Liquor Bottle Sizes and OZ/ML Measurements
When it's time to stock your bar, you have to consider every ounce of alcohol when determining how much inventory you'll need to purchase.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 8 min read
Mixed drinks, shots, liquor, beer, and wine all require precise measurements. Unfortunately, since the metric system's implementation in the liquor industry (with the first metric bottles sold in New York around 1976), taking inventory can be frustrating at times.
If you're not comfortable with converting metric units to ounces, you'll need to make sure you brush up on your math skills before you dive into taking inventory. The chart below can act as a helpful guide for converting ounces to milliliters and shots per bottle. Still, ultimately you'll need to adapt those numbers to your establishment's specific needs.
Take a look at the table below so you can get an idea of the variety of liquor bottle sizes and their volumes. Of course, some are more common than others. Still, all bottle sizes should be taken into consideration when ordering inventory for your bar. You'll also find a few of the most standard glass sizes below this chart.
|Bottle Type||Ounces||Milliliters||Shots Per Bottle|
First, let's go over some of the most common bottle and glass sizes you'll be working with when you take inventory and create your orders. The bottles in this list are the ones you're most likely to order in bulk, and the glasses will be some of the most common ones you'll use for things like draft beer or drinks on the rocks.
For example, one of the most common forms that a beer will be served as is as a pint.
When taking inventory, you'll have to consider the exact size of the drinks you serve. The glasses listed here are the most common ones you'll use to serve alcohol. Some "glasses" aren't even made of glass, like ceramic beer steins which come in all shapes and sizes.
A standard shot is 1.5 ounces, which is also the size of miniature bottles, or a nip. It contains 44.36 mL. This amount is what you would use for a base liquor in most mixed drinks.
One question that comes up often is how many shots will get you drunk? That's a really complicated question that is a lot easier to answer in broad strokes, as every individual processes alcohol differently.
Although there are several different beer glasses out there, the 16-ounce pint glass is the one you'll use most often behind the bar. Beer commonly gets poured from the tap into this type of glass.
Ever wonder how many pints of Guinness are poured on St. Patrick's Day? If so, we got you covered with our St. Paddy's Day Guinness Guide.
A highball glass could hold anywhere from 8-12 ounces of liquor. So when taking inventory, you'll need to factor in what size drinks you'll offer your guests.
These lowball glasses mainly get used for drinks on the rocks or, you know, an Old Fashioned, and hold 6-8 ounces of liquor.
When creating your inventory, you should always keep your drink menu handy. If you've been in business awhile, you'll likely know your list backward and forward, but when you're just starting out, you'll want to have it on hand.
One of the most valuable aspects of using standard bottle sizes, such as a fifth or handle, is that you may eventually be able to work out the math in your head without using a calculator.
Because beer is much lower in alcohol content than most liquors, it is generally found in larger bottles or served in bigger beer glasses.
A standard longneck or stubby bottle is usually 12 ounces, although there are other sizes you might find, too. For example, a growler of beer contains 64 ounces, and a pony holds 7 ounces. Certain non-US beers also come in a variety of sizes, such as the standard British bottle, which is 16.9 ounces.
If you're the type of person who wants to shotgun beers, you're going to need a can, preferably 12oz.
Also called a handle, a half-gallon contains 59.2 ounces or 1.75 L. This type of bottle holds 39 shots and is generally not one you would find behind a bar. It is also the most common size for pitchers when serving pitchers of beer.
Yes, it's true, a half gallon is 64oz. In the case of alcohol, both get used interchangably. So keep that in mind.
Question: Ever wonder how much a handle of Tito's costs?
A fifth of a gallon of alcohol is a standard bottle size most often used for wine and liquor. It contains 750 mL and is the one you'll purchase most frequently for your bar. Before the 20th century, these bottles were also called commercial quarts.
Below are some of the less-common bottle sizes you might come across when making purchases for your bar. The larger sizes might be best for stocking a bar if you think your establishment will go through the alcohol quickly enough to avoid spoiling. However, by and large, the larger sizes listed here are not very practical for a bar.
The Jeroboam, also referred to as a double magnum, is a large bottle that holds 3 L, or 101.4 ounces. This bottle typically gets used for wine, and the only exception to this rule is Bordeaux, which contains 5 L. This type of wine bottle holds 67 shots and is the equivalent of 4 standard bottles of wine. It is also the most common volume found in boxed wines.
Named for the Biblical King of Babylon, a Nebuchadnezzar holds a whopping 15 L of alcohol. Like the Jeroboam, this bottle most commonly contains wine. If you order a bottle of liquor this large, be sure the alcohol is a variety that will get used or won't spoil quickly. A Nebuchadnezzar is the equivalent of 20 standard bottles of wine.
The Balthazar, named for another Babylonian king, contains 12 L, which is the equivalent of 16 standard bottles of wine. Since a bottle this large is most commonly used as a wine bottle, this size should also only be included in your inventory if you're sure you'll go through it relatively quickly.
A half-pint bottle holds 6.8 ounces of alcohol, or four 1.5 ounce shots. One of the most common types of alcohol that comes in a half-pint is Hennessy cognac.
A nip holds 50 mL, or 1.7 ounces, of alcohol and can also be called a mini. These bottles contain one 1.5 ounce shot and are the standard size for airline bottles, gifts, or samples.
Standard bottle sizes in the European Union differ in size from those in the US. One example of this difference is the demi. A demi is considered a European metric pint. It holds 350 mL, which is the equivalent of 11.8 oz, or seven shots. It means that a demi is slightly less than a US pint and is half the size of a standard spirit bottle in the EU, also known as a metric quart.
Other sizes include
One of the most important things to be well-versed in when taking inventory and creating shipments is the standard pour for each type of alcohol. Knowing this will ensure your drinks are consistent in flavor and strength and that you will be able to make a more accurate estimate when determining your needs.
A standard pour is usually the equivalent of one shot or 1.5 ounces. However, this amount will vary based on the type of establishment providing the liquor. For example, an open bar at a wedding venue might use a 1.25-ounce pour. On the other hand, a high-end establishment might increase the standard pour to 2 ounces.
For example, this may come into play when ordering your whiskey neat.
The standard pour for liquor on the rocks is 2 ounces. The amount has to do with the fact that the alcohol is the only fluid in the glass and the customer usually wants to sip their drink slowly.
When making mixed drinks, the standard pour is one shot. However, this can vary from one bartender to the next. To ensure your bartenders are consistent in their pours for mixed drinks, make sure they use an alcohol measuring tool, such as a jigger or measuring spout.
The most considerable variation on the standard pour is a 4-count pour, which usually features in bars with a high volume of customers. It is much quicker than measuring each portion, but you should make sure your employees know what this type of pour looks like once it's in the glass.
To determine how much alcohol you need to purchase, you need to know how many shots are in a bottle. It often requires a bit of mathematical conversion because the labels on most liquor bottles are in metric units.
A standard shot is 1.5 oz, which is the amount that would also go into most mixed drinks. One exception to this rule is a liqueur, which can often accompany a dessert. A standard pour for a dessert liqueur is roughly three-fourths of an ounce.
One ounce equates to 29.57 mL. So, to find the number of mL in a shot, you need to multiply 29.57 by 1.5, which comes out to 44.36 mL. Knowing this measurement will be a great help when it comes time to order your standard 750 mL bottles.
A 750 mL bottle is standard for wine and alcohol. This bottle size is ideal for behind a bar because these bottles take up less space and are uniform in size. Behind a bar is one place where you shouldn't have to worry about opening a wine bottle without a wine key.
A 750 mL bottle is the equivalent of 25.4 ounces, or one-fifth of a gallon, which is why liquor bottles this size are commonly called "a fifth." It is the type of bottle most people will think of when they picture a bottle of liquor. Using that knowledge, you can calculate how many shots are in a standard bottle of liquor.
As stated previously, a standard shot is 1.5 ounces. In one 750 mL bottle of alcohol, there are 16 shots. When factoring in mixed drinks, 1.5 ounces is the measurement you should use.
A half-liter, or half of a fifth of alcohol, contains approximately eight shots, or 12.7 ounces. A standard size for liqueurs is 375 mL. These bottles are smaller than the standard liquor bottle because the pours are generally done in smaller portions, such as three-fourths to one-half of an ounce per drink, and will spoil more quickly.
Liter-sized liquor bottles aren't as common in the United States as the half-gallon or fifth as they are overseas, but it's still important to be clear on just how much a liter holds.
A liter contains 1,000 mL of alcohol.
There are 33.8 ounces in a liter, which means it holds 25% more alcohol than the standard 750 mL bottle.
You can get approximately twenty-two 1.5-ounce shots from a liter of liquor.
Understanding the most common and uncommon liquor bottle sizes is essential when taking inventory and placing orders for your bar. Not only does size need to be taken into account, but popularity and the length of time you expect a bottle to remain open also need to be considered.
In many cases, you can use software that allows you to track inventory and easily place orders. This type of software can help ensure you aren't losing money on wasted stock.
Whether you're updating inventory for your bar, stocking it for the first time, or shipping alcohol to customers in other regions, you need to be clear on exactly how much alcohol you have or need. If you know how much alcohol the bottles behind your bar each hold, you will have a much easier time handling all inventory-related tasks.