How Much Alcohol Unit Have You Drunk?

Different alcoholic beverages contain different alcohol content. The amount of pure alcohol you consumed depends on the amount and the alcohol content, that is, the percentage of alcohol by volume of the beverages that you have drunk. The term "alcohol unit" is a common measure of the amount of pure alcohol contained in a serving of drink. From the World Health Organization, one "alcohol unit" contains 10g of pure alcohol.

Why need to learn about "alcohol unit"?

Every drinker should understand the measure of a "alcohol unit" so that you can monitor and limit the amount you drink. Each of the following is equivalent to ONE "alcohol unit":

  • 3/4 can (~250 ml) of regular beer with 5% alcohol content
  • 1 small glass (~100 ml) of wine with 12% alcohol content
  • 1 pub measure (~30ml) of hard liquor with 40% alcohol content

Calculation of “alcohol unit”

(1) To calculate by equation

If you may drink different types of alcoholic beverages, you can calculate the number of "alcohol units" you have consumed using the following formula.


* Alcohol content is printed on the label of the container.


(2) To calculate by graphics

Here are some common alcoholic beverages in Hong Kong shown relatively proportional to scale and their alcohol content in terms of “alcohol unit”.

Beer/Alcopop Red/white
wine and
1 glass
1 can
1 bottle
1 can
1 bottle
1 glass
0.7 unit 1.3 units 1.3 units 2.0 units 2.5 units 1.2 units
Spirit Rice wine Maotai Japanese
1 peg
1 shot
1 glass
1 small glass
1 maotai glass
1 small cup
1.3 units 0.7 unit 5.7 units 0.6 unit 0.8 unit 0.3 unit

For how many “alcohol unit” other alcoholic beverages contain, or calculation of “alcohol unit” per 100ml, click here to know more.

If you do not drink at all, do not start drinking.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, limit your drink to minimise alcohol-related harm.