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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Standard Drink of Alcohol

What is a Standard Drink of Alcohol? Many people are surprised to learn what counts as an actual drink. In Canada, a "standard drink” is any drink that contains about 13.6 grams of "pure" alcohol. Know what a standard drink is so that you know how much alcohol you are actually drinking.


One Standard Drink Equals:

  • 341 ml (12 oz) bottle of 5% alcohol beer, cider or cooler
  • 43 ml (1.5 oz) shot of 40% hard liquor (vodka, rum, whisky, gin, etc.)
  • 142 ml (5 oz) glass of 12% alcohol wine
  • Remember that high alcohol % beers, coolers, cider and fortified wines contain more than one standard drink.

Understanding Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

Watch Understanding Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, which explains Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. Learn about:

  • What is a “standard drink”?
  • Guidelines to follow to reduce your risks with alcohol
  • When it is important not to drink

Additional Information

Read and Print Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Standard Drink Poster (PDF 366KB)  to find out what one Standard Drink really is. Find out more information on Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines or How You Can Reduce Your Alcohol Risks.

Date of creation: January 1, 2013
Last modified on: December 31, 2014


1Canadian Centre on Substance Misuse. (2011). Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. Retrieved from