You probably know the old story of one tequila, two tequila, three tequila — hello, floor!
So many of us have been to that part of going out and not remembering anything after a night out. You’re combing through your memories from the previous night, but there ain’t nothing… and then the stories come out of you dancing on the bar counter.
So it begs the question, how many shots of tequila does it take to get drunk?
On average, it takes two to four tequila shots to become drunk. Still, it depends on various factors such as age, weight, sex, alcohol tolerance, and whether you’ve eaten before taking shots. On average:
- Weighing between 100 and 150 lbs (45–68 kg) — two to three shots will get you drunk.
- If you weigh between 150 and 200 lbs (58–91 kg) — four to five shots will do the trick.
- When you weigh between 200 and 250 lbs (90–113 kg) — six to seven shots will get you drunk.
First, we’ll briefly look at what makes tequila the unique spirit it is before considering what a standard shot in the U.S. is. Next, we’ll examine how many tequila shots it takes to make a person drunk. Lastly, for the uninitiated, we’ve included the steps to taking a tequila shot.
What Makes Tequila, Tequila?
Tequila is a uniquely Mexican spirit made from the blue agave plant (agave tequilana). First, the plants are harvested, and all the spiky leaves are cut off to reveal the bulb or piña. The piña contains the juice that eventually is distilled to produce tequila.
Still, it is baked to convert the starches into sugars and agave nectar. After baking, the piña is either mechanically crushed or by a huge stone called a tahona to extract the agave juices. The resulting liquid is fermented and finally distilled twice to produce tequila.
Few distillers opt for a third round of distillation because it strips most of the agave taste from the tequila. You can read about the process in detail here.
There are five different sorts, some aged and some matured for only approximately 60 days. Tequila must be made in Mexico in one of five states (Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacán, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas).
It must contain at least 51% blue agave to be considered legal under Mexican law. If a bottle of tequila isn’t branded ‘100% de Agave,’ it’s a mixto or a blend of agave and other components.
How Much Is a Shot of Tequila?
There is no international standard of how much a shot is, and it varies from country to country. In the U.S., a shot is considered 1.5 fluid ounces (44 ml), but shot glasses can come in volumes ranging from one to two ounces.
This raises another question, is a shot of tequila a standard drink? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines a standard drink as having 14 grams (0.6 oz) of pure alcohol. Therefore, any hard spirit with an ABV of 40% or 80 proof served as 1.5 fluid ounces (44 ml) is considered a standard drink.
In addition, a 12-ounce (355 ml) serving of 5% ABV beer or a 5-ounce (148 ml) serving of 12% ABV wine are also considered standard drink sizes. Therefore, a 40% ABV tequila shot equals one standard drink.
How Many Shots of Tequila Will Get You Drunk?
Now we’ve established how much a shot of tequila is; we can dig a bit deeper. The Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) governs the manufacturing of tequila. According to NOM rules, tequila may be bottled with an ABV ranging from 35% to 55%.
However, according to U.S. regulations, importers can only bring in tequila with an ABV of at least 40% or 80 proof.
To be considered legally drunk in the U.S., your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) needs to be 0.08% or above. This means that there are 80 milligrams of alcohol present in 100 milliliters of blood.
Now we’ve got all the nitty-gritty out of the way, let’s see how many shots, on average, it will take to get a person drunk (on or over a BAC of 0.08%). On average, getting drunk takes between 2 and 4 shots of tequila consumed within an hour.
Getting drunk depends on several factors, such as weight, height, age, sex, and the type of alcohol you’re consuming — read more about those factors at this link.
Whether you’ve eaten before drinking also plays a role because it slows alcohol absorption down. On the other hand, factors like stress, fear, or anxiety can cause you to get drunk quicker.
Here are some quick examples:
- Weighing between 100 and 150 lbs (45–68 kg) — two to three shots will get you drunk
- If you weigh between 150 and 200 lbs (58–91 kg) — four to five shots will do the trick
- When you weigh between 200 and 250 lbs (90–113 kg), six to seven shots will get you drunk.
As you can see, lighter people get drunk much quicker than heavier people. However, many other factors also play a role, such as your alcohol tolerance and how quickly you drink shots in succession, among others.
How To Take a Tequila Shot
Taking tequila shots has its ritual — lick, swallow, and bite — kind of reminds one of the ‘correct’ ways to eat an Oreo cookie. We know it sounds like someone who forgot the correct steps for eating, so let’s break them down below. Clean hands are essential!
- Gather your ingredients and supplies — one shot glass of tequila per person, a lemon or lime wedge, and salt.
- Usually, the back of the non-drinking or non-dominant hand is licked on the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger to moisten it. However, we’ve just survived a global pandemic, so may you’d prefer to dampen the area with water.
- Put a pinch of salt on the moist area.
- Lick the salt from your hand in one motion (this will help temper the tequila’s burning sensation).
- Immediately shoot or drink the tequila in a single motion.
- After taking your shot, suck on the lemon or lime (some people like to bite into it but be careful; it can deteriorate your tooth enamel). This step helps to mellow the strong alcohol taste and balance the flavors.
Voilá! All done. If you’re a tequila novice or if this is a right of passage because you can legally drink, well done!
You’ve just had your first encounter with tequila. It is natural to grimace or pull a face after your first shot of tequila. Still, you’ll build up a tolerance and may even learn to like and appreciate tequila.
Two to three shots are usually enough to make individuals drunk. However, depending on how quickly they drink and other factors such as weight, age, gender, and stomach content, people can become intoxicated with as few as one shot of tequila.
Therefore, as much fun as tequila shots are, it’s crucial to recognize your limitations and pace yourself so you don’t suffer as much from the repercussions or dangers of getting drunk on tequila shots.