Knowing how many shots are in a bottle of liquor will help you stock a bar and plan for a party. For instance, a standard 750-milliliter bottle (also called a "fifth") is 25.4 ounces. That results in about 16 shots of liquor, and if it's the base spirit (such as vodka, tequila, or whiskey), you can generally expect to make 16 cocktails from one bottle.
However, liquor bottles come in many sizes, and drink recipes don't use a conventional 1 1/2-ounce shot of every liquor. A few charts can take the guesswork out of estimating how much liquor and mixers you need to make the drinks you intend to serve.
The Average Cocktail Pour
The number of cocktails you can make with one bottle of liquor will vary from drink to drink. When estimating your needs, it's helpful to know that the average cocktail uses:
- The base liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, etc.) is often a standard shot of 1 1/2 ounces.
- Liqueurs are typically poured between 1/2 ounce and 3/4 ounce.
- Accent juices, such as lemon and lime, usually use 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce.
- Filling a highball or tall drink with juice or soda often requires four to six ounces.
Liquor Shots per Bottle
The majority of distilled spirits and wines are available in 750-milliliter bottles. Some alcohol producers also offer pints, half-pints, and liters, while liquor may be sold in miniature bottles as well. The largest sizes (magnums and handles) are extremely rare, so don't expect to find many of these bottles.
The chart represents popular bottle sizes in both metric and U.S. imperial volumes and the average number of standard 1 1/2-ounce shots each will yield.
|How Many Shots Are in a Bottle?|
|Bottle||Milliliters||Ounces||Shots per Bottle|
|Miniature (aka Mini or Nip)||50 ml||1.7 oz||1 shot|
|Quarter Pint||100 ml||3.4 oz||2 shots|
|Half Pint||200 ml||6.8 oz||4 shots|
|Pint||375 ml||12.7 oz||8 shots|
|Standard Bottle (aka Fifth)||750 ml||25.4 oz||16 shots|
|Liter||1 L||33.8 oz||22 shots|
|Magnum||1.5 L||50.7 oz||33 shots|
|Half Gallon (aka Handle)||1.75 L||59.2 oz||39 shots|
|Double-Magnum (aka Jeroboam)||3 L||101.4 oz||67 shots|
|Rehoboam||4.5 L||152.2 oz||101 shots|
How many glasses are in a bottle of wine?
Unless you're making wine cocktails, wine is an entirely different story. The standard pour of wine is five ounces, so a 750-milliliter bottle is enough for about five glasses.
Estimating Mixer Yields
Mixers such as juices, syrups, and sodas are not as easy to estimate because there are no standard bottle sizes. However, mixers are less expensive than liquor, so it's a good idea to overstock rather than be unprepared and run out.
The following chart includes the average mixer pours found in cocktail recipes. Not every drink uses each type of mixer, and some need more or less than others, so this is just a general guide.
For instance, a cosmopolitan requires 1/2 ounce of lime juice, but you might need twice that amount of lemon juice if you offer a whiskey sour. Similarly, tall drinks like a gin and tonic require four or more ounces of soda to fill the glass, while a booze-filled highball like the Long Island iced tea will need just an ounce of cola.
|Mixers in the Average Cocktail|
|Drink Style||Accent Juice||Syrup||Soda|
|Martinis, Sours, & Short Drinks||1/4-1/2 oz||1/4-1/2 oz||Splash|
|Highballs, Collins, & Tall Drinks||Splash–1/2 oz||1/4-1/2 oz||4–6 oz|
The average soda bottle or can is 12 ounces, so estimate two to three drinks per container. Two-liter bottles are a cost-effective option for the more popular sodas and hold about 67 ounces.
Other mixers like bitters are easy. One bottle of each required style will be more than enough, and it will often last years in the average home bar.
Fresh Citrus Fruit Juice
When using fresh citrus juice, this chart will help you decide how many pieces of fruit you will need. Keep in mind that lemon and lime juices are often accents, while orange and grapefruit juices may require three or more ounces per drink. Either way, you'll get about two or three drinks per piece of fruit.
|Fresh Citrus Fruit Yields|
|1 Average-Sized Fruit||Juice Yield|
|Lemon||1 1/2 oz|
There are a couple of tricks to maximizing the juice yield of citrus fruits. First, let the fruits reach room temperature if you store them in the refrigerator. Then, before cutting the fruit open, roll it between the palm of your hand and the cutting board, pressing firmly but not enough to squash the fruit.
Juiced fruit is not usable for garnishes, though you can cut twists before juicing. Have extra produce on hand to cut wheels and wedges for your drinks. Prepare garnishes in advance; store sliced fruits in sealed containers and peels or twists in ice-cold water to keep them fresh.
An Example Stock for a Party
When you know the drinks you want to serve at a party, you can estimate how many bottles of each liquor are needed to create a certain number of drinks. As an example, let's say that you're hosting a party for 20 guests with a limited drink menu, so you might serve as many as 60 drinks.
Since you can get about 16 drinks from a standard bottle of liquor, you will need:
- A minimum of four bottles of base spirits.
- One or two bottles each of any liqueurs.
- At least 30 ounces (or 3 3/4 cups) each of any accent juices and syrup.
- The equivalent of five two-liter bottles of soda.
Adding more soda and juice also ensures you'll have plenty of nonalcoholic drink options.