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Drinking Responsibly: How Much is One Drink?

Drinking Responsibly: How Much is One Drink?

Practicing Safe Drinking Habits During the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, there may be celebrations and other festivities that involve alcohol. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drinking-related accidents rise during this time of year, claiming an average of 300 lives between Christmas and New Year’s each year. In light of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, keep the following information in mind to make sure you and your loved ones drink responsibly this holiday season.

What is “One Drink?”

Many of us have heard the rule of thumb that you should pace yourself by only having one alcoholic drink per hour, allowing your body to break down the alcohol. While many alcoholic beverages can come prepackaged or pre portioned, the individual packaging isn’t always an accurate reflection of what is considered a single drink serving. Many people actually don’t know what constitutes “one drink” for different types of alcohol. Following are some guidelines that you can follow:


When it comes to beer, it is important to pay attention to the alcohol content of your drink. Alcohol content for beer can range from three percent to 13 percent, however, five percent is average. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 12 ounces is considered one serving size of the average beer.


The average wine has between 12 percent and 13 percent alcohol content. Similarly to beer, depending on the type of wine being consumed, wine can range from five percent to 15 percent alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that a five-ounce glass of wine that has about a 12 percent alcohol content constitutes one drink.

Distilled Spirits

Although distilled spirits have different average alcohol contents based on the type of liquor, their serving size remains the same across the board. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a one-and-a-half-ounce shot glass is considered a single serving size when it comes to liquor.

So this season, as you deck the halls and ring in the New Year, remember to keep these guidelines in mind for safe, responsible holiday celebrations.

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