How Many Shots Of Whiskey to Get Drunk? Answered!

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: August 27, 2022

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Despite being told to drink responsibly, a lot of people go out with their friends hoping to get drunk. This is completely fine as being drunk is fun in moderation, yet going overboard is likely to leave you with a hangover or an insanely quick sprint to the bathroom in the morning. When it comes to alcohol consumption, you might be wondering just how much whiskey to get drunk you need.

Table of Contents

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How Much Alcohol Gets You Drunk?

It is a pretty well-known fact that alcoholic drinks in a large quantity will get you drunk rather easily. While that is good to know, you may not want to go over the top and instead just want to get drunk without getting “blackout-drunk” as it is called.

There are a lot of different ways to determine how much it will take to get you drunk, the main way to check this is by your blood alcohol concentration. The rate at which you get drunk, or the volume of alcohol you have to drink will all depend on a lot of different variables such as what you are drinking.

While the main topic is whiskey, there are also necessary articles to show you how much you have to drink to get drunk on vodka, tequila, and champagne.

Alcoholic drinks as a whole can vary a lot in strength and their percentage of alcohol by volume. When you see a percentage on your bottle of alcohol, it is alluding to the strength of the drink. Beer and wine are going to be much lower in alcohol than whiskey or vodka so it will take a lot more of them to get you drunk.

As whiskey is typically 40% ABV, getting drunk on it should not take much at all. There are variables that determine how likely you are to get drunk but for the most part, a general rule of thumb is that it will take about 5 fluid ounces of 40% whiskey for you to get drunk.

If you want to know what this is in terms of shots, the average shot is 35 ml so it will take you around four or five shots of whiskey for you to get drunk.

Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey bottle

Alcohol Tolerance Variables

As mentioned, there are going to be a lot of different things that will change how quickly you will get drunk. Some of these are easy to change and can be changed almost immediately, whereas other variables are more long-term or permanent.


Women have a rather different alcohol metabolism than men which can lead to them getting more drunk from the same amount of alcohol. This is very natural although it can be influenced by other variables to be less of an issue. If a woman has had a full meal and lots of sleep before drinking, and a man has had neither, the gender will matter less as the other variables are more likely to make a noticeable difference.

This is all to do with the way that a woman’s metabolism reacts to alcohol differently and will break it down in the liver slower than a man would. This is unavoidable but is not so much of an issue as the other variables are going to contribute to your overall tolerance as well.

Natural Tolerance

As every person is different and their bodily functions may vary – some people can have very different tolerance for alcohol compared to someone similar to them. This is not controlled by anything and is just as natural as someone being more or less tolerant to another thing such as allergens.

This natural tolerance can be improved and trained with more consumption of alcohol as you can get your body used to it so that your liver can break down the alcohol quicker. This will still keep it in your system but your body will be more tolerant of the alcohol and it will take more to get you drunk.

Once you do start getting drunk, you might find that the side effects of being drunk such as tipsiness, being lightheaded, and slurred speech become less of an issue.

If you drink hard liquor regularly for a few months, you will notice that eventually, you will need a glass or two more before you start getting as drunk as you once did. The body does this with a lot of consumables such as medication, it works just the same for alcohol consumption. How much whiskey you drink a day before you’re drunk will slowly increase as you get more and more used to drinking.

Body Weight

Your body weight is incredibly important when it comes to alcohol. The way your body starts to feel drunk is all to do with your blood alcohol concentration. The larger you are as a person, whether it be tall or bigger, means you will have more blood and you will not get drunk as quickly.

This is still true in the complete opposite as if you are a rather small person, maybe a tad underweight, you will be easier to get drunk as you will require less to get drunk. It may even be the difference of just one shot glass.

Eating Habits

There is an incredibly popular piece of advice that states you should ‘not start drinking on an empty stomach’. This is said for a very good reason. The reasoning for this is that on an empty stomach, the alcohol passes straight to your small intestine, which is where it is absorbed. If you have eaten a good meal, the alcohol will be absorbed slower, so it will take you longer and more alcohol before you get drunk.

This does not necessarily affect your alcohol tolerance as a whole but does affect how quickly you get drunk. How much alcohol you have to drink stays relatively the same, it will just take longer to kick in.


Sleep does not directly affect your alcohol tolerance but being low on sleep and feeling tired can magnify the side effects of being drunk. If you are well rested and start drinking, you will have normal drunk tendencies but nothing too bad. However, if you are getting drunk while tired, you will feel drowsy a lot quicker. And even more, your reaction time will be worse than it usually should be when drunk.

Sleep deprivation does not make you increasingly drunk, it just amplifies the effects of your drunkenness. If you are well rested, you will experience the same effects but in a much more manageable way.

How Many Whiskey Shots to Get Drunk

What Whiskey Will Get You Drunk Quickly?

While you may be wanting to get drunk quickly, it will also be best to do it cheaply as well. There is no point in buying an expensive bottle of whiskey just to chug it as fast as you can so that you can feel drunk.

It should come as no surprise that whiskey with a higher ABV will get you drunk quicker than whiskies with a lower ABV. The average whiskey is 80 proof which is equal to a 40% ABV, however, there is also stronger whiskey sold that is about 60% ABV. The stronger whiskey is labeled as ‘cask strength’ and will get you drunk quicker than a normal bottle.

However, cask strength whiskey is somewhat of a luxury and will have a premium price attached to it. They have a higher ABV but will also have a more seasoned and complex taste alongside a unique texture or experience. These are expensive and are undoubtedly wasted if they are consumed just to get drunk quickly.

If you are wanting to buy something to get drunk from, a blended whiskey from any liquor store will do the trick. Some recognizable brands of whiskey for this are;

  • Jack Daniels
  • Jim Beam
  • Johnnie Walker
  • Famous Grouse

While they may seem to be your run-of-the-mill whiskies, they are created with passion and are sold at an affordable price. They are cheap and will most certainly get the job done if you are aiming to get drunk. Although, I feel as though I should stress that you should at least savor the first glass or two as they will taste amazing and should be appreciated.

captain morgan original spiced gold bottle

How Long Does Whiskey Take To Kick In?

The time whiskey takes to affect your body is similar to alcohol tolerance. By this, I mean that there are many variables and nobody is the same. If you are on an empty stomach, you will feel drunk quicker as the whiskey will be absorbed in an accelerated rate.

On average it takes about half an hour for the effects of whiskey to take place. This can be used as a guide for pacing yourself with alcohol consumption. If you are drinking more than one drink every half an hour, you are probably drinking far too quickly.

To slow the process of you getting drunk, make sure you drink lots of water and have had a good meal. Alcohol dehydrates you despite being a liquid so it is important to remain hydrated before, during, and after drinking. Eating food will slow the alcohol so that it does not reach your small intestine as quickly. This will result in you absorbing the alcohol slower so that you do not get as drunk as quickly.

FAQs On Getting Drunk On Whiskey

Can 1 shot of whiskey get you drunk?

the probability of your tolerance being low enough for one shot to get you drunk is incredibly low. While your age and body weight play a massive part in your alcohol tolerance, one shot of whiskey will most likely get you a tad tipsy at best.

How quickly does whiskey get you drunk?

Whiskey will get you drunk in about 4-5 shots worth. Alcohol will be absorbed in around 30 minutes so if you drink all 5 shots in half an hour, you will get drunk.

Is three shots of whiskey a lot?

Three shots of whiskey is a good amount depending on what your goal is. It may not be enough to get you incredibly drunk, but it is enough for you to at least feel the effects of alcohol.

Can whiskey be drunk straight?

Arguably, whiskey is meant to be drunk straight. While you are completely allowed to drink it with a mixer, a lot of people prefer drinking it straight with nothing else but ice.