Drinking Myth: I can have one drink an hour…
If there is a common theme among DUI clients, this is number one. During the initial consultation most clients would say that there was no way they were over the legal limit, no matter the results of the Breathalyzer. After asking what and how much they had to drink, the response would usual be, “I had one drink an hour”. This is most typical and contrary to science used in and out of the courtroom.
This is the most common method of moderating one’s drinking, and assuming you’re a 250-pound male, and a “drink” consists of:
- One 12oz beer with an alcohol content of around 5-6% or
- One 4oz glass of wine or
- 1.5oz of 80% hard alcohol straight or mixed.
This is what clients would have to drink at the most. There are two problems found using this rule.
The first problem encountered with this rule is that bars, restaurants, and other establishments do not follow this rule. After checking the drink menus and investigating how much liquor goes into a drink, bartenders would admit that much more goes in than one would think. I then spoke with several bar tenders to get an idea of what they are putting in popular cocktails.
When a person orders a shot they are actually getting a double. This means that for every shot you consume you are actually having two drinks. If you apply this knowledge to mixed drinks you’d be surprised how many drinks you actually consume when you have one “drink” an hour.
Mojitos, fruity/sweet/savory martinis, Long Island Ice Tea, Mint Juleps and designer shots are all at least 2.5 drink equivalents by recipe. This assumes that bartenders are pouring using exact measurements.
The Mojito by recipe should only contain 2oz of rum. Based on what local and non-local bartenders say, you’re probably getting at least 5 drink equivalents. A typical Chocolate Martini has about 3 different types of alcohol in it. Generally it contains a flavored vodka along with two liquors. When asked about how much liquor they pour into a martini, bartenders agree that the consumer is looking to drink about 3 in this particular cocktail. The Long Island Ice Tea can vary from 8 to 10 drink equivalents per glass.
I also looked at a few wine bars in town. The typical pour for a glass of wine is about 6 oz. Therefore, unless you specify the 4 oz. pour you’re consuming 1.5 drinks in one glass.
When asking for a beer one needs to also be careful. If you are getting a draft beer you’re getting 16 oz. instead of 12 oz. Also, you need to be aware that not all beer is created equal. The drink equivalent for beer is based on an alcohol content of anywhere between 4% and 6%. Many of the craft beers out there are at least 7% and more.
Though it’s not against the law to have one drink and drive, if you’re 21 and older, you need to be aware of what you’re drinking and how much. One also needs to be aware that unless you are a male who weighs at least 285lbs, one drink an hour is a myth not reality.
*Serving Sacramento County, El Dorado County, Yolo County and Placer County