Is 4 Shots of Vodka a Day Too Much?


Will you have drank too much if you drink four shots of vodka in a day? Just how much is too much vodka to drink in a day?

There’s more to it than just stating how much vodka you should drink in a day, and the answer may be complicated as the issue itself is complicated. 

Let’s explore this together!

Is 4 Shots of Vodka a Day Too Much to Drink?

Man in hooded sweatshirt hunched over pouring vodka into glass

For the average person, four shots of vodka is the upper limit for getting tipsy on the clear alcoholic spirit obtained from potatoes and grains. 

An average person drinks two to four shots of vodka to get tipsy, which happens quickly if you take the vodka on an empty stomach or with little to no time between the shots. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends drinking one to two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less per day for women. This recommendation is regardless of the type of drink, whether it’s a beer, wine, or vodka. 

The average man who drinks two to four shots of vodka per day gets slightly drunk. Drunkenness in men starts at five to nine shots of vodka, while extreme intoxication starts at over ten vodka shots. 

The average woman drinks one to three shots of vodka to get slightly drunk, while it typically takes only five to six shots to make her feel totally drunk. 

The Statistics Behind 4 Shots of Vodka

Vodka is one of the most potent liquors and one that people abuse heavily, hence the need to be keen on how much you take in a day to avoid getting addicted and developing alcohol use disorders like alcoholism. 

As a hard liquor, vodka has an alcohol by volume (ABV) range of 35 to 95%, stronger than other alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, and gin. 

To put this into perspective, gin averages 35 to 55% ABV, while wine and beer average 11.6% and 3 to 13%, respectively. These ABV values indicate that you’ll likely get drunk more and faster on vodka than on wine or beer. 

Some vodka brands, however, may have vodkas with ABV values lower than 35%. These come in handy if you need a vodka with a lower alcohol content. 

Going by the CDC recommendation of one to two drinks or fewer per day, regardless of the type, you should stick to drinking only one to two shots of vodka per day. 

It is safer to drink one to two shots of vodka per day every other day, but you’ll put yourself at increased risk of the adverse effects of alcohol consumption if you go over this daily limit repeatedly. For example, ten shots or more could cause alcohol poisoning if you are new to vodka. 

The standard US vodka shot measures about 1.5 ounces at 80 proof. A standard shot glass holds approximately 30 milliliters. 

The recommendation of one to two shots of vodka per day assumes that you take the vodka in standard shots of approximately 1.5 ounces each or shot glasses of approximately 30 ml each. 

The CDC recommendation also assumes that you’ll be drinking vodka with an ABV value of 40%, which is the typical alcohol content for most vodka brands. 

Shifting Goalposts For Standard Drinks

The ethanol concentration in the specific alcoholic beverage you are consuming determines your blood alcohol content (BAC) and the effects of alcohol on your body. 

Fewer drinks of a more potent alcoholic drink (higher ethanol content) will make you as drunk as many drinks of a weaker alcoholic beverage. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the definition of standard drinks varies depending on how much alcohol content a drink has. Standard drinks may be defined as:

  • 1.5 ounces or one shot glass of distilled spirits or hard liquors like tequila, rum, gin, whiskey, and vodka, which is typically about 40% alcohol 
  • 5 ounces of wine, which is usually about 12% alcohol 
  • 0.5 ounces of pure alcohol 
  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is typically about 5% alcohol 
  • 1.5 ounces of cognac or brandy, which is about 40% alcohol 

What’s important to note here is that each standard drink is the equivalent of one alcoholic beverage, which the US defines as any drink containing 14 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.

The percentage of pure alcohol indicated as alcohol by volume (ABV or alc/vol) varies from one drink to another and from one brand of drink to another. As such, one vodka brand may make you drunk faster than another. 

Will 4 Shots of Vodka Make You Feel Drunk?

As mentioned, the average person needs two to four vodka shots to get tipsy, which means slightly drunk. Four shots will get you feeling drunk, while anything beyond four shots will be enough to get drunk in a way that will significantly impair your judgment. 

Will 4 Shots of Vodka Make You Legally Drunk?

Driver being subjected to breathalyzer test

Most states define being legally drunk as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 to 0.10%.

Four shots of 40% ABV vodka at about 1.5 ounces per shot will get your blood alcohol level to approximately 0.08%, the lower end of being legally drunk in most states.

Two shots of 40% ABV vodka at about 1.5 ounces per shot will get your blood alcohol level to approximately 0.04%, which most states define as “legally impaired.”

To be on the safe side of the law, it’s best to stick to the recommended intake of one to two shots of vodka per day. You should also avoid driving after consuming alcohol; one shot may be one too many!

Factors That Determine How Many Vodka Shots to Take in a Day

As mentioned, the number of vodka shots you could take to be comfortably or totally drunk varies based on different factors. These are discussed briefly below. 


Women’s bodies biologically contain less ADH or alcohol dehydrogenase, meaning their alcohol tolerance is lower than that of men. 

Men have more ADH, the liver and stomach enzyme that breaks down alcoholic beverages. Men are thus able to tolerate more alcohol and consume more of it than women. 

Body Weight And Size

A lighter, small-bodied person will get drunk faster on the same amount of alcohol than a heavier, large-bodied person. The blood of the smaller person will be saturated with alcohol sooner. 

Chasers And Side Drinks

Drinking vodka on an empty stomach will get you drunk much faster than drinking when your stomach is filled with alcohol-friendly consumables like peanuts, lemon juice, fruit juices, and olives. 

If you pair your vodka shots with snacks, chasers, and side drinks, the overall drunk effect will be safer as you’ll have to drink and have your body absorb more vodka to feel drunk. 

Stocking Your Home Bar with Vodka

If you are taking shots of vodka at 1.5 ounces per shot, a 750ml vodka bottle will yield 16.91 shots. 

At this rate, the bottle will be consumable in about 16 days at one shot daily or eight days at two shots per day. This amounts to 2 to 3.75 vodka bottles (750ml) per month. 

If you take four shots of vodka of 1.5 ounces per day daily, a 750ml bottle will last about four days. This means you’ll be consuming about seven and a half 750ml vodka bottles per month and making one or several trips to your nearest liquor store, depending on how many bottles you buy at a time for your home liquor bar.

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