Here's How Many Shots You'd Have To Drink To Equal A Glass Of Wine

Assorted glasses of wine, beer, cocktails, and other alcohol
Assorted glasses of wine, beer, cocktails, and other alcohol - Elerium/Getty Images

Whether you're spending a night out with friends or just relaxing in the comfort of your own home, it's not uncommon to unwind or have dinner paired with a drink. But any time you go to pour yourself a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine, there is one thing to keep in mind: How much is too much? If your usual go-to is a glass of wine but you're itching for a cocktail instead, then stick to just one standard drink -- because one standard 1.5-ounce shot of liquor is equal to one 5-ounce glass of wine.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The average glass of wine has an alcohol by volume percentage (ABV) of right around 12%, while the average shot of liquor has an ABV of around 40%. But just because it's the average amount doesn't mean it's the only amount; white wine actually has a lower average ABV than red wine. And what about other types of wine, such as Champagne or port? It turns out there are some differences to keep in mind.

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A Shot Of Liquor Usually Equals About One Glass Of Wine

A glass of red wine with two wine bottles
A glass of red wine with two wine bottles - Image Source/Getty Images

If you go to a restaurant and order a standard single Moscow Mule or other vodka drink, you can assume it's equal to a standard glass of their house pinot grigio. There is a reason why the amount of vodka is so much less: water. The alcohol distillation process differs depending on the type of alcoholic drink. When it comes to spirits, the distillation process removes most of the water content, getting it closer to pure alcohol than something like wine or beer. That explains why it takes much less vodka to equal a whole glass of wine.

While a standard 5-ounce glass of wine has an ABV of around 12%, it's important to understand what you're drinking because that alcohol content can differ. The ABV of most white wines ranges from 6% to 14%, averaging right around 10%. (To wit, that doesn't mean all types of white wine have an ABV on the lower end -- Champagne has an average ABV of 12.2%, for instance.) Red wine, on the other hand, averages higher at roughly 13.5%, though again, the ABV can depend on the bottle or the varietal. While the alcohol content of each type of wine differs slightly, the general rule of thumb for all of these still remains that one shot of liquor equals roughly one glass of wine.

Here's When One Shot Isn't Always Equal To 5 Ounces Of Wine

Two shots of tequila on a wooden board with salt and limes
Two shots of tequila on a wooden board with salt and limes - Yulia Gust/Shutterstock

Port wine, commonly served with dessert, is a popular wine type that differs from the standard in that it has a much higher alcohol content. Sweet port wines usually fall between 16% and 20% ABV, meaning they can have up to double the alcohol content of a standard glass of white wine. Still, a serving of port wine is smaller -- only equal to 3 ounces -- so, in that case, you'd only have to drink about 0.9 ounces of liquor (a little more than half a shot) to equal a glass of port wine.

Port wine's higher alcohol content explains its lower portion size. Other high-alcohol wines include common types like Zinfandel and fortified wines like Madeira. The ABV for Zinfandel can go as high as 16% ABV, while Madeira wines can be up to 20%. Ultimately, when it comes to comparing liquor to wine for consuming purposes, you also have to listen to your body to know your limit.

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