Gateway Tip: Calculate Alcohol Content to Avoid Party-Related Peril

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Since mixed drinks contain varying degrees of alcohol, Gateway urges holiday party goers to “do the math” to avoid reaching blood alcohol content that's DUI-eligle. Even the best-intentioned can commit embarrassing party fouls with factors like, super-sized glasses, unpredictable pours, and cocktails containing different types of alcohol.

alcohol content, DUI, mixed drinks

Handy online alcohol calculators and cell phone apps can help establish responsible drinking limits to ensure the comfort, joy and safety of all.

"If a woman thinks, 'I can enjoy two gin and tonics and still be safe to drive,’ she actually consumed over 3 servings of alcohol, and may be above the legal alcohol limit and eligible for a DUI," says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway.

Since mixed drinks contain varying degrees of alcohol, Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers urges holiday party goers to “do the math” to avoid unnecessary embarrassment or adversity. Even the best-intentioned can commit the dreaded party foul with factors, like super-sized glasses, unpredictable pours, and cocktails containing different types of alcohol. However, handy online alcohol calculators and cell phone apps can help establish responsible drinking limits to ensure the comfort, joy and safety of all.

Size and Volume Matters
A “drink” is defined as: 12 ounces of beer with a 5 percent alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with a 12 percent alcohol content and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, which are 40 percent alcohol by volume.

Take wine for example, nowadays many wines served in restaurants and bars contain 15 percent alcohol. While a 4-ounce glass is a more appropriate serving size, the average size of wine glasses at restaurants and bars is slightly over 6 ounces, which is the equivalent of one and a half servings of alcohol in this instance.

Beer drinkers may find themselves in the same boat. A 12-ounce bottle of Bud Light has 4.2 percent alcohol, but the same-size bottle of Bud Light Platinum has 6 percent alcohol by volume, a nearly 50 percent increase.

Mixed drinks often contain more alcohol than one standard drink. Consider a Gin and Tonic: at 94.6 percent alcohol, 2 ounces of gin combined with 5 ounces of tonic water equates to 1.6 servings of alcohol.

"If a woman thinks, 'I can enjoy two gin and tonics and still be safe to drive,’ she actually consumed over 3 servings of alcohol, and may be above the legal alcohol limit and eligible for a DUI," says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Don’t let a night out on the town ruin the holiday spirit. Search the app store found on most mobile phones for blood alcohol content (BAC) calculator and determine personal alcohol limit today. To figure out the true alcohol content of favorite mixed drinks, like mojitos, margaritas and cosmos, click for NIAAA’s alcohol calculator.

For people who may have developed a serious drinking problem, Gateway can help get life back on track. Visit RecoveryGateway.org to learn about a free, confidential consultation

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Kymberly Vasey
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