Unexpected Proofs: Know The Alcohol Content In Your Next Cocktail.

After a hard day’s activities, there’s nothing like kicking back with a cocktail to help you relax. These colorful alcoholic beverages can “take the edge off’ and a look at the contents of your drink can explain why.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a “standard” drink in the U.S. is regarded as any beverage containing about 6 ounces or 14 grams of “pure” alcohol. So, it stands to reason that the more pure alcohol in a drink, the more you will feel its effects.

Unexpected Proofs: Know The Alcohol Content In Your Next Cocktail.Content matters

Some of the most popular cocktails can be the most potent drinks because of their alcohol content. The following cocktails with basic ingredients listed (add or take out ingredients to suit your taste) are among the favorite drinks consumed:

1. Margarita   This sweet and salty Tequila-based drink is still among the most popular beverages around. With orange liqueur and frozen limeade juice added (and the salt around the rim, of course), and depending on the size you order, a Margarita can have you forgetting your troubles in no time at all. Once again, content matters. According to the Redfern Health Center at Clemson University, one 12 oz. Margarita equals two to four standard drinks, depending on the ingredients.

2. S*x on The Beach   The recipe varies, but this cocktail contains vodka, peaches, cranberry juice and orange juice, with other ingredients thrown in to suit your taste. It’s estimated that one drink equals two to three standard drinks.

3. Rum and Coke   This may be a favorite drink among many, but things don’t go better with Coke when it’s mixed with rum. The Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at the University of Notre Dame says a shot of Bacardi 151 and Coke is equivalent to nearly two standard drinks.

4. Cosmopolitan   A favorite drink featured on “Sex and the City.” This vodka-based drink has triple sec (orange liqueur), cranberry juice, and fresh lime juice. According to, a Cosmo equals 3.6 standard drinks and a 27 percent alcohol by volume.

5. Grateful Dead   Just mixing the ingredients of gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, and vodka causes pause for concern. This high-energy cocktail is equivalent to two or three standard drinks.

It’s in the Blood

Depending on what you’re drinking, one or two of your favorite cocktails can send your blood alcohol content (BAC) level over the legal limit of .08 percent. Because BAC levels also take into account the time in which alcohol is consumed, weight and gender, women have higher BAC levels than men. This means that women will become more impaired than men after drinking the same amount of alcohol, says the NIAAA.

Regardless of the amount consumed, don’t get behind the wheel. Instead of calling for a bartender, you will need to call an attorney if you’re arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. If you are faced with this situation “be sure to [document] details surrounding events leading up to the actual arrest, such as your meals for the day. Your food consumption and beverage intake for a period well before the arrest, may impact your Blood Alcohol Content,” says A DUI attorney will explain the legal consequences you may face for making the choice to drive after one too many.

So, before you order or mix up your favorite cocktail, it’s a smart idea find out how to calculate your BAC level (there are numerous legal websites with calculators to help). Not paying attention to the strength of your drinks at the bar before driving will cause the police to pay you some very negative attention when you’re on the road later.







Concerned motorist and mom Molly Pearce shares this post as a reminder to adult readers to drink responsibly at all times, especially when they plan on getting behind the wheel. Her research for this post included a review of the legal info on and of the alcohol content in various cocktails. Occasionally, Molly herself enjoys a spicy Bloody Mary at weekend brunch, but only if she has a designated driver.

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