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How Many Shots Of Tequila To Get Drunk?

Charl Joost
Last Updated: April 20th, 2023

How Many Shots of Tequila To Get Drunk?  Well, this is a very subjective question that is not so simple to answer.

Those of us who imbibe alcoholic beverages, including this writer, are probably familiar with the popular Tequila ditty, “One Tequila, two Tequila, three Tequila Floor.”

Most folk would certainly feel the effect of the third shot of Tequila. How quickly, and how much of an effect it has on you depends on numerous factors.

Your age, weight, alcohol tolerance level, health, gender, etc, all relate in one way or another. So, you could take much more, maybe much less than the person next to you, before you hit the floor.


Spirits, including Tequila, are generally bottled and sold at a strength of between 80 and 90 proof which equates to 40 to 45 % of Alcohol by Volume (ABV). But, as you will see later, there is always someone willing to break the rules and up the game.

Pretty important for how many shots you may need is how big your “shot” actually is. In alcohol terms, in the USA, a shot is generally accepted as being 1.5 fluid ounces of Liquor.

If you travel the world, you will find that a shot varies from country to country. Germany would leave you a little disappointed, their shots run out at about 67 fluid ounces. But cheer up, for In Japan you will be happy to know that a shot is about 2 fluid ounces. Good news hey.

The recognized standard bottle size for spirits today is 750 ml (also known in the USA as a fifth, which is actually a fifth of a US Gallon). Thus the 750 ml bottle size will dispense 16 shots at 1.5 fl oz or rather about 50 ml per shot.

Other common terms for measures are a Nip or a Minnie, both about 50 ml each and a quarter pint, which would deliver about 100 ml, i.e., 2 shots.

How Many Shots Of Tequila To Get Drunk?

Warning – Beware!

The reality of all the above though, is that just one shot of 1.5 fluid ounces of alcoholic spirit, at 80 proof, or 40% ABV, will put the average person over the legal limit for driving in the USA, running the risk of serious Drunk Under The Influence (DUI) charges.

Nationwide, the limit to legally drive in the USA is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08%. The limit is lower for younger/newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers. Drunk driving penalties vary considerably from State to State.

In some states, first-time offenders get jail time, in others, they may be lucky and get a warning and a ticket. However, a BAC level of .15 is considered an aggravated offense and is guaranteed to put you in serious trouble if you are caught behind the wheel.

There is no way of knowing exactly how much alcohol it will take to get an individual over the limit, and there is no question about the fact that consuming alcohol impairs your driving ability.

So, if you drink, don,t drive, rather take a cab, call a friend or stay over.

Blood Alcohol Content

A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% means that there are 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100ml of the blood being tested.

Just as important as how you got there is how long it takes to get back. The Blood Alcohol Content in a human, regardless of age, size, or any other factor previously mentioned, drops at about the rate of 0.015% per hour when you stop drinking. This is the rate at which the body metabolizes the alcohol in the system to get rid of it.

Simple mathematics says that if you are at .08% it will take just over five hours to clear the alcohol out of your system.

It is no secret then why aircraft pilots are well aware of an old flight rule, vis “12 hours between the bottle and the throttle”.

BAC in other Countries

The legal BAC limit in the United Kingdom is 0.08% except for Scotland which revised its limit downwards in 2014 to .05%.

For Commercial drivers in these countries e.g. airline pilots, train drivers, seamen, etc the limit is .02%, which is about as zero tolerance as you can get.

Most of Europe has BAC limits of .05% for drivers but a number of countries have zero tolerance.

Legal limits change, but at the time of writing the above is what will get you into trouble. Check first! Here you can see the UK BAC rules.

From Tequilas that so impart the delicate taste of the Agave that you will enjoy the flavor whilst sipping them neat, to the tequilas that make you swear blind you will never ever, ever touch Tequila again, there is a bottle for you.

Here are just 9 of the strongest Tequilas available.

Brand Alcohol content
Tears of Llorona 43% ABV
Tequila Cabeza 43% ABV
Roca Patrón Silver 45% ABV
Dulce Vida Blanco 50% ABV
Pueblo Viejo 104 50% ABV
Don Fulano Tequila Blanco 50% ABV
Tapatío Blanco 55% ABV
El Luchador 55% ABV
Sierra Silver Tequila a brutal 75% ABV

Some sources claim that downing a single 50 ml shot of Sierra Silver Tequila, at 75% ABV, is the same as drinking one full bottle of wine. However, simple calculations do not support this claim. 50 ml at 75% ABV equates to 38 ml of pure alcohol.

An average wine at 13% ABV in a 750 ml bottle equates to 97 ml of pure Alcohol. The 50 ml shot, therefore, is equivalent to about 40 % of a bottle of wine in alcohol content.

Whatever the numbers, if you’re in party mode, some shots of Sierra Silver will get you rocking pretty quickly.

How to drink your shots of tequila

The party shot

Arguably the most recognized way for the party animal to drink Tequila is as a neat shot with salt and a lemon or lime wedge. Remember this is a shot, not a sippy drink, and there is a quaint little ceremony to follow.

Lick the web of skin between your thumb and forefinger, sprinkle salt on the damp spot and hold the lemon/lime wedge between the same finger and thumb. Pick up the filled shot glass with the other hand, lick the salt off your hand, throw your head back and down the Tequila shot then bite on the Lemon/Lime.

The combination of tastes is phenomenal, and usually one ends up with a screwy look on one’s face. That is all part of the fun.

the party shot

 Tequila with Sangrita

Sangrita is a Spanish word meaning “little blood” and references the color of the premix in this delightful cocktail.

  • 250 ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Grenadine
  • 6 to 12 dashes of a hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula are good choices)

While this is a popular recipe there are many variations

The Margarita

  • 50 ml Blanco Tequila
  • 30 ml Orange Liqor such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec.
  • 15 ml fresh lime or lemon juice
  • course salt encrusted on the rim of your glass
  • Ice and Lemon or Lime wedges


How do you measure the strength of alcohol?

In the USA the term proof is used when specifying the amount of alcohol in a liquid. In the United Kingdom, the term used is Alcohol By Volume abbreviated as ABV.

Proof is simply the ABV doubled. Thus 43% ABV is 86 Proof. The instrument that measures the ABV is called an Alcohol Hydrometer and is calibrated from Zero (which is what it will read in pure water) to 100% (which would be pure Alcohol and next to impossible to produce).

This method of measuring ABV was invented by a French scientist by the name of Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac as far back as 1824.

Where did the term proof come from?

Around the 16 h Century in England, the British Government instituted additional taxes on spirits over a certain strength.

The word proof thus came about as confirming that it was a true and correct reflection of the strength of the alcohol in the drink.

Is Tequila the strongest alcohol you can buy?

No, the strongest Alcoholic drink, commercially available, is reputed to be a Polish Vodka called Spiritytus Premium Vodka. It is bottled at a mighty 192 proof ( 96% ABV)

Who invented Tequila?

The ancient Aztec Indians, who originally occupied Northern Mexico, are reputed to have made alcohol from fermented Agave plants some 1000 years BC. Now that is a hard act to beat!


This popular party drink, with its unique flavor, distilled from the Weber Blue Agave Plant from Mexico is a proven player in the party game. A great choice to be downed neat or sipped as an exotic posh cocktail

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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