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Alcohol terminology

May 29, 2014

It is mandatory by law to display a warning message or disclaimer on all alcoholic drinks. Almost all countries and their governments have fixed a legal age after which drinking is allowed. Neither the entry to pubs or bars is allowed for children below the permissible drinking age nor can alcoholic drinks be sold to them.

But does it mean that the moment a child crosses that age he becomes knowledgeable about alcoholic drinks and will drink responsibly? No, I don’t think any one of us agree to this.

I strongly feel that an understanding and a deep knowledge of alcohol terminology is an essential part of awareness that a person should have, to drink responsibly. Let me explain a few terms here.

Unit of alcohol:

A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol. It is advised that a man should not take more than 3-4 units a day and a woman should limit to 2-3 units a day. At an average it takes an hour to process a unit of alcohol in an adult so that no alcohol is left in the system.

Alcohol by Volume (ABV):

Alcohol content is expressed by %age volume of the whole bottle. An alcoholic drink must be mentioning the %age content of pure alcohol in the drink. Some drinks write simply ‘Vol. 6%’ or some may write ‘ABV 6%’ or ‘6 ABV’ while mentioning the pure alcohol content. All three, however, indicate that the drink contains 6% alcohol.

Similar drinks may also have different ABV, For instance beers from different distilleries may have different ABV content. Similarly, different brands of the beers from same distillery can also have different ABV content.

Wines have around ABV 8-12% (sometimes more) as compared to beers which have around 4-6% ABV. Whisky is high in alcohol content usually around 40-45% ABV. Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve and other variants of Black Dog have around 42% ABV.

Measure and glass sizes:

Whisky and other spirits are usually served in a measure of 25ml. Some bars and pubs may serve in measure of 35ml or 50 ml. Thus one measure of 25ml of Black Dog TGR whisky will give a little more than one unit of alcohol.

A large wine glass contains 250ml of wine. Thus, one large glass of wine with ABV 16% will contain (250×16)/100 = 40 = 4 units of alcohol.

Therefore knowing your drink and its ABV is as important in making a decision of how much to consume as knowing the taste and aroma of the drink.

2014_BD_29_Alcohol terminology


Sangita Passey
29 May 2014



Black Dog Easy Evenings | Black Dog Scotch | Ginger Claps

Disclaimer: The content of this post is meant only for people above the age of 25

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