How Much Is A Fifth Of Alcohol: Learn Here!

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Ever wondered how much is a fifth of alcohol? What it represents in the mainstream alcohol industry? Well, you can find your answers here. I’ve shared a complete guide into what a fifth of alcohol represents and even its use in the alcohol industry.

How Much Is A Fifth Of Alcohol?

A fifth of alcohol is equivalent to 750ml of any type of alcohol, whether spirit or wine. A fifth was typically used as a unit volume for alcoholic beverages, particularly distilled spirits, and wines. This unit was popularized in the 19th century.

A fifth unit is equivalent to one fifth of a US liquid gallon or about 25.6 US fluid ounces. This unit was used in the 19th century, typically as a fifth or one fifth of a gallon, as a legal threshold for commercial retail alcohol sales.

During this time, US bottled liquor was not to exceed this unit. Anything larger than a fifth was automatically deemed wholesale.

Today, this standard unit has been replaced by the 750ml metric bottle size. While in reality, this is about 1% or 7ml less than a fifth, the 750ml bottle size has been adopted as one of the standard sizings for many alcoholic beverages.

This sizing unit is particularly used by winemakers for wine bottles and most spirit producers. You will notice that many whiskey brands also include the 750ml standard size.

Brief History of Alcohol Sizing Units

Prior to the 19th century, most British wine and distilled liquor were standardized in quarts (a quart of a gallon, two pints, or 940ml).

But, this slowly changed and by the late 19th Century, the US had standardized the sizing to a fifth (or commercial quarts) of alcohol per bottle as the maximum commercial retail size.

In Britain, this sizing was equivalent to a US quart (about 32 US fluid ounces or 950ml), but, in reality, it was just a fifth (or 757ml).

This sizing was used by authorities to categorize alcohol vendors, between drinking saloons and barrooms or dry goods stores, with the former selling fifths in retail.

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Alcohol Sizing Units Today

The US continued to use this standard unit until the early 80s during the 20th century. This was after a push for the government to start using metric standards in the early to mid-70s.

Partnering with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States of America, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)came up with a metric-standard bottle sizing guide that came into effect in 1979.

Sizes included 50ml miniature bottles, 100ml, 200ml, 375ml (or 355 ml cans), 750ml, 1 liter, and 1.75 liters. Other includes 187ml for smaller wine bottles and 1.5 liters.

Today, alcohol in the US is no longer measured by fractions such as pints, gallons, or fifths of alcohol.

If you think about it, it’s only the lingo that has changed with most of the measurements remaining the same. For example, 1/5 gallon and 4/5 quart equate to 25.6 ounces – which is close to 750ml. This change may appear to be just a random initiative.

However, it comes with an advantage. The downside to using fraction units is that you would have a myriad of alcoholic beverages each with varying fractions.

The standardized metric sizing eliminated this confusion, creating a standardized metric sizing guide that anyone can easily identify.

Below is a standard chart of some of the common fraction units and how they have been changed today;

Title Equivalency
Shots US Fluid Ounces (fl. oz) Milliliters (ml) Liters (L)
Shot 1 1.5 44.4 0.044
Pint 10.5 16 473 0.473
Fifth 17 25.4 750 0.75
Liter 22 33.8 1000 1
Handle 39 59.2 1750 1.75

Units, such as pint, fifth, and handle were fraction units used earlier on in the 19th century. However, these terms alone could be confusing since different alcohol vendors would use different fractions.

Converting them into their equivalent metric units today makes it a lot easier for anyone to understand the sizing.

As a general rule of thumb, a fifth of alcohol is 750ml or 25.4 ounces – the standard bottle size for most modern wines. On the other hand, a shot glass is about 1.5 ounces or 44.4ml.

But, it is not a standard size. Instead, the shot measurement is used by bartenders, especially in making mixed drinks. Today, some bars and pubs use the term “pint” to describe a large glass serving of about 16 ounces or 473ml.

A pint is typically used for beer. Also equivalent to 1000ml or 33.4 ounces, a liter bottle can house a wide range of alcoholic beverages today, including vodka and whiskeys.

A handle, also equivalent to 1.75 liters or 59.2 ounces is mostly used in larger-sized wine bottles or spirit bottles, like vodka and whiskey.

How Much Is A 1/5th Of Alcohol?

One fifth of alcohol is equivalent to 750ml of alcohol. Today, you will find most wine bottles and some distilled liquor bottles with 750ml metric size.

One fifth was the standard maximum unit of alcohol a vendor could sell in retail (also known as commercial quart).

Is 750 ml A Fifth?

750ml is considered the equivalent of a fifth today. But, in reality, there are a few variations. The true size of a fifth is equivalent to 757ml. So, a 750ml unit is off by about 1% or 7ml of the fifth unit.

Is a 5th of Vodka a Lot?

A 5th of vodka is a reasonable amount just like with any other distilled beverage. No matter the alcohol type, a 5th is always equivalent to 750ml.

For most vodka brands, you will notice that the standard bottle size is usually close to the equivalent o a fifth of vodka.

700ml is typically the standard bottle size for their vodka. Whether it’s a bottle of Belvedere, Absolut, or Smirnoff, either one of these brands always has a standard 700ml bottle option.

What Is A Fifth Of Alcohol Equivalent To?

The true equivalent of a fifth of alcohol is 757 millimeters. However, many people usually round the number off to 750ml, which today is the standard bottle size for wines and most distilled beverages. This means the equivalence is typically off by 1% or 7ml.

How Much Is A Fifth Of Alcohol In Liters?

A fifth of alcohol is equivalent to 0.75 liters or 3/4 of a liter of alcohol. Most winemakers use this unit of measurement as their standard bottle size.

On the other hand, you will find most vodka and whiskey makers using slightly less than 3/4 of a liter as their standard bottle size (about 700ml).

How Much Is A Fifth Of Alcohol In Ounces?

A fifth of alcohol is equivalent to 25.4 ounces. The fluid ounce unit is typically used in the US and rarely used outside the country. in most cases, you will find dual units labeled on the bottle or can, i.e. milliliters (ml) and US fluid ounces (US fl.oz.).

How Much Is A Fifth In Ml?

A fifth in ml is equivalent to 750ml – equal to the standard bottle size for most wine brands today. In reality, the actual equivalent is 757ml. However, the value has been tweaked a little with a 1% error to match with metric sizing guides today.

How Much Is A Fifth Of Whiskey?

Like any other alcoholic beverage, a fifth of whiskey is equivalent to 750ml. The equivalent of a fifth of alcohol doesn’t change with the type of alcohol in question. The unit sizing remains the same despite the type of alcohol.

How Much Is A Handle Of Vodka?

A handle of alcohol is equivalent to 1.75 liters. It is also equivalent to 59.2 fluid ounces or 39 shot glasses. The handle unit was also used during the time when fraction units like a fifth of alcohol were used as the measuring unit for alcohol.

More than a fifth of alcohol, a handle was not a retail size. This is because alcohol that was more than a fifth was automatically categorized as wholesale.

A Fifth Of Alcohol How Many Shots?

A fifth of alcohol is equivalent to 17 shot glasses.  This also means that it takes 17 shot glasses to fill up a 750ml bottle.


A fifth of alcohol is simply 750ml today.

However, its history has played a major role in sizing alcoholic beverages. While it is outdated today, the fifth unit also contributed to setting guidelines for today’s metric sizing guides for alcoholic beverages.

So, if you hear someone refer to a fifth of alcohol today, simply think of a wine bottle to quickly remember its equivalence in metric units.

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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