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New Year’s Eve should be a night of fun, but it’s a good idea to know how much alcohol is in that drink

NKyTribune staff

New Year’s Eve is a night when many people enjoy an adult beverage.

How much alcohol is in that drink? Chart courtesy of the National Institutes of Health (click to enlarge)

For some it is a common practice, while others imbibe less frequently and may only drink on the last day of the year.

Regardless of how much, or how little, one drinks, it’s a good idea to know how much alcohol that adult beverage contains.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have some information that can help with celebrating safely this holiday season.

What counts as a drink?

Many people are surprised to learn what counts as a drink. In the United States, a “standard” drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of “pure” alcohol.

For different types of beer, wine, or malt liquor, the alcohol content can vary greatly. Some differences are smaller than you might expect, however. Many light beers, for example, have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85 percent as much, or 4.2 percent versus 5.0 percent alcohol by volume (alc/vol), on average.

If you want to know the alcohol content of a canned or bottled beverage, start by checking the label. Not all beverages are required to list the alcohol content, so you may need to search online for a reliable source of information, such as the bottler’s Web site. For fact sheets about how to read wine, malt beverage, and distilled spirits labels, visit the consumer corner of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Levels of impairment, according to the National Institutes for Health (click to enlarge)

Although the “standard” drink amounts are helpful for following health guidelines, they may not reflect customary serving sizes. In addition, while the alcohol concentrations listed are “typical,” there is considerable variability in alcohol content within each type of beverage (e.g., beer, wine, distilled spirits). If you want to know how much alcohol is in a cocktail or a beverage container, try one of these calculators.

The most important thing is to know your limits, don’t overdo it and never drive while impaired. There is a reason New Year’s Eve is called amateur night.

It’s always a good idea to identify a designated driver before the fun begins. Many communities also offer care cabs to help ensure those who have had too much to drink get home safely.

Make a plan before the fun begins and don’t let what is supposed to be an evening of enjoyment turn into a night of tragedy for you or someone else.

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