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How Many Shots Are in a Fifth of Whiskey? Shots in 750ml

If you are a whiskey lover, you may encounter such a query: How many shots are in a fifth of whiskey? This seemingly simple question delves into the realms of measurement, tradition, and the art of drinking. A fifth, equating to 750ml, is not just a bottle size but a gateway to understanding both the history and the practical aspects of alcohol consumption. In this blog, we'll unravel this mystery, exploring the standard shot sizes, delving into the conversion metrics that bridge milliliters and ounces, and even touching upon how this knowledge can enhance your next social gathering. By the end of this article, you will be well-versed in the mathematics of whiskey. Keep reading!

A Fifth of Whiskey

What Is a Fifth of Whiskey?

A fifth of whiskey is a term that originates from the early 20th century United States, denoting a bottle size equivalent to one-fifth of a US gallon, or about 757 ml. This measurement has historical roots in the American liquor industry, where spirits were traditionally sold by the gallon. Over time, for convenience and standardization, the fifth evolved into what we now recognize as a standard bottle size of 750 ml, or approximately 25.4 ounces. This slight adjustment in size was made to align more closely with the metric system, which is used globally. Today, a fifth remains a common reference for a standard bottle of whiskey or other spirits, encompassing a blend of historical practice and modern measurement.

What Is the Standard Shot Size?

The concept of a standard shot size varies globally, but it generally refers to the amount of liquor typically served in a single shot glass. In the United States, the standard shot size is commonly understood to be 1.5 ounces (44.36 ml). This measurement is widely used in bars and restaurants across the country for serving a variety of spirits, including whiskey.

However, it's important to note that the standard shot size can vary slightly depending on regional practices or the establishment's policy. In some places within the U.S., a shot might be slightly smaller at 1.25 ounces, or a bit more generous at 1.75 ounces. This variation can affect the total number of shots you can pour from a standard bottle of whiskey.

Globally, the standard shot size differs even more. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a standard shot is 25 ml or 35 ml, while in Canada, it's typically 1.0 ounce (29.57 ml). In Australia and parts of Europe, 30 ml is common. These differences reflect cultural preferences and legal standards regarding alcohol service.

How Many Shots in a Fifth of Whiskey?

Whiskey in Glass Cups

Now that having known the concept of a fifth of whiskey and the standard shot size, we naturally arrive at the question: How many shots can you get from a fifth of whiskey? This calculation is straightforward.

A standard fifth of whiskey is 750 ml, or about 25.4 ounces. Using the U.S. standard shot size of 1.5 ounces, the math is simple. By dividing the total volume of the bottle (25.4 ounces) by the volume of one shot (1.5 ounces), we find that a fifth of whiskey typically contains approximately 16.9 shots. This rounds to about 17 shots per fifth.

However, this number can fluctuate slightly based on the exact shot size used. For instance, if a bar pours slightly smaller shots at 1.25 ounces, a fifth of whiskey would yield around 20.3 shots. Conversely, with more generous 1.75-ounce shots, you'd get approximately 14.5 shots from a fifth.

Factors That Influence the Number of Shots

Understanding the factors that influence the number of shots in a fifth of whiskey is crucial for accurate serving and inventory management, especially in a bar or restaurant setting. While the standard bottle size and shot volume provide a baseline, several variables can affect the actual number of shots.

  1. Variations in Shot Size: As discussed, the standard shot size can vary from 1.25 to 1.75 ounces in the U.S. and even more internationally. This variance directly affects the number of shots per bottle.
  2. Pouring Technique: The precision of the person pouring the shots can lead to differences in the amount served. A freehand pour is often less accurate than using a jigger or shot glass, which can result in either more or fewer shots per fifth.
  3. Evaporation and Waste: In a bar setting, spillage or evaporation (especially in the case of open bottles over time) can slightly reduce the amount of whiskey available for pouring, thus affecting the total number of shots.
  4. Intended Use: The intended use of the whiskey can also influence the number of shots. For instance, in cocktail preparation, exact measurements are essential, which might differ from the amount used in a straight pour.
  5. Legal and Cultural Practices: Different regions have various legal requirements and cultural norms for serving alcohol. These practices can dictate the shot size and, consequently, the number of shots in a bottle.

How to Pour the Perfect Shot?

Pour Whiskey

Pouring the perfect shot is both an art and a science, crucial for consistency in cocktail crafting and responsible alcohol service. Whether you're a professional bartender or a home enthusiast, mastering this skill ensures each drink is as intended.

  • Use Measuring Tools: The most accurate way to pour a shot is to use a jigger or a shot glass. Jiggers come in various sizes, often with two different measurements on each end. For a standard 1.5-ounce shot, fill the larger end of the jigger to the brim.
  • Understand Pour Speed and Count: In professional settings, bartenders often use the counting method while pouring, correlating a count to ounces. For instance, a count of “one-two” might equal approximately 1.5 ounces. This method requires practice and a consistent pouring speed to be accurate.
  • Angle the Bottle Correctly: When pouring, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle to control the flow of the whiskey. This allows for a smooth, steady pour and reduces the risk of overpouring or spilling.
  • Use Pour Spouts for Control: In a bar setting, using pour spouts on your whiskey bottles can help control the flow and improve accuracy. Spouts provide a consistent flow rate, which is essential for accurate counting and freehand pouring.

Other Measurements for Whiskey

Beyond the standard shot, there are several measurements that enthusiasts and professionals should be familiar with. These measurements are crucial for understanding recipes, discussing whiskey, and serving it appropriately. They include:

  • Dram: In Scotland, a dram is a colloquial term for a small pour of whiskey, usually around 1 ounce (29.57 ml), without a standardized measurement.
  • Pony: Historically in the U.S., a pony refers to 1 ounce (29.57 ml) of liquor, mainly found in older cocktail literature.
  • Double: A double is twice the standard shot size, typically 3 ounces (88.72 ml) in the U.S., for a larger serving of whiskey.
  • Jigger: A jigger measures 1.5 ounces (44.36 ml) of liquor and is also the name of the dual-sided tool used for measuring.
  • Finger: A casual measurement, a finger of whiskey is the amount that reaches the same level as one horizontal finger against the bottom of a glass.
  • Bottle Sizes: Apart from a standard fifth (750 ml), whiskey comes in various sizes, including a half-pint (200 ml), a pint (375 ml), a liter (1,000 ml), and large formats like magnums (1.5 liters) and double magnums (3 liters).


Understanding the number of shots in a fifth of whiskey is more than a party trick; it's essential for accurate cocktail making and responsible alcohol consumption. While there are approximately 16 to 17 standard U.S. shots in a fifth, remember this number can vary based on the shot size and pouring method.

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