What Does Two Fingers of Whiskey Mean? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin

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 mean? 

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

What Does “Two Fingers Of Whiskey” Mean? 

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. 

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. 


How many fingers is a shot of whiskey?

A shot of whiskey is one and a half fingers. Since a finger is roughly an ounce of spirit and a shot means 1.5 ounces, you will need to fill a standard old-fashioned glass with one and a half fingers. 

Can two fingers of whiskey get you drunk?

No, two fingers of whiskey will not get you drunk. Two fingers of whiskey are roughly 2 ounces, which is just above a shot if you will use an old-fashioned glass. No one gets drunk with a shot or two of a distilled spirit. 

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. 



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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