Have you ever wondered how much vodka it would take to get you drunk? We all know the consequences of drinking too much alcohol, but it can be hard to gauge exactly how many shots are necessary to achieve a certain effect. Whether you’re looking for a light buzz or planning on getting utterly trashed, there are important factors that dictate your own individual limits. In this blog post, we’ll explain what determines how quickly someone gets intoxicated and explore specific information about how many shot of vodka to get drunk right now.
What is Vodka?
Vodka is a distilled spirit that is composed primarily of water and ethanol alcohol. It originated in Eastern Europe but has become popular worldwide. Traditional vodka contains 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). It is usually distilled from fermented grains or potatoes. The distillation process removes congeners, substances that contribute flavor and odor. This results in vodka’s signature smooth, clean taste. Some modern vodkas add back congeners or infuse flavors after distillation for variation. But in general, vodka is valued for its neutral spirit base.
How Many Shot Of Vodka To Get Drunk?
An average 170-lb woman typically becomes drunk after consuming around 4 shots of 37.5% vodka, while an average 200-lb man becomes drunk after around 6 shots
However, individual responses to alcohol vary significantly due to factors such as body weight, age, tolerance, and whether alcohol was consumed on an empty or filled stomach. Additionally, it’s noted that women should aim for fewer shots (around 5) compared to men (around 7). Keep in mind that these numbers serve as general guidance and that each person responds uniquely to alcohol.
Blood Alcohol Concentration
To understand how much vodka causes intoxication, it helps to know about blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This refers to the percentage of alcohol present in the bloodstream. For reference:
- 0.02-0.03% BAC: Mild relaxation and euphoria
- 0.04-0.06% BAC: Reduced coordination and impaired judgment
- 0.07-0.09% BAC: Dizziness, slurred speech, and loss of balance
- 0.10-0.12% BAC: Significant motor impairment, memory issues, and slowed reflexes
- 0.16%+ BAC: Vomiting, blackouts, and loss of consciousness
BAC increases with the amount of alcohol consumed and decreases as the body metabolizes it. On average, the liver can process one standard drink per hour. But many factors affect alcohol absorption and metabolism.
Standard Drink Amounts
One standard drink in the United States contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. This is equivalent to:
- 1.5 ounces (one shot) of 40% ABV vodka
- 12 ounces of 5% ABV beer
- 5 ounces of 12% ABV wine
As a general guideline, four or more standard drinks within two hours will result in intoxication for most adults. Consuming this amount of 40% ABV vodka equals about 6 shots, or 9 ounces of liquid. However, some individuals show signs of impairment with just one to two drinks. Tolerance varies drastically based on the factors below.
Factors Affecting Alcohol Tolerance
The amount of vodka needed to become intoxicated depends on an array of variables:
Body Size and Composition
Larger bodies and higher percentages of body fat lead to greater distribution of ethanol. This delays peak BAC. People who are smaller or have lower body fat will absorb alcohol faster.
Age and Gender
Women tend to have higher BACs than men of the same weight after consuming equal amounts of alcohol. This is partly due to differences in the stomach enzymes that metabolize ethanol.
Older adults also tend to experience impaired motor skills at lower BAC levels compared to younger people.
Genetic variations in alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes can cause differences in ethanol metabolism. People of East Asian descent often exhibit facial flushing and nausea at lower BACs due to a variant ALDH2 gene.
Consuming vodka along with food slows down the absorption into the bloodstream. High fat and protein foods are especially effective. But carbohydrate-rich meals have minimal impact.
People who regularly drink vodka and other alcoholic beverages develop tolerance. They require more alcohol to achieve the same effects over time as their brains and livers adapt. Heavy drinkers may not show signs of intoxication even at high BAC levels.
Medications and Health Conditions
Certain prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and medical conditions can amplify alcohol’s effects. These include antihistamines, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and antibiotics. Liver disease, malnutrition, cancer, and heart conditions also increase susceptibility to impairment from smaller amounts of alcohol.
Recommended Limits for Vodka Intake
Due to all these variables, it’s impossible to give an exact number of vodka shots needed to get drunk for every person. However, health agencies provide general intake guidelines:
U.S. Dietary Guidelines
For healthy adults, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting intake to:
- 2 drinks or less per day for men
- 1 drink or less per day for women
This equals about 1.5 ounces or 3 shots of vodka. Consuming 4 or more drinks on any day is considered heavy drinking for women and men alike.
CDC and WHO Guidelines
The CDC and WHO advise:
- Women should have no more than 1 drink per day
- Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day
They also recommend limiting intake to no more than 3-4 drinks on any single occasion for women and men to avoid binge drinking. Exceeding these limits raises the risks of short and long-term alcohol-related harm. But even within the recommendations, individuals can experience impairment and should not drive or operate machinery after drinking.
Signs of Alcohol Intoxication
Gauge your personal level of intoxication from vodka by paying attention to these signs:
- Feeling relaxed, talkative, energetic, or euphoric
- Laughing, loudness, and increased sociability
- Impaired judgment, reduced inhibitions, and exaggerated emotions
- Decreased coordination, blurred vision, and dizziness
- Slurred speech, memory lapses, and slowed reaction time
- Nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness in severe cases
Stop drinking vodka immediately if you begin experiencing any loss of motor control, intense dizziness or nausea, or blacking out. These are signals you’ve gone beyond your limits.
Tips for Drinking Vodka Wisely
You can enjoy vodka without getting dangerously drunk by following smart drinking strategies:
- Pace yourself – Limit intake to 1 standard drink per hour
- Alternate alcohol with water – Have a glass of water between each vodka drink
- Eat before and while drinking – Food slows absorption into your bloodstream
- Avoid shots and gulping – Sip vodka drinks slowly rather than shooting them
- Watch your mixer calories – Beverages like colas and juices add extra alcohol-masking sugars and calories
- Keep track – Monitor your drink count through the night
- Know your limits – Remember it takes less alcohol to impair smaller bodies and infrequent drinkers
- Stop at signs of intoxication – Don’t try to push through dizziness, nausea, or memory lapses
Making good decisions around vodka requires understanding your personal tolerance levels. This awareness only comes from direct experience. Drink in a safe environment with people you trust as you learn your limits.
What About Vodka and Energy Drinks?
It’s become trendy in recent years to mix vodka with energy drinks like Red Bull. But this combination comes with serious risks.
Energy drink stimulants like caffeine and taurine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol. This allows drinkers to consume more vodka than normal because they don’t feel as impaired.
Mixing stimulants and depressants also places enormous strain on the cardiovascular system. Studies link vodka-energy drink cocktails to an increased rate of binge drinking, drunk driving, injuries, and even death.
It’s safest to avoid using energy drinks as vodka mixers. The perceived energy boosts they provide lead people to make very dangerous decisions around alcohol intake.
Signs of Alcoholism:
- Drinking alone or hiding it from others
- Prioritizing alcohol above responsibilities
- Failed attempts to cut back on drinking
- Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, tremors, and nausea when not drinking
- Tolerating amounts that previously caused blackouts or passing out
- Risky behavior like drunk driving while impaired
If you recognize these patterns in yourself or a loved one, reach out for help. Many resources exist both locally and online to assist people in alcohol recovery.
Vodka Brand Recommendations
All vodka is not created equal. Higher quality brands distill vodka repeatedly in copper pot stills or through charcoal filtration to remove impurities and undesirable flavors. Smooth texture and drinkability come at a price, however.
Here are some well-regarded mid-range to top-shelf vodka picks:
- Ketel One – Distilled in copper pot stills with fresh wheat and barley
- Grey Goose – Uses soft winter wheat and water purified through Champagne limestone
- Belvedere – Rye vodka distilled four times and filtered through charcoal
- Chopin – Made from potato starch with quadruple distillation and copper filtration
- Stolichnaya Elit – Wheat-based vodka passed through freeze filtration for smoothness
- Reyka – Icelandic vodka made with glacial spring water and distilled in a vintage still
- Hangar 1 – Crafted from viognier wine then redistilled in Fraser River water
- Tito’s – Corn-based vodka distilled six times in Texas
High-end “luxury” brands like Beluga, Russo-Baltique, and Jewel of Russia add to basic distillation processes with exotic ingredients and years of aging. But the cost for these prestige vodkas soars into the hundreds of dollars per bottle.
Health, Safety, and Legal Concerns
While intoxication is vodka’s intended effect, overconsumption poses serious health, safety, and legal risks.
Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant. In excess, it impairs motor skills, judgment, and cognition. Vodka overdose can lead to blackouts, respiratory failure, or death. Long-term overdrinking causes liver disease, neurological damage, and addiction.
Intoxicated individuals are also more prone to accidents, violence, and unsafe behavior like drunk driving. All states set a maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% for motorists. However, impairment occurs at much lower levels.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.