to 2 or even 3 standard drinks ( as opposed to 1) based on the size of the glass and wine’s alcohol content. To help you figure out how many standard drinks are in your favorite drink at CheckUp & Choices we’ve put together a calculator, and an A-Z list of common beer and drink brands with their corresponding alcohol %, so you can be able to compare apples (wine) to oranges (liquor). However, to start, it’s important to understand the definition of a standard drink.

A standard drink is…

Next, it’s essential to figure out how many “standard drinks” are actually in your favorite drink.

If you usually drink a glass with 3 oz. of vodka every night, or a pint of beer which is equal to 16 oz., the number of standard drinks will change depending on the % of alcohol and quantity.

To determine the % of alcohol, look at the bottle to find the alcohol % noted.  How big is the bottle? Consider the size. Beer bottles, for example, come in a variety of sizes ranging from 8 to 40 oz. If the alcohol content is unclear click here for the full list of beers, wines, wine coolers, liquors and liqueurs. Scroll down the page until you locate your favorite drink. The alcohol content will be listed in the column to the right. Note that .05 = 5%, and .40 = 40%. If you drink outside the home, and you’re unclear exactly how much alcohol the bartender pours in your favorite drink, the only way to find out is to ask.

Once you’ve determined the size (oz., mls.) and alcohol %, enter the information below to figure out just how many standard drinks are in your favorite drink.


Here’s the number of standard drinks in that drink:

What is Moderate Drinking?

Moderate drinking is defined as no more than 3-4 standard drinks per drinking episode, and no more than 7 drinks per week for women and 12 for men. If your objective is to moderate or cut back on your drinking, consider the following: 1) If you find that you’re drinking more than the moderate drinking guidelines by cutting back on alcohol you’ll reduce your risk for problems; and 2) Even moderate drinking may put you at risk for alcohol-related problems if you’re currently not drinking; or if you’ve had significant alcohol related problems in the past.

Lastly, If the answer above leaves you wondering or concerned about your drinking, click on the Screener button at the top of the page and get some objective feedback. It’s confidential and anonymous.

5 thoughts on “If You’re Cutting Back, You Have to Know How Much Alcohol Is in That Drink

  1. That’s interesting that beer would have less alcohol content than spirits or wine. I feel like that would let you drink more and get less drunk. I’ll have to make sure to just drink beer so that I don’t have too much alcohol next time I go to the sports bar with the boys to watch a game.

    1. That’s true. Just remember though that a 12 oz 5% beer has as much alcohol as 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor. And some craft beers have much higher alcohol percents.

    2. Tyler, Just be mindful that people can get just as drunk with beer as with spirits. They just need to consume more volume and there’s plenty of people who can drink a 6 pack over the course of a couple hours. And that would put most people in DWI territory.

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