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What Does Two Fingers of Whiskey Meaning? (2024 Best Edition)

two fingers of whiskey meaning

There are several ways to drink whiskey, and we’re sure you’ve heard people order “fingers” of alcohol at some point. But what do two fingers of whiskey meaning? 

Don’t pour yourself a full glass just yet. We’ve got the real deal here. 

What Does Two Fingers Of Whiskey Meaning? 

Redbreast Irish Whiskey with glass

The term “Two Fingers of Whiskey” means that the width of two fingers when you hold it next to the glass is the volume of the whiskey. The terminology two fingers of whiskey is a rough way of measuring how much whiskey goes in your glass.

Two fingers of whiskey is not an official unit of measurement for whiskey pour, but it would be helpful since whiskey is not meant for chugging. 

Is It A Unit of Measurement?

Two fingers of whiskey can be a unit of measurement for whiskey pour. You can use it at home or when ordering a neat whiskey at the bar.

It would be an easy way to give each glass the same amount of whiskey, even if you don’t have a measuring tool. 

However, the two fingers of whiskey measurement may vary because of three reasons: (1) size of your finger, (2) diameter of the glass, and (3) shape of the glass. 

How Much Are Two Fingers Of Whiskey? 

Suntory Whiskey with glass

If you have an old-fashioned glass (6-8 ounce) and an average-sized finger, two fingers are roughly 2 ounces of whiskey (without ice). 

However, it would be best to remember that the one-ounce-per-finger measurement works on single old-fashioned glasses (since there are large double old-fashioned glasses). A bigger and wider base of the glass brings a big difference. 

But why do people dip their fingers in whiskey?

How To Order Two Fingers Of Whiskey

If you want to order two fingers of whiskey in a bar, tell the bartender that you want two fingers of whatever whiskey you prefer.

You can say “two fingers of Bulleit bourbon please” to the bartender, and he will give you a straight, room temperature whiskey in an old-fashioned glass to the height of their two fingers. 

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Do People Still Use It?

Whiskey stone & glass

Yes, people still use the two fingers of whiskey as a measurement of their spirit at home.

However, the antiquated method is no longer used in bars because different bartenders have different finger sizes, making the whiskey pour inconsistent.

Moreso, the standard pour in most bars is 1.25 to 1.50 ounces, so it would be hard to figure out how much to charge per finger. 

Compared to Other Units Of Measurement 

One Finger

When measuring a distilled spirit, one finger refers to the volume of whiskey that will fill a glass when one finger is wrapped around the bottom.

It is nearly an inch (3/4) and roughly an ounce of the spirit. 

Three Fingers

Whiskey glass

Three fingers of whiskey are pretty much the same concept as one finger.

You will fill the glass to the height equal to the width of your three fingers. It measures roughly three ounces or two shots of distilled spirit. 

FAQs of Two Fingers of Whiskey Meaning

How many fingers is a shot of whiskey?

The term “fingers” is a colloquial measurement used to estimate the amount of whiskey poured into a glass. A “shot” of whiskey typically refers to a standardized volume of liquid, which is approximately 1.5 ounces or 44 milliliters.

However, the measurement of “fingers” varies depending on individual preference and the size of the glass.

Generally, a “finger” of whiskey is considered to be roughly the width of an adult finger when the glass is held by its base. Therefore, the number of fingers used to pour a shot of whiskey can vary, but it typically ranges from one to two fingers.

Can two fingers of whiskey get you drunk?

Whether two fingers of whiskey can make you drunk depends on several factors, including your tolerance level, body weight, metabolism, and the alcohol content of the whiskey. Two fingers of whiskey represent a moderate amount of alcohol consumption, likely containing around 2 to 3 ounces of whiskey, depending on the size of the fingers and the pour.

For some individuals, this amount of alcohol may lead to feelings of intoxication, impaired judgment, and reduced motor skills, especially if consumed relatively quickly. However, others may not experience significant effects from this amount of alcohol.

It’s essential to drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol consumption to avoid excessive intoxication and its associated risks.

How much whiskey does “Two Fingers” typically represent?

The term “two fingers” of whiskey is a subjective measurement that can vary depending on individual interpretation and the size of the glass being used. Generally, a “finger” of whiskey is estimated to be approximately the width of an adult finger when the glass is held by its base.

Therefore, “two fingers” of whiskey typically represent a pour that fills the glass to a level equivalent to the width of two adult fingers.

The actual volume of whiskey represented by “two fingers” can vary depending on the size and shape of the glass, but it’s commonly estimated to be around 2 to 3 ounces, depending on the pour and the size of the fingers.

Is “Two Fingers” a standard measurement in bartending?

While “two fingers” is not a formal unit of measurement in bartending like ounces or milliliters, it is a colloquial term often used to indicate a rough estimate of the amount of whiskey to be poured.

Bartenders may be familiar with the term and its general meaning, but its interpretation can vary depending on factors such as individual pour technique and the size of the glassware used.

Some bartenders may use “two fingers” as a guide for pouring whiskey, estimating the pour based on the width of their own fingers relative to the glass.

However, because of its subjective nature, “two fingers” may not always result in a consistent pour, leading some establishments to prefer more precise measurements for accuracy and consistency in their drinks.

Can I request “Two Fingers of Whiskey” at any bar?

You can certainly request “two fingers of whiskey” at many bars, as bartenders are generally familiar with the term and its meaning. However, it’s important to recognize that the interpretation of this request may vary depending on the bartender and the establishment.

Some bartenders may pour based on their estimation of what constitutes “two fingers,” while others may use more precise measurements to ensure consistency in their drinks.

To avoid any ambiguity and ensure that you receive the desired amount of whiskey, especially if you have a preference for a specific volume, you may consider specifying your request in ounces or milliliters instead.

Does “Two Fingers” refer to the height or width of the pour?

The term “two fingers” typically refers to the width of the pour rather than the height. When you request “two fingers of whiskey,” you’re essentially asking for a pour that fills the glass to a level equivalent to the width of two adult fingers.

This colloquial measurement is often used to indicate the level of whiskey in the glass, with each “finger” representing the approximate width of an adult finger when the glass is held by its base.

However, interpretations of this measurement may vary among bartenders and establishments, so it’s advisable to communicate your preferences clearly when ordering your drink to ensure that you receive the desired amount of whiskey.

Can I adjust the amount of whiskey by requesting more or fewer “fingers”?

Yes, you can typically adjust the amount of whiskey you receive by requesting more or fewer “fingers” when ordering your drink. Since “fingers” is a colloquial measurement used to estimate the pour, bartenders may accommodate your request based on your preference for a larger or smaller serving.

For example, if you desire a larger pour, you can request “three fingers of whiskey” instead of the standard “two fingers.” Conversely, if you prefer a smaller serving, you can ask for “one finger of whiskey” or even specify a fractional measurement such as “half a finger.”

However, it’s essential to communicate your preferences clearly to the bartender to ensure that you receive the desired amount of whiskey in your drink. Additionally, if you have a specific volume in mind, such as ounces or milliliters, you may consider providing that information to the bartender for precise measurement.

Final Thoughts

Two fingers of whiskey is an old bar term [1] or measurement of whiskey pour. While some people use it to indicate how much whiskey they should pour in a glass, it can be an inconsistent measuring tool. 

The size of the finger and the diameter and shape of the glass may make a big difference to the volume of the whiskey.

However, feel free to use it at home as a measuring tool for your drinking session. 


  1. Ask the bartender: Giving all those old bar terms the finger
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