How Many Shots In A Fifth? The numbers crunched

For new and seasoned drinkers, it can be difficult to know how much you have drank over a night or a week. You might have started with a full fifth of vodka at some point but now it is all gone. But how many shots does that mean you have drank? How many shots are in a fifth?

Why is a fifth bottle called a fifth?

750ml or 25.4fl oz is a fifth of a liquid gallon so that is where the name “a fifth” comes from and why a bottle of vodka is 750ml in the USA

How many shots are in a fifth?

There are 16 full shots and very nearly 17 shots in a fifth. A shot is 1.5fl oz and there are 25.4fl oz in a standard 750ml fifth bottle. The precise answer is there are 16.91 shots in a fifth

How big is a fifth bottle?

In all these calculations, in different parts of the world, there will be different sizes for just about any bottle.

In the USA…

If you think of a standard fifth, it will almost always be 750ml which equates to roughly 25.4fl oz.

In the UK, a fifth would likely come as a 700ml bottle.

CountrySize of bottle
Size of bottle per country

Why us a fifth bottle in Europe 700ml?

Back in the 1990s, the Eu decided that the size of a fifth bottle should be 700ml. The reason is that a shot is usually 25ml or 35ml and both can be divided into 700ml easily, so it was the perfect size for a European pub.

What is a standard shot?

Spirits can come in lots of unique shapes, sizes, strengths and from all over the world. What one person thinks of as a standard spirit might be completely different from someone else.

Luckily for everyone, the USDA have devised a list of “standard” alcoholic drinks. Each one contains the exact same amount of alcohol – 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces).

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit (e.g vodka)40%
Standard Drinks

How big is a standard shot?

From the information and definitions given to us by the USDA, we can see that a standard shot is 1.5fl oz. 

So in the USA, a standard shot is 1.5fl oz or 45ml.

Do standard shots change in different countries?

Unfortunately, a standard shot will change from country to country.

Even within an overall country or single market there can be lots of differences.

Take the UK for example…

A standard shot in England and Wales is 25ml (remember a standard US shot is 45ml).

A standard shot in Scotland and Northern Ireland is 35ml.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all make up the UK but there can be various laws, in this case liquor laws, that differ, how weird is that?!

So how many shots in a fifth bottle?

There are 16.9 shots in a fifth bottle in the USA. For European countries the ratios would be a lot different and the end numbers would also be different.

Are the any other different sized bottles available?

There are many different types and sizes of bottles. The common ones you might come across are the miniature, bottle, litre and handle. 

Below is the sizes difference and how many shots each of these contains…

Bottlemlfl ozShots
Handle/Half gallon175059.239.5
Shots in different sized bottles

How many shots to get you drunk?

So just how much of a fifth bottle do you need to get drunk?

I have written a whole article on this which you can read here

How many alcoholic shots does the average adult need to drink to get to a BAC of 0.08% and drunk under the law? 

The CDC tells us that the average 160lb adult male will need to drink 4 standard drinks, in this case vodka, to get to a BAC of 0.08%.

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