What is a standard drink in Australia?
A standard drink is a measure of alcohol consumption, referring to the amount of pure alcohol in a drink. Despite the name, a “standard drink” varies from country to country.
How many grams of alcohol are in a standard drink in Australia?
According to the Australian Department of Health, “a standard drink is always equal to 10g of alcohol”. Not all drinks are equal though – some drinks have a more concentrated amount of alcohol and are stronger than others!
How many standard drinks should you have?
Alcohol can have plenty of dangerous effects on the body if consumed in copious amounts. For men and women in good health, one to two standard drinks or a total of no more than 20 grams of alcohol is a safe amount. If you want further clarification, The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has published a guide on reducing health risks related to drinking alcohol.
Since a standard drink is about alcohol concentration, it’s important to read the label. The label can tell you the concentration of alcohol in a particular drink, so if a drink happens to be unlabelled (the usual case for homebrews) it can be doubly dangerous since you won’t know how much alcohol you’re actually taking in.
What does one standard drink look like?
A standard drink can range from a single shot to a full pint. Here’s a very rough idea of what different standard drinks might look like:
- A schooner of mid-strength beer (375ml, 3.5 percent alcohol by volume)
- A glass of red wine (100ml, 13.5 percent ABV)
- A shot of straight spirit (30ml, 40 percent ABV)
- A can of full-strength, pre-mixed spirits (250ml, 5 percent ABV)
Remember that drinks come in containers of different shapes and sizes! Pay attention to what’s written on the labels: A bottle of beer can be anywhere from 330ml to 375ml and can contain 2.7 percent to 4.8 percent alcohol.
Another way to check how many standard drinks you might have is by using a drinks calculator. These take the amount of alcohol and kind of drinks you had, and it’ll give you a general idea of how many standard drinks it contains.
How many standards are in my favourite drink?
Different drinks, different containers, different alcohol content! Here are some of Australia’s favourite drinks, and how they measure up:
This Canadian whisky, popularly known as CC, comes in seven versions. It comes in a ready-to-drink mix in Australia, with cans containing 375ml with 4.8 percent ABV. This is equal to 1.4 standard drinks, a little more than the usual glass of beer.
Carlton Dry is the low carb alternative to Carlton Draught. With 4.5 percent ABV and coming in 355ml bottles, the low-carb alternative is quickly gaining popularity. Each bottle is equal to 1.3 standard drinks.
Fondly called Very Best, Victory Beer, Vitamin B, or simply VB, this beer has been around for ages. A 375ml bottle has 4.9 percent ABV, which is equal to 1.4 standard drinks.
For non-beer drinkers, Vodka Cruisers are a fun alternative. It comes in so many flavours that you’re sure to find something to love: mudshake chocolate, wild raspberry, zesty lemon-lime, and so on. Its 275ml bottles are 4.60 percent ABV, and each one is exactly one standard drink!
If you want none of the fancy flavours and just want clean, smooth vodka, go for pure vodka like Smirnoff. These bottles come in different sizes, but a 1.125 litre bottle has 37.50 percent ABV and is equal to 33 standard drinks!
Another American import, a 750ml bottle with 40.00 percent ABV is equal to 22 standard drinks!
How many standard drinks does it take to reach the alcohol limit?
A person’s blood alcohol content changes with every drink they take. But this isn’t the same for everyone – this depends on a number of factors, such as body size, food intake, and even drinking experience! Blood alcohol content can be measured via breathalysers or breath tests.
Blood alcohol content or BAC is an indicator that alcohol is already affecting you. Even a very tiny amount will affect your judgement, concentration, and ability to do different things. Just because you feel fine doesn’t always mean you aren’t drunk – that might be the alcohol impairing your judgement.
In Australia, the legal alcohol limit is 0.05 BAC percentage. Once you go over this, it’s illegal to drive – but the chance of getting into an accident is still twice as high as when you have zero alcohol in your system! Learner, provisional, and probationary drivers must always have 0.00 BAC when driving.