How Many Ounces in a Shot?

By: Michael Prentice

Just how much is a shot anyway? Depending on the quality of your tequila, your answer might be “too much”. But that’s not very scientific. Let’s take a closer look at just how many ounces are in a shot, along with a bunch of other measurements and variations.

If you just want the quick answer, a standard shot in the US is 1.5 fluid ounces, or 44 milliliters, or 3 tablespoons.

How Many Ounces in a Shot?

A standard shot of liquor such as tequila, vodka or whiskey typically contains 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of liquid. However, this measurement can vary slightly depending on the country or bar where the shot is being served. Some bars may serve shots with slightly less liquid, such as 1 ounce (30 milliliters), while others may serve larger shots, such as 2 ounces (59 milliliters).

Two tall tequila shots with two glasses of sangrita

Importance of Shot Measurement

Knowing how much liquid is in a shot glass is important for a few reasons:

  • Portion control – it’s important to watch how much you drink and how much you serve others (you will also need to know how much alcohol is in a shot to keep track).
  • Quantity tracking – say you’ve got a certain number of people to serve at a party. Knowing the quantity of alcohol in a shot helps you plan the number of bottles to have on stock.
  • Cocktail making – getting the portions right is key to making the perfect cocktail. There’s no harm in experimentation, but it’s nice to know exact measurements so you can replicate your creation again.

Shots Sizes Around the World

Around the world different countries have different standard shot sizes. Some are by custom (like most of the US), some by regulation like the UK.

CountryStandard Shot Size (fl oz)Standard Shot Size (ml)
United States1.544.36
United Kingdom:
England and Wales
Scotland and Northern Island


Mexico1.5 to 244.36 to 59.15
Europe1 to 2 (varies)30 to 60 (varies)

Shot Size Regulations

Only Utah has shot size regulations in the US

The US has no federally mandated shot size. Utah is the only state who imposes local regulations on the size of a shot, at a maximum 1.5 ounces.

While we’re on the subject – Utah’s drink serving regulations are a little quirky. In Utah any drink can have up to a maximum of 2.5 ounces of liquor in total, but only a maximum of 1.5 ounces can be from a single liquor. So you can’t order a double in Utah.

Australian shot size regulations

Under Australian law spirits must be served in sizes of 15 ml, 30 ml or 60 ml. However this only covers brandy, gin, rum, vodka and whisky/ey. Other spirits like tequila and mezcal are technically allowed to be served in any volume. In practice bars tend to stick to the same sizing for all spirits.

UK shot size regulations

The UK also sets restrictions on how big a shot is when served at a bar. Specified spirits must be served at either 25 ml, or 35 ml or multiples of each. And each bar or pub must stick to one or the other. For example bars could serve drinks at 25 ml, 50 ml and 75 ml but not any size in between.

In England and Wales, venues tend to go with 25 ml, while in Scotland and Northern Island, 35 ml is more common.

Similarly to Australia, these regulations technically only apply to gin, rum, vodka and whisky.

Types of Shot Glasses

  1. Standard Shot Glass:
    • A standard shot glass holds 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of liquid and is the most common type of shot glass.
    • Usually has a thick base and is designed for drinking its contents in one go as “a shot”.
  2. Pony Shot Glass:
    • Smaller than a standard shot glass, holding 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of liquid.
    • Has a stem and is used to serve liqueurs or cordials and is also known as a liqueur glass or a cordial glass.
  3. Tall Shot Glass:
    • A taller version of the standard shot glass, typically holding 2 ounces (59 milliliters) of liquid. Also called a shooter glass.
    • Designed for serving larger shots, layered or mixed drinks.
  4. Double Shot Glass:
    • Designed to hold 2 ounces (59 milliliters) of liquid, for serving double shots.
  5. Fluted Shot Glass:
    • Features a flared top and is often used for layered shots or as a decorative glass for sipping spirits.
  6. Tasting Shot Glass:
    • Smaller and more delicate, typically used for tasting flights of spirits or liqueurs.
  7. Cheater Shot Glass:
    • Generally only 1 ounce but made with an extra thick glass bottom to appear larger than it is.

How Full Should a Shot Glass Be?

In most cases a shot glass should be filled to the brim, ensuring that the proper amount of liquid is being served. This assumes that the size of the shot glass matches the size of your intended pour. This is particularly important when mixing cocktails, as over- or under-pouring can affect the balance of flavors in the drink.

How Much Alcohol is in a Shot?

The amount of alcohol in a shot depends on the size of the shot and the concentration of alcohol in the drink. A standard 1.5 ounce shot with 80 proof (40% ABV) liquor has 14 grams of pure alcohol. This is considered a standard drink in the US.

A standard sized shot in the UK is 25 ml or 35 ml. A shot of 40% ABV liquor in the UK contains 8 grams or 11.2 respectively. In the UK a 25 mL shot is considered a standard drink. A standard drink in the US is 1.75x a standard drink in the UK.

How Big is a Shot of Tequila in Mexico?

Mexican bars and restaurants typically serve shots of 1.5 or 2 ounces. Sometimes more expensive tequila might be offered in a 1 ounce pour. It is also common to offer different size pours with different prices.

In Mexico it is more common to sip tequila, rather than shoot it in one go. Even when served from a shooter glass, Mexicans are more likely to sip tequila.

How Many Ounces in a Shooter?

Shooters are typically served in larger shot glasses, the taller skinny ones, which are 2 ounces or about 60 mL. Shooters are mixed shots which typically contain a mix of spirits, liqueurs, and/or non-alcoholic beverages.

Shooters that contain ingredients with higher alcohol content are more likely to be served in 1.5 ounce shot glasses.

Standard Jigger Size in Ounces

A standard jigger has one side holding 2 ounces (59 milliliters) of liquid and the other holding 1 ounce (30 ml). However, jigger sizes can vary, with some having capacities holding 0.5 ounces (15 milliliters) and 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters).

A jigger is a bartending tool shaped like an hourglass, with opposing measuring cups, one larger than the other. Jiggers often have measuring lines to further increase the range of possible measurements.

Shot Glass, Shooter, and Jigger: A Comparison

To better understand the differences between a shot glass, shooter, and jigger, I’ve created a comparison table to outline their key features and uses:

FeatureShot GlassShooterJigger
PurposeServing straight shots of liquor or small mixed drinksServing larger shots, mixed drinks, or layered drinksMeasuring accurate volumes of alcohol and other ingredients for cocktails
VolumeStandard: 1.5 fl oz (44 ml) in the USOutside US: 25 ml (0.85 fl oz)  to 60 ml (2 fl oz)Standard: 2 fl ozVaries, common sizes are 1 fl oz (30 ml) on one side and 2 fl oz (59 ml) on the other
ShapeSmall, typically cylindrical with a thick baseTaller and narrower than a shot glassDouble-ended hourglass shape, with each end holding a different volume
MaterialsGlass, plasticGlass, plasticMetal
Comparison of a shot glass, shooter glass and a jigger.

How to Measure A Shot Without a Shot Glass or Jigger

If you don’t have a jigger, you can use a measuring spoon, small measuring cup, or the count method to measure a shot.

  • Measuring spoon: A standard shot (1.5 ounces and 44 milliliters) is equivalent to 3 tablespoons or 9 teaspoons.
  • Measuring cup: A ¼ cup is 2 ounces so could aim at pouring to three quarters full. ⅛ cup is 1 ounce, so you need two and a half ⅛ cups for one shot.
  • Count method: for this the bottle will need to have a pour spout. Each second pouring is 0.5 ounces, so count three seconds for one shot.

If you are pouring for more than one person and you only have larger sized measuring cups it might be easier to pour the total amount required into one glass and then distribute so that each person is given the same amount.

Wrapping up

I’m someone who generally likes to stay away from shots. I much prefer to sip and enjoy what I’m drinking. If it’s a less than enjoyable tequila, say, I might try drinking it alongside a beer, or by taking little bites on a salted lime in between sips. Or, I might try contemplating exactly how many ounces I’ve still got in front of me!


How many ounces in a shot?

There are 1.5 ounces in a standard shot in the US. In other countries a standard shot generally ranges between 1 and 2 ounces.

What does the “cl” mean on a shot glass?

The cl is the symbol for centiliter.  A centiliter is 1/100th of a liter. A milliliter (ml)  is 1/1000th of a liter. Shot glasses often have “2 cl” or “4 cl” marked next to a line representing the fill level. 2 cl is equivalent to 0.68 ounces, 4 cl is 1.35 ounces which is just less than a standard shot in the US.

How many capfuls in a shot?

Cap sizes can vary widely, so a shot can contain between two to four capfuls.

How many teaspoons in a shot?

A standard shot is nine teaspoons.

How many tablespoons in a shot?

A standard shot (1.5 ounces) is three tablespoons.

How many shots in a shooter?

A shooter contains 2 ounces which is 1.3 standard shots.

How many ounces in a shooter glass?

There are 2 ounces in a standard shooter glass.

How many cups in a shot?

There are 0.156 cups in a standard shot.

How many shots in a cup?

There are 5.3 standard shots in a cup. A standard shot has 1.5 ounces. A cup has 8 ounces.

How many shots in a Long Island Iced Tea?

There are about 1.7 shots worth of liquor in the official Long Island Iced Tea recipe. This is 2.54 ounces of liquor. There are five different liquors including vodka, rum, tequila, gin and Cointreau. In other popular versions of the recipe there are 2.5 shots worth of liquor, or 3.75 ounces total.

How much is a nip of alcohol?

A nip bottle size is 50 ml, which is 1.79 ounces, slightly larger than a standard shot in the US. In Australia a shot is sometimes called a nip – there it is 30 ml.

Leave a Comment