What are alcoholic units and measurements?

Information on alcohol units and how do you can work out how much you've had.

How is alcohol measured?: 

Working out how much alcohol you have had in a night might seem straight forward. You might think it’s just a case of counting how many alcopops, swigs of cider or shots of apple sours you’ve had, but there’s a bit more to it than that!

The amount of alcohol is different for each type of drink and it depends on how much pure alcohol it contains. 

The strength of drinks are shown as a percentage of alcohol (usually shown on the side of the bottle or can as ABV). This shows the amount of pure alcohol there is compared with the total volume of liquid. For example ABV 12% means that out of the total drink, 12% of the liquid is pure alcohol. 

How many units are in a drink?: 

Alcohol strength is measured in units. One unit is 10ml of pure alcohol. The more units, the stronger the drink is!

  • 1 small glass of wine (125ml, ABV 12%): 1.5 units
  • 1 standard glass of wine (175ml, ABV 12%): 2.1 units
  • 1 large glass of wine (250ml, ABV 12%): 3 units
  • 1 pint of lower strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%): 2 units
  • 1 pint of higher strength lager/beer cider (ABV 5.2 %): 3 units
  • 1 bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%): 1.7 units
  • 1 can of lager/beer/cider (440ml, ABV 5%): 2 units
  • 1 alcopop (275 ml, ABV 5.5%): 1.5 units
  • 1 small shot of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%): 1 unit
  • 1 large shot of spirits (35ml, ABV 40%): 1.4 units

How many units did YOU drink?: 

Drinkaware have a handy unit calculator that tells you how many units you drank on your last night out. It can also tell you how many calories you drank and how much exercise you will need to burn it off! Prepare to be shocked at how many calories there are in each drink!

What are the effects of drinking too much?: 

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your appearance and your health so it’s important to stick within the daily amount recommended by health experts. 

Alcohol can be fattening and can affect your appearance by adding weight, whilst it also dehydrates your skin, making it look pale and tired.

Alcohol can also have a long term affect on your health and lead to addiction, depression and heart disease.

More help & information: 

Drinkline - If you want to speak to someone about your own drinking, call Drinkline on 0800 7 314 314 (24hrs).

Al-anon- Support for the families affected by someone else's alcohol problems.

AlcolatorIf you're worried about someone else's drinking or your own then you can get information here. If you live in Greater Glasgow and Clyde you can arrange an appointment with someone to get support with your drinking.

Talk to FrankFind out more about the effects of alcohol, the risks and the law.