Drink equivalency is important for you to understand in order to serve alcohol responsibly. As a server, you want to count standard servings of alcohol, not drinks, because a drink can contain more than one standard serving of alcohol.
What is a standard serving of alcohol?
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor or 1 ounce of 100-proof
Note: These standards are based on 5% alcohol in 12 oz. beer, 12% alcohol in 5 oz. wine.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “in the United States, a ‘standard’ drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of ‘pure’ alcohol.” Standard drink equivalents are: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces 80-proof liquor or 1 ounce 100-proof.
In order to estimate how much time it will take the body to eliminate what was consumed, the size of the drink and the amount of alcohol the drink contains must also be considered. For example, a mixed drink containing more than one shot of liquor should be counted as more than one drink. As a server, it’s also important that you know how much the glasses hold at your establishment, so you can better estimate how much alcohol you are serving your customers.
Although this amount of wine differs slightly, you only need to concern yourself with this when you are providing a free drink to a patron. Licensees may provide one free standard drink to a person per offering, provided the giving of the alcoholic beverage is not contingent upon the purchase of any other alcoholic beverage.
Did you know?
- Irritates the linings of the stomach and intestine. This can lead to vomiting.
- Increases blood flow to the stomach and intestines. This increases secretions by these organs, most notably stomach acid.
- Increases blood flow to the skin. This causes a person to sweat and look flushed. Sweating causes body heat to be lost and the person’s body temperature may actually fall below normal.
- Reduces blood flow to muscles and the brain. This can lead to muscle aches and headaches, most notably when a person recovers from the alcohol (the “hangover”).
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Slide 23: Drink Equivalency