How Much Is A Dram of Whiskey? (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Anyone who drinks whiskey knows that it is drunk in drams. And if you are just starting to discover the joy of sipping whiskey, it’s natural to be curious how it’s measured.

So, how much is a dram of whiskey? Fortunately, our team has gathered all the information to help you differentiate various types of drams and how much they measure.

What Is A Dram of Whiskey?

whiskey dram glass on desk with michter's

The word dram means a small serving of spirits, but it most commonly referred to whiskey. A dram is for a unit measure of weight and volume, ideal for tiny measurements. It started in Scotland, where its definition went through different changes.

There are two measuring unit systems: the metric that uses milliliters and the US Customary System using a fluid ounce. A bottle of whiskey does not have a fixed amount of drams because of the variations, namely, the American, Scottish, Wee, and Free-poured.

Different guidelines result in different measures for a dram of whiskey. 

How It’s Measured

How It’s Measured

US Customary System

One of the bases for unit measurement regarding length, weight, and liquid volume is the United States Customary System. An example of units used here is the foot, mile, pound, ton, cubic inch, and ounce. A whiskey dram equates to one-eight of a fluid ounce, a very small measure. 

Most whiskey drinkers may find it interesting to determine how much whiskey their shot glass has, like when a cocktail at a pub house contains 16 drams of whiskey. 

Read: How Long Will It Take To Make Whiskey?

UK National Measurement & Regulation Office

whiskey glass

Another way of measuring comes from the UK National Measurement and Regulation Office guidelines. It started in the 1970s when Ireland and the UK chose the metric system that uses milliliters instead of the gill. Ireland’s standard dram remained at quarter gill or 35.5 ml despite the regional variations.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom sticks to the guideline where bars and restaurants serve spirits in a standard measure of 25 ml or 35 ml per pour.

Also Read: How Do You Make Whiskey Taste Better?

Types of Whiskey Drams & Their Measurement

Types of Whiskey Drams & Their Measurement

American Dram

Like beer fanatics, American whiskey drinkers usually prefer bigger servings of alcohol. A standard pour at a pub house amounts to one and a half fluid ounces (more than 44 ml) dram of whiskey. The measurement is close to the 43 ml Scotch dram size centuries ago.

A 750 ml bottle of whiskey can pour up to 17 drams, following the 44 ml measurement. But what do two fingers of whiskey mean?

Scottish Dram

Scottish Dram on table

The first official usage of the word dram relating to whiskey started in Scotland [1]. The word started by referring to a Greek coin. Then, later on, it became a definition of the mouthful pour of whiskey that a drinking person can take.

Scottish dram almost has the same pouring units as American’s.

Also Read:

Wee Dram

Wee Dram has a simple definition of a single serving of whiskey. This delightful term emanates from centuries ago in Scotland, before the availability of a good whiskey. The expensive and elusive whiskey makes the small drink more valuable during that time.

In the modern days, a wee refers to the one-eight fluid ounces, just enough to get a glass wet. The whiskey dram is hard to estimate here, but the small pouring will surely take a lot of shots.

Free-Poured Dram

Free-Poured Dram

The practical definition of free-poured relies heavily on the person pouring the spirits and drinking them. It doesn’t have an exact volume like the other types of drams, and it can range from a large measure to small amounts.  

The main point for this dram of whiskey is to enjoy the drink, whether straight, on ice, or as a cocktail mix.

Also Read: Whiskey vs Moonshine


How many ounces are there in a dram of whiskey?

There are one-eight fluid ounces in a dram of whiskey.

Why do they call dram just a small amount of whiskey?

They call dram just a small amount of whiskey because it only amounts to 3.697 ml on a single take. The definition of dram is a mouthful of whiskey one can enjoy. Thus, people consider it a small amount of whiskey.

How many milliliters are in a Double Whiskey?

Whiskey has an average of 44 ml shots, which means that the double amount equals 88 ml. 

So, How Much Is A Dram of Whiskey?

Whiskey dram measures differently depending on the measurement systems used. A fluid dram in the US Customary System referred to one and a half fluid ounces while the metric is 44 ml. The definition of this word will vary depending on the country or region. 

American Dram with 44 ml has a slightly higher pouring than Scottish with 43 ml. The Wee Dram contains the smallest pour with a rounded-off volume of 3.697 ml (US customary) or 3.552 ml (metric system). The Free-Poured entirely depends on how much a drinker can have in a mouthful taken. 




Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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