If you want to drink responsibly, the first step is getting familiar with alcoholic content. Every type of alcohol is a little bit different, and if you plan on having a drink and then driving home later— there are certain types you should absolutely avoid. By learning what’s in your beverage, you’ll be able to better gauge the impact of what you’ve had.

Alcoholic Content: Knowing Your Beverage


Depending on the type of beer you drink, alcoholic content can be quite low. In fact, there are some beers that have an ABV (Alcohol by volume) of as low as 2%. The range on beer can be anywhere from 2-13% depending on how it’s made. If you plan on having one with dinner, and driving home an hour later— go for a lighter one. While it is not always the case, lighter beers tend to have a lower alcohol content. Pilsners, in particular, usually stay at or below 4%.


Wine packs a bit more of a punch than beer, as the ABV on that usually sticks between 10-20%. While this is not always the case, that range is typically accurate of most bottles of wine. In most cases, white wine has a lower alcohol content than red wine as well. Therefore, consider having a glass of Chardonnay instead of a Cabernet with dinner if you’re trying to drink lighter this evening.

Vodka and Whiskey

These two are grouped together because they boast a very similar alcohol content. In general, most vodka’s and whiskey’s contain about 40-50% when it comes to alcoholic content. So, as you can imagine, it’s not very smart to have an Old Fashioned or Vodka Gimlet and try to drive home. Reserve these guys, and all other liquor, for a night when you don’t have to worry about driving.

Gin, Tequila, Rum, and Brandy

Gin and tequila fall into that same 40-50% range on alcohol, although typically a bit lower than vodka and whiskey. On the other hand, rum and brandy are in that range— but on the higher side. In general, when considering a drink with dinner casually, stick to low gravity beers or a light glass of wine. Opting for liquor will always pack more of a punch.

Considering Alcoholic Content is Imperative to Smart Drinking

Maybe you don’t even have to drive tonight— you just want to enjoy a glass of wine, skip the buzz or hangover, and enjoy your friends’ company. So, go for it! The key thing to remember is that knowing your drinks can help you make a more informed decision when ordering. And if you’re ever in doubt, always call an Uber, cab, or friend. Drinking and driving is an unnecessary risk that can lead to unnecessary trouble.