Do You Know What One Drink Really Is?

How much is too much?

Unlike food, which can take hours to digest, alcohol is absorbed quickly by your body — long before most other nutrients. And it takes a lot more time for your body to get rid of the alcohol you've consumed.

Most alcohol is processed by your liver, and in general, it takes about one hour for your liver to process (metabolize) the alcohol in one drink.

One drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

Mixed drinks may contain more than one serving of alcohol and take even longer to metabolize.

One drink