How Many shots does it take to get drunk?

How Many Shots to Get Drunk?

Meet Luke

Luke is a Level I Certified Whiskey Specialist with a passion for exploring and unearthing the best whiskeys around. Luke has a preference for Rye whiskeys but has tasted over 250 different whiskeys to date varying from bourbons to scotches. He continues to expand upon his whiskey knowledge by tasting dozens of bottles monthly and reviewing them here on Barrel and Brew as he pursues his Masters of Whiskey certification.

Alright, so you’re going to a party, and you just know you’re going to be taking some shots. Or, perhaps you’re getting ready to go out and want a nice little buzz before you get there – how many shots should you take? How many shots will get you buzzed? How many will get you drunk? How many is too many?

These are all questions we plan to answer, but a lot of it is going to depend on you and what you’re drinking. We’ll cover this next.

How Many shots does it take to get drunk?

How Many Shots at What Proof?

If you’re wondering how many shots it takes to get drunk, the first thing to consider is what kind of liquor you are drinking – or really, the proof the liquor is bottled at.

Proof refers to 2x the amount of the alcohol content by volume. For example, Tito’s and most other vodka’s are 40% alcohol by volume. Therefore, they are 80 proof. If something is 50% ABV, then it’s 100 proof. You can check out How Many Beers Equal a Shot to learn more about ABV and alcohol content.

A Standard Shot

A standard shot of vodka is 1.5 oz @ 40% ABV. 40% of 1.5 is 0.6. So, a standard shot contains 0.6 oz of alcohol (ethanol). This is the equivalent of one 12 oz beer @ 5% ABV, or of one 5 oz pour of wine @ 12% ABV. 0.6 oz of alcohol is considered to be one standard drink.

Other Options

There’s a couple other ways you can go when taking shots. Pink Whitney and Truly Vodka are two options that are 60 proof, so 30% ABV. Other flavored spirits and liqueurs are bottled at 21% ABV, or 42 proof. These are lighter options you can go with so as not to get quite as drunk.

There’s also a flip side to this, you can go in the other direction. Everclear goes all the way up to 95% ABV, so one shot of that is equivalent to 2.375 standard shots. Cask strength whiskey is often around the 120 proof range, so at 60% ABV, it’s 1×5 times your standard shot.

High or Low Alcohol Tolerance

The other major factor when it comes to how many shots will get you drunk is your own individual tolerance for alcohol.

According to Stanford Medicine, there are many factors that will influence your tolerance level. Some of those include genetics, body weight, sex, the pace at which you drink, etc. A female that weighs 100 lbs won’t have the same tolerance levels as a 250lb male, so it’ll take less drinks for the smaller woman to get drunk.

How Many Shots Does it Take to Get Drunk?

Let’s start with a standard shot. Let’s also remember that this is very dependent upon your own tolerance levels and how quickly you take these shots.

Someone with lower tolerance levels can feel buzzed after simply 1 or 2 shots. 3 or 4 shots and they will likely be drunk.

Someone with a medium tolerance level will likely have to take 2 or 3 shots to get a buzz while it may take up to 5 shots to get drunk.

Someone with a high tolerance level will need 3 or 4 shots to get a buzz and 6 or 7 shots to get drunk.

Taking out the tolerance factor, and assuming a standard shot, the time in between these shots will play the next biggest role. If someone is to rip 4 or 5 shots back to back to back, they will likely be drunk regardless of their tolerance levels.

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The type and amount of food in your stomach can also slow down ort speed up alcohol absorption, so that can play a role.

Taking Shots Safely

Most of us who have been drinking long enough or hard enough have a story or two about taking one too many shots. They can be very fun, liven up a party, and work as a punishment for losing in drinking games. However, they can become dangerous.

My first piece of advice is to know your limits. (How can you know your limit if you haven’t reached it or gone past it, I know, I know). Which brings me to my second point. If you’re drinking multiple shots, wait before going on to the next. Let some time pass to see how you feel before moving on to the next.

There’s also the route of drinking something a little lighter. If everyone’s taking shots and you’re a lightweight, you don’t want to get hammered but you don’t want to miss out, try taking a shot of a 42 proof liqueur. Take a shot of beer, seltzer, or wine.

Lastly, don’t be peer pressured into drinking anything you don’t want or anything that’s going to push you over the edge. Also, don’t be the person pressuring everyone to take shots and get drunk – let people drink at their own pace and when someone says no, listen!

Does Tequila Make You More Drunk?

Tequila is widely known for being a shot liquor or party liquor, but…. No. Tequila will not make you more drunk in comparison to alcohol of the same proof or ABV. Most tequila is actually bottled at 40% ABV or 80 proof, so it’ll affect your BAC the same as 80 proof whiskey, vodka, gin or rum.

Now, tequila may affect you in a different way than other liquors. The primary reason for this is our own beliefs about tequila. Our mood prior to drinking and while we drink can have a large effect on the affects of alcohol. If you always drink tequila with the mindset of getting f***** up, partying, raging, and so on, you’ll likely have more energy and drink more.

There’s also rumors that Tequila is the only alcohol that is a stimulant, so it energizes you and makes you want to party. This is also false. Alcohol, tequila included, is a depressant.

How many shots to get drunk


To wrap this up, let’s summarize the main points.

There are many factors that can determine how many shots it will take for you to get drunk – size, gender, genetics, contents in your stomach, the type/proof of alcohol you’re drinking, the speed at which you drink. All of these can play a role in how drunk or buzzed you’ll get from shots.

When it comes to standard shots, 3 or 4 – maybe even 1 or 2 for the lightest of lightweights – shots will get your lower tolerance drinkers drunk. 4 to 6 shots will get most people drunk. And it may take 6+ shots for a large man with a high alcohol tolerance to get drunk.

If you’re not sure how many shots it will take for you to get drunk, start slowly! Start with one or two shots and go from there. Or try lower proof liquor and liqueur. 21% ABV liqueurs are easy to find in stores and at parties, and they are nearly half as strong as your typical vodka or tequila.

Have fun, and be safe!

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