Can Whiskey Get You Drunk | The Answer with Numbers


Whiskey is an amazing drink. A common question is whether whiskey can get you drunk. As a university student myself I understand why many people may ask this question. Here is what I found.

Yes, whiskey can definitely get you drunk. Most whiskeys have around 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). Some whiskeys are even stronger. How much whiskey one should drink to become drunk differs per person. A person’s body weight, alcohol tolerance and a recent meal are a couple of key factors.

It is important to know what factors influence your alcohol tolerance to pace yourself and not be surprised by the alcohol’s effect. And it is important to know what whiskey you can drink or should avoid when trying to feel drunk. I will tell you all about it in this article.

Disclaimer: please drink responsible and never drink and drive

How much alcohol does it take to get drunk

On average it will take around 4 to 5 fl. oz. (120 to 150 ml) of 40% whiskey to become drunk. One serving on whiskey on average is around 1.5 fl. oz. but servings might be bigger. A shot glass generally is between 1 and 1.25 fl. oz. which equals 30 ml to 45 ml. That would mean you can drink around 4 shots or whiskey to get drunk.

However there are many different factors that influence how much an individual needs to consume to become drunk.

The answer to such a simple questions is complicated. How much alcohol one can consume before reaching the drunk state differs per person and is depending on a variety of factors.

Here are some of the most important factors regarding alcohol consumption tolerance.

  • Age. In general younger people are more resistant to some of the effects of alcohol consumption and therefore become drunk less quick.
  • Body weight. Lightweight people feel the effects of alcohol more compared to people with a higher weight, after the same number of drinks. The more mass someone has the more alcohol it takes to reach an inebriated state.
  • Sex. After the same number of drinks, generally women have a higher Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) than men. This is due to differences in the alcohol metabolism.
  • Recent meal. If one drinks alcohol on an empty stomach the effects of the alcohol are noticed way quicker and more intense. It is best to have a good meal before drinking alcohol as the effects of the alcohol are more predictable that way.
  • Alcohol tolerance and habituation. If a person is used to drinking alcohol and drinks alcohol on a more regular basis, their tolerance is higher. It will take more to reach an inebriated state compared to someone who never or rarely drinks.
  • Sleep. If a person got more sleep in recent nights their alcohol tolerance will be higher compared to someone who has not slept well or long enough.

Next to these factors it will still differ each day for a person. I can tell from experience that it can be hard to predict how much alcohol will get you tipsy. This will be the same for you, so make sure to drink responsibly.

Friend with rum shots on party with pizza on table

What whiskey gets you drunk the quickest

Without writing 200 words: whiskey with the highest alcohol percentage gets you drunk the quickest. While most whiskeys are 80 proof (40% ABV) there are whiskeys who are “cask strength” which can be over 120 proof (60% ABV). HOWEVER, this is not the best way to get drunk.

Cask strength whiskeys often are more expensive whiskeys that people buy for their specific and unique taste. They are not sold to shot or mix, and this is reflected in the price.

Instead, if you are drinking whiskey at a party to feel tipsy or even drunk, you should buy cheap blended whiskeys. Examples are extremely popular blended whiskeys like Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker or the Famous Grouse. These whiskeys are specifically created to be as affordable as possible.

To be honest, you are reading an article on a whiskey website and I would recommend against drinking whiskey just to become drunk. If that is the goal I would advice some vodka. Whiskeys are made to enjoy and sip slowly, but I understand why you are here.

So the whiskey I would recommend to party with and become tipsy are blended whiskeys.

Selection of whiskey bottles on the bar shelf. Selective focus on the Johnnie Walker Black Label bottle.

How long before the alcohol takes effect?

It takes about 30 minutes to an hour before the alcohol that you drank begins to take effect. This is an important guide to pace yourself. If you drink more than 1 drink every 30 minutes you are probably drinking too quickly.

Here it is important to restate that there are many factors that come into play. If you are taking shots on an empty stomach you will feel the alcohol kick in way quicker compared to a couple of shots after a good meal.

Also keep in mind that it remains unpredictable and differs per person. Therefore I recommend you to start slowly to find out how your body reacts to the alcohol.

How to slow the process of getting drunk from whiskey

There are several tips that you can use to make sure you do not get drunk very quickly.

  1. Drink enough water. It is very important that you drink enough water before, during and after having a couple of drinks. If you know that you are going to a party in the evening make sure you drink enough throughout the day.
  2. Eat a decent meal. Make sure to eat enough before drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach makes your tolerance to the alcohol very low. It is a good idea to eat some fat food beforehand.
  3. Pace yourself. I have been here myself. Friends are drinking quicker and you find yourself drinking way too quick. In this moment it is important to take a break, order/pour yourself a glass of coke and sip on that for 15 minutes. Make sure you stay in control of what you are drinking. There is nobody else that decides what and how much you drink.
  4. Take a break outside. Whenever you feel like you are getting drunk too quickly, it can be a good idea to go outside to take a breather. In a hot room full of people things can get overwhelming quickly.

How long does it take before whiskey leaves your system?

Whenever you had a party or drunk whisky, it will take time before the whiskey is completely broken down and left your system. As a rule of thumb you should remember that your liver can break down 1 oz of whiskey in one hour.

This is especially important when you are about to drive. If you consumed 10 fl. oz. of whiskey yesterday evening around 11 pm, it will take 10 hours before your body has fully processed the alcohol. You are allowed to join traffic around 9 am, but not earlier.

Sadly for us, there is no way to make the alcohol leave your system faster. There are many things people do to become sober quicker after drinking. The most popular one I can think of is drinking a lot of water. I also have heard people that are convinced that cycling or walking outside helps.

If they help, it only helps you feel more sober. Reality is that those things do not help your liver process the alcohol quicker. This also means that those tricks do not allow you to drive a car quicker.

Used Sources:
A source used for this article is the website called Healthline.com

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