so, how many ounces or milli-litres is a shot glass?

Most cocktail and drink recipes refer to the proportion of the ingredients as shots. So do I in this blog. This usually invokes the question: How many ounces is in a shot?

The short answer is: It does not matter, especially if you are asking it from the perspective of following the recipe to make the drink. Any size of shot glass will do. But if you are just curious as to what it is ….then continue reading.

A precise but even shorter answer is: 1.5 ounces or 44 mL. (if you are in US)

Shot glasses and Martini glasses comes in various different sizes. There is really no standardized rule across the world as what the volume of a particular shot glass should be. Depending on where and who created it, it will vary. That is the reason why it is best to think of a shot as a “one part” or “whatever size your shot glass” is.

First and foremost, it varies depending on the country. For example, in the US the shot size is usually around 1.5 ounces or about 44 milliliters, while in Germany or Denmark it is as small as 20 mL. It is not uncommon to find shot glasses that vary slightly even with in the same country, especially if it is decorative shot glasses.

If you are making a martini, then you would want to use a martini glass that is big enough to hold the drink you are mixing. This means you need to get a shot glass where the recipe will add up to (exact-ish) size of the martini glass. The martini glass vary in size as well…a small martini glass can be about 5 ounces or about 3 shots (considering the US 1.5 ounces per shot) while a larger one can be up to 8 ounces or 5 shots.

A set of shot glasses


So, why do size of the martini glass matter…?

When you are making the drink, you would want to take the size of the glass you are going to use in consideration. It is rather unappealing to use a large martini glass and the drink to be only about half way full. If you want to serve a small size drink with about 3 shots in total, use a smaller glass.

Most recipes in this blog make large drinks, usually a total of 4 to 5 shots. If you want to make it smaller, then consider the shots as parts of the whole recipe which means the quantity is proportionate to the other ingredients in the drink, then total it such that the entire drink is to the size you prefer. This goes for when you are making more than one drink at the same time as well.

For example, let’s take the recipe for the traditional Manhattan drink. It calls for 3 shots of Rye Whisky and 1.5 shots of the Sweet Vermouth which makes a total of 4.5 shots which is a large drink for a large martini glass. Now, if you want to make the same drink for a smaller glass, say 3 shots or 4.5 ounces, then you pare it down while keeping the original proportion of the ingredients. In this case, the original proportion was 2:1, so you use 2 shots of Rye Whiskey and 1 shot of the sweet vermouth.

If the number of ingredients in the drink is more than 3 or 4, then this can get tricky depending on your mathematical abilities.

So, how do you use the appropriate shot glass?

The easiest way to get things done is to keep shot glasses of different sizes. I generally divide the martini glasses into two general sizes, big and small. If you are using a small glasses, I use a small shot size for example, a German which is smaller and roughly half in size of the US.

Another trick is to measure the martini glass in terms of the shot glass you are using ahead of time. Use water to measure how many shots fill up the martini glass. This will give you an good idea as to which shot glass to use or how to pare down the recipe.

Another advantage of using a smaller shot glass such as a German one is that it makes it easy to measure the ingredients out. It is not much precise the measure out quarter or half a shot using a big shot glass. Using a smaller shot glass makes it easier. You might also want to consider using a jigger instead of the shot glass.