I’ll have a shot or make it a double shot of vodka bartender. A very common order at bars, clubs and restaurants, but what exactly was ordered and what did the customer get. It really depends on where the order was placed and filled. There is not a legal standard for a shot in 49 States. Utah is the only State that defines a shot as 1.5 US fl oz (44ml). So, if the order was placed in Utah, you would expect to get a 1.5 US fl oz. serving of alcohol, in any other State your vodka serving could range from .75 US fl. oz. to 1.5 US fl oz.
The size of the shot glass used throughout the 49 States of the US vary with the most used being a 1 oz. shot glass. The difference in the size of the shot glass used dictates the profit margin of the serving establishment. A classic example to drive home this point is the MGM in Las Vegas. To trim costs and increase profit they just switched the size of the shot glasses at their bars. The free drinks that are given to casino patrons as they gambled used to be 1.25 ounces, while the paid drinks ordered by customers at their bars and restaurants were 1.5 ounces. The corporate executives saw an effortless way to increase their profits by 25%, the shot glasses for free drinks were switched for 1 ounce shot glasses and the shot glasses for paid drinks were replaced with 1.25 ounce shot glasses.
Then there is the double shot. You would think that when you order a double shot you would be getting twice as much than if you order a shot, this is most often not the case. Most bars have a shot glass and a double shot glass specifically for this purpose. Most double shot glasses are 2 ounces, so in a bar where the single shot glass in 1 ounce, you are getting double. What about the bar with the single shot glass is 1.25 ounces or 1.5 ounces, when you order a double shot and they reach for the 2-ounce shot glass you are not getting a double.
A purchase of an alcoholic drink comes with a lot of trust. You are trusting that the bartender is giving you the brand of liquor ordered and serving you the appropriate size. We know from other research that establishments have been caught violating that trust with watered down liquor, refilling high priced bottles with lower priced liquor, and now we know the shot glass they use can also be violating your trust.
Outside the US, the size of the ordered shot varies from Country to Country, from 20 ml in Germany to 50ml in Bulgaria. So next time you are at a bar or restaurant that tries to up-sell you to a double you may want to ask first or take a look at the bartenders jigger.
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