How Many Shots To Get Drunk: 16 Types of Alcohol

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Do you plan on hitting bars with friends for a night out drinking? Worried about your alcohol tolerance? The easiest way to settle your worries to rest is by figuring out how many shots to get drunk. But, this is no straight answer.

While the number of shots you take and the type of alcohol significantly affect the outcome, you have to think of other factors too. We’ve made this easier for you so you can focus on other aspects of your planned night out.

Here’s an exhaustive guide on how many shots will get you drunk – including all the factors to consider.

Also check: 26 Best Shots To Order at a Bar

How Many Shots Get You Drink – 16 Types of Alcohol

Here’s the number of shooters to get you drunk based on the alcohol type alone;

vodka shots

1. Vodka

Fermented using grains and potatoes, vodka typically comes with an alcohol content of 40% ABV with 80 proof. But, you can also find exotic varieties with higher content. The strongest vodka in the world comes with a high alcohol proof of 192 and a 96% ABV alcohol content.

But, we don’t expect you to go through more than a shot with this high-end, premium, and pretty expensive vodka. So, we’ll focus on standard 40% ABV vodkas. You will typically start to feel alittle tipsy and somewhat drunk after 3 shots. Anywhere between 7 and 9 shots, will get you pretty drunk while anything beyond that deems you intoxicated.

Also check our indepth article on How Many Shots of Vodka To Get Drunk.

2. Tequila

tequila shotsMost tequila made from 100% pure blue agave plant usually has an average alcohol content of 40% ABV. This includes all types of tequila, whether silver, Reposado, Anejo, or gold. A popular alcohol type for shooters, you need to drink at least 2 to 3 shots of tequila to be legally drunk.

At about 4 shots, one is expected to be moderately drunk and starts getting intoxicated from more than four shots.

Note: Similar to tequila, Mezcal usually comes with the same 40% ABV alcohol concentration. It also causes the same effects as tequila when it comes to getting you drunk. Now, the main difference between these two agave drinks is the type of plant used. While tequila can only be classified as so if made from the blue agave plant, Mezcal can be made from any of the 40 types of agave plants available.

Also check: How Many Tequila Shots Does it Take to Get Drunk?

3. Rum

The standard alcohol content for rum is around 40% ABV. But, you can also come across overproof rum with alcohol content anywhere between 57.5% and 75.5% ABV with a high proof of up to 151.  

So, you should expect to get drunk faster with overproof rum than with regular 40% ABV rum. Typically, at least 3 shots of rum are enough to get you drunk. Anything higher than 3 shots starts to get you closer to being intoxicated.

4. Gin

Another good option for shooters, gin usually boasts an alcohol concentration of between 35% and 55%. While it is popular shot alcohol, gin isn’t as strong as vodka or tequila. So, you should expect to drink at least 5 to 6 shots to start feeling intoxicated. 3 to 4 shots will get you a slight buzz.

5. Whiskey

Whiskey usually comes with an alcohol concentration range of between 40% and 50%. However, it’s important to note that this distilled alcohol comes in different varieties which may slightly impact your intoxication level. Here’s how each type of whiskey will get you drunk when drank as a shot;

  • Scotch: 2 to 3 shots will give you a good buzz and get you tipsy. On the other hand, 5 to 6 shots will get you drunk and anything over 6 will get you wholly intoxicated.
  • Irish whiskey: Irish whiskey will get you tipsy after 4 shots while 7 to 9 shots may get you completely intoxicated.
  • Bourbon (Kentucky Whiskey): 2 to 3 shots of bourbon will give you a good buzz while 4 shots will start to get you drunk. More than 6 shots should get you intoxicated. You will get the same effects from Texas whiskey.
  • Tennessee: You need to drink at least 4 to 6 shots of Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Daniels, to get completely drunk. You will get the same results from Canadian whiskeys, such as Crown Royal.
  • Rye Whiskey: Rye whiskey is slightly stronger, getting you drunk with just 3 to 4 shots and intoxicated anywhere from 5 or more shots. You should expect to notice the same results with similar American whiskeys, such as Corn, Malt, and wheat whiskey.


6. Brandy

A distilled wine, brandy has an alcohol concentration range of between 35% and 60%. But, like whiskey, you will find different types of brandies on the bar menu. However, the only common type of brandy you’d probably drink as a shooter is cognac.

Other types of brandies such as Armagnac or calvados are typically consumed as an after-dinner digestif in a snifter. So, you will never find them on a bar menu being sold as shooters. 

Cognac contains an average alcohol concentration of 40% ABV.  You need to drink about 5 to 6 shots to get drunk. 3 to 4 shots will only get you tipsy.

7. Cream Liqueur

Unbeknownst to some people, crème liqueur isn’t just enjoyed on the rocks or added to cocktails. You can enjoy this delicious drink as a shooter. High in sugar, crème liqueur, such as bailey’s Irish Cream, usually contain low-proof alcohol and concentrations of between 10% and 15% ABV.

Still, it’s pretty easy to get drunk as their sweetness and creaminess tend to mask the alcohol. To get a good buzz, you want to consume at least 3 to 4 chilled shots of crème liqueur. On the other hand, 7 to 8 shots of crème liqueur will get you completely drunk.

8. Coffee liqueur

Like crème liqueur, you can consume coffee liqueur, like Kahlua, as a shooter too. However, coffee liqueur tends to have a higher alcohol content of about 20% ABV (40 proof). Typically, 2 to 3 shots of coffee liqueur will give you a buzz while 4 to 5 shots will get you wholly drunk.

9. Absinthe

If you are looking for a drinking adventure, absinthe is probably a spirit you want to try out. But, this spirit is no joke, so you want to take extra precautions. In fact, its strength is what makes it a popular cocktail mixer more than a shooter.

Yet, many drinkers still take it as a shot. Made from leaves and herbs, absinthe doesn’t only get you drunk. it’s also a hallucinogen. The standard alcohol content for this spirit is around 40% ABV although some brands can get up to 90% ABV.

In general, a single shot of absinthe will get you anywhere from tipsy to drunk, depending on your tolerance level. Anything from 2 shots of absinthe will certainly get you drunk.

10. Grain Liquor

Grain liquor is a spirit made using grain alcohol and a neutral spirit. Everclear is a popular brand of this rectified grain drink and a popular option for shooters. This spirit features an alcohol concentration of between 60% ABV and 95% ABV (120 to 190 proof).

Depending on the alcohol concentration, grain liquor will get you drunk after 2 to 3 shots.

11. Soju

Soju is a popular clear and colorless Korean alcoholic drink made using distilled grain or starch. A popular brand of Soju in the US is Jinro. Soju contains an alcohol concentration of about 20% ABV. Now, Soju is a popular shot drink, and its alcohol content standing between wine and hard liquor slightly delays your intoxication.

Typically, it takes about 7 shots of Soju to get you tipsy while 10 to 14 shots should get you fully drunk.

12. Sake

Sake is another popular Asian alcoholic beverage originating from Japan. This fermented rice drink usually comes with an alcohol concentration of between 13% ABV and 17% ABV. This makes the Japanese drink slightly stronger than most wines. It will take about 6 to 7 shots to get you a good buzz and up to 12 shots to get you completely drunk from sake.


13. Jagermeister

You can also enjoy shots from drinks that don’t really fall under the traditional alcoholic drink categories. A good example of such drinks is Jagermeister. An herbal liqueur, Jagermeister has an alcohol concentration of 35% (70 proof) and requires at least 2 shots to get you tipsy. More than 2 shots of this hard liquor will start to get you drunk.

14. Cachaca

Cachaca is a popular base for the Brazilian cocktail, caipirinha. However, this sweet, spicy, and fruity liquor can also be enjoyed on its own as a shot. Made from fermented sugar cane juice, cachaca contains an alcohol concentration of about 38% ABV to 48% ABV.

While it is slightly lighter (in terms of alcohol content) than vodka and rum, you need about 2 to 3 shots of cachaca to get tipsy. On the other hand, 5 shots of cachaca will get you completely drunk.

15. Beer

Beer is rarely drunk as a shooter. But, some people prefer to pour beer for shots as a pastime, especially during drinking games. Now, if you ever find yourself in such a situation, it’s good to know how much will get you drunk. Remember, sipping and taking a drink as a shooter gets you drunk differently.

After all, as a shooter, you are consuming more alcohol in a shorter period. This, in turn, increases the absorption rate and gets you drunk faster. With an alcohol concentration range of 4.2% (light beer) to 6% (strong beer), you need 10 or more shots to get drunk, depending on the strength of the beer.

Strong beer (with higher alcohol content) will get you drunk with fewer shots than light beer.

Beer pouring

16. Cocktail Shooters

In addition to single-alcohol shooters, did you know that you can also drink cocktail shooters? Well, the answer is yes. You can find a myriad of classic shooters and a variety of other spins.

These cocktail uses the same type of liquor as outlined above mixed with flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, and fruit juices. This means that the alcohol content varies. Some cocktails have lowered alcohol content while others have higher alcohol content.

Let’s check out the examples;

  • Jello shots: Jello shots are usually made using an alcohol base, such as vodka mixed with flavored gelatin and boiling water. Typically, jello shots contain an alcohol concentration of about 10% ABV. But, a single shot of vodka, on its own, will have a higher alcohol concentration of up to 40% ABV. So, the addition of gelatin and water helps to bring the alcohol level down. Nonetheless, it’s still very easy to get drunk from a jello shot. After all, the sugary mixture helps to mask the alcohol flavors, prompting you to drink more in a shorter time. As a general rule of thumb, 4 jello shots equate to 1 single alcohol shot, like a vodka shot. So, you will have to take about 10 to 12 jello shots to get totally drunk.
  • Layered shooters: You can find a selection of layered cocktails on many bar menus. S popular option is the B-52, made using Bailey’s Irish cream, Kahlua coffee liqueur, and Grand Marnier. With a 1.5 unit of alcohol layered together, this brings the cocktail’s alcohol content much higher compared to individual shots of each liquor. Individually, Bailey’s Irish cream has an alcohol concentration of 17% ABV; Kahlua has 20% ABV, while Grand Marnier has 40%. About 5 to 7 shots of each individual liquor will get you drunk while the layered shooter gets you drunk with less. You will need about 3 to 4 shots of the layered shooter to get drunk.

jello shots

Number of shots to get you drunk based on different alcoholic types:

Alcohol Type Alcohol Content (% ABV) Shots to getting You Drunk
Vodka 40 – 96 3 – 7
Tequila, Anejo, and Mezcal 40 4+
Rum 57.5 – 75.5 3+
Whiskey: Scotch 40 – 50 5 – 6
Whiskey: Irish 40-50 7 – 9
Whiskey: Bourbon/Kentucky & Texas 40-50 6+
Whiskey: Rye/Corn/Malt/Wheat 40-50 5+
Whiskey: Tennessee or Canadian 40 – 50 4 – 6
Brady: Cognac 35 – 60 5 – 6
Cream Liqueur 10 – 15 7 – 8
Coffee liqueur 20 4 – 5
Absinthe 40 – 90 2+
Grain Liquor (Everclear) 60 – 90 2 – 3
Soju 20 10 – 14
Sake 13 – 17 12+
Herbal Liquor (Jagermeister) 35 2+
Cachaca 38 – 48 5
Beer 4.2 – 6 10+
Cocktail Shooters 5 – 95 3+

Factors That Determine How Fast You Get Drunk from Shots

Apart from the type of alcohol you drink, several other factors determine how fast you get drunk from shots. For one, the effects you get from drinking the same alcohol as a shooter and sipper differ. This is because a shot is drunk in a single gulp.

This, in turn, fastens the absorption rate, getting you drunk faster. So, taking a shot of vodka will get you drunk faster than drinking the same amount neat as a sipper. Here are other key factors to consider when determining the number of shots to get you drunk;

Strength of the Alcohol

The most obvious factor is the strength of the alcoholic drink. For example, a shot of vodka (with an alcohol concentration of 40% ABV) will get you drunk faster than Soju (with an alcohol concentration of 15%).

Now, let’s explain this to you in a more scientific way. Typically, you will stay drunk for some time because the body takes its time to absorb alcohol. This explains why you may be advised to just sleep it off as sleep increases the absorption rate over time.

Stronger alcohol (high concentration) also irritates the stomach and intestinal lining more than lighter alcohol, reducing its absorption rate. This explains why stronger alcohol gets you drunk faster and leaves you that way for a longer period than lighter alcohol.

Rate of Consumption

How fast you consume the shots will also expedite your intoxication levels. For example, drinking shot after shot without taking a break gets you drunk instantly. On the other hand, spacing out each shot will slightly delay drunkness. 

Complementing each shot with a glass of water also does the same. Typically, you are advised to take a single shot every hour to prevent overworking the liver.

Man vs Woman

Did you know that gender can also affect how many shots to get drunk from? Generally, women get drunk faster than men. This is because women are usually smaller than men and weigh less, allowing the body to absorb alcohol faster.

Additionally, women have more fat than water, meaning alcohol is stronger in the bloodstream of a woman than a man. This means that women don’t only get drunk faster but, also remain so for longer.

Similarly, other factors, like weight and age also determine how many shots get you drunk. Weighing less means less number of shots get you drunk. On the other hand, older adults get drunk faster with fewer shots than younger adults. This is because as you get older your body water content decreases while body fat increases.



Ever noticed that you take longer to get drunk on a full stomach than on an empty one? Well, there is a scientific explanation for this. On an empty stomach, alcohol quickly passes into your bloodstream.

However, eating food, especially protein, like grilled meat, slows alcohol absorption.  The food helps to reduce alcohol absorption, meaning you need more shots to get drunk.

Individual Tolerance Level

Your individual tolerance level also determines how many shots get you drunk. While person A gets drunk from 4 shots of vodka, person B, of the same gender, age, and weight, may get drunk from 6 shots of vodka.

Some people simply have bodies that are less sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Many factors contribute to this, including the individual’s chemical makeup and how long they are used to drinking alcohol.


Struggling to answer more questions you may have about taking shots? Check out this section on frequently asked questions;

How Many Shots Can It Take To Get Drunk?

Most people will start to get drunk after consuming at least 4 to 8 shots. But, you have to consider other factors. Most notably, you have to consider the type of alcohol you consume.

Can 1 Shot Make You Drunk?

A single shot will rarely make you drunk. While on average people get drunk from 4 or more shots, a few people with a low alcohol tolerance may get drunk from just one shot.

How Many Shots To Get Tipsy Calculator?

On average about 2 to 4 shots will get you tipsy, depending on the type of alcohol you consume. But, you have to be very careful, some strong alcoholic beverages or layered cocktails can also get you drunk with just 3 shots.

How Much Alcohol To Get Drunk?

You need to drink at least 4 to 6 shots of an alcoholic beverage to get drunk. About 7 to10 shots of alcohol will render you completely intoxicated and inebriated. But, you have to consider key factors that contribute to getting you drunk, including the alcohol concentration and rate of consumption, to mention a few.

How Long Does It Take To Get Drunk?

It takes you about 15 to 30 minutes to get drunk. How fast it takes to get drunk depends on how fast you drink the alcohol content of the drink, and other contributing factors. But, the 15 to 30-minute window is the standard duration for most people.

How Many Shots To Get Drunk Lightweight?

a lighter weighing person will get drunk after taking about 3 to 4 shots. The less you weigh and the smaller you are, the easier it is for alcohol to get into your bloodstream.


Typically, the number of shooters you drink will determine your intoxication level. But, this is not all. When trying to figure out how many shots to get drunk, you have to consider the type of alcohol you consume first.

After all, a shot of tequila cannot be the same as a shot of rum. Further, you want to consider other key functional factors to this. However, most types of alcohol will begin to induce drunken sensations after an average of 4 shots.

Ultimately, you should only consider this information if you want to avoid hangovers or to understand the threshold of your drinking ability. So, whether you intend to consume half a shot or two, you should never plan to engage in social activities, like driving.

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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