What a Serving of Alcohol Looks Like [Infographic]

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Share it:
What a Serving of Alcohol Looks Like [Infographic]

Quick, what does one serving of your favorite drink look like? It’s not as easy to quantify as we think, and chances are you’re probably putting more calories in your body than you realize.

On average, it takes about an hour for the body to metabolize one standard drink as defined by U.S. guidelines: 12 ounces of 5% beer, 5 ounces of 12% wine or 1.5 ounces of 40% liquor. Obviously this varies with body weight, sex, age, individual metabolic rate, the type and strength of the alcohol, whether you’ve eaten recently and what medications you take, but if those serving sizes sound small compared to what the bartender serves or what you typically pour yourself, just wait until we show you some of your favorite cocktails.

To help you log those boozy beverages more accurately, we’re showing you what one standard serving of 10 different alcoholic beverages really looks like (at least according to the International Bartender’s Association) and the calories each serving contains.


  • Ernesto

    Very handy!! Thanks

  • Ines Angel

    How can the martini have more calories than the margarita which has a ton of sugar in it?!

    • Ken Girard

      2 oz Tequila, 1 oz Lime juice, 1 oz Cointreau [a brand of triple sec, which is an orange-flavoured liqueur… around 80proof] = Margarita… One can add salt or sugar to the rim. I have never had one with sugar on it… never even been offered it that way. What is in the mix you buy to shortcut making it… that might be another story.

      1/2 oz Dry vermouth, 3 oz Gin = Dry Martini

      Most 40%/80 proof alcohols are around 90 cals per ounce… so we have 3 oz of alcohol in a margarita, and 3.5 oz in a martini. Lime juice is around 9 cals per oz.

    • Teresia

      That’s what I said, too!

    • KBK

      They didn’t use the same amount of alcohol in each drink, so the comparison isn’t really any good.

  • Ines Angel

    What about the sugar in the triple sec or Cointreau?

  • Ines Angel

    And I make margaritas from scratch!

  • PW

    I wish articles like this would use the metric system. The trouble with fluid ounces is there are two different types. US and imperial. 12 US fluid ounces equals approx 355ml. 12 imperial fluid ounces equals 341ml.

    In Australia, one standard drink is 10 grams of pure alcohol. The trouble is grams are a measure of weight whereas ml is a measure of volume. So 250ml of 4% alcohol by volume beer doers not equal 10 grams of alcohol, since alcohol is lighter than water. As it turns out 285ml of 4.5% beer equates to one standard drink.

  • useless opinion

    bottle of decent pomerol 680 cals. That is a winner.

  • Karen Wick

    thank you for the article, time to get drunk!

  • Patricia L Harris

    Love this! Thanks. And where do we get the cool measuring cup?