How Big Is A Fifth Of Vodka? (Milliliters, Ounces, Shots + More)

It matters that you know not only the best vodka brands to partake of, but also the common measurements used to refer to any vodka you plan to purchase.

If you’ve overheard someone request a fifth of vodka, you might have wondered whether you should order the same and how big a fifth of vodka is to begin with. I did all the research for you, and here’s what I found!

How Big Is A Fifth Of Vodka?

A fifth of vodka is basically a 750 ml alcohol bottle and is equivalent to 25.4 ounces. The term “fifth” was used in the years before 1980 when a fifth of a gallon was the legal threshold for selling alcohol to individuals. Moreover, a fifth of vodka is enough to contain 17 shots of 1.5 ounce glasses.

If you want to know more about a fifth of vodka’s origins, how many cups it contains, and whether it is bigger than a liter, keep on reading!

What Is A Fifth Of Vodka Equivalent To?

A fifth of vodka is equivalent to a 750 ml or a 25.36 ounce bottle of alcohol. It is slightly bigger than a pint and smaller than a liter, which is why bartenders use it to free pour.

Why Do We Say A Fifth Of Vodka?

A fifth is equivalent to one fifth of a US liquid gallon and was the unit of volume formerly used for measuring distilled beverages in America.

To understand the math better, a gallon contains 128 ounces and if you divide a bottle’s capacity which is 25 oz by 128, you get 0.1981 per gallon.

Rounded up, the answer would be 0.20, and this is equivalent to a fifth of a gallon, or 4 /5 of a quart.

On January 1, 1980, America transitioned to the metric system, and a fifth became better known as a 750 ml bottle.

Furthermore, a metric fifth or a 750 ml bottle is the standard capacity of alcohol bottles all over the world.

It’s important to note that America’s conversion to the metric system was voluntary according to the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and the liquor industry was one of the few to adopt it.

Prior to the use of the metric system, bottles were measured in quarts and gallons, and vodka was usually sold in 4/5 of a quart or a fifth of a gallon.

Additionally, America’s transition to the metric system had something to do with fairer measurements when selling liquor to the public.

For many years, liquors were sold in 40 different bottle sizes and there was a difference to the “short quart” or 4/5 quart bottles being sold by liquor wholesalers and liquor retailers.

Since customers often asked for a quart and got less than the supposed amount given to them, people wanted to eliminate the fractions used in measuring alcohol.

Efforts to switch to the metric system and do away with the quart, pint, and gallon started in the 1960s, became stronger in the 70s, and was finally realized in 1980.

Why Do We Still Use The Term Fifth?

Why Do We Still Use The Term Fifth?

While it’s been several decades since America transitioned to the metric system, there are still a lot of people who are used to referring to a bottle of vodka as a “fifth” of vodka.

In some places, using “fifth” is archaic and may not be the norm but some countries and bars still acknowledge this term and know exactly what is being referred to.

Some people may also prefer to use “fifth” to sound classy and more knowledgeable about their vodka bottle.

Is A Fifth Of Vodka A Lot?

Whether a fifth of vodka is a lot depends on how you plan to consume the vodka.

If you’re getting a fifth of vodka, which is equivalent to a 750 ml bottle, to share with friends and family at a celebration, then it might not be a lot.

However, if you’re drinking it by yourself, a fifth of vodka is definitely a lot. It may even be too much, considering it’s one fifth of a gallon and vodka normally has 80 proof.

Additionally, it matters how long you plan to consume a fifth of vodka. A single night of consumption is undoubtedly excessive, but stretching it to a month or two for yourself would be okay.

How Many Shots Are In A Fifth Of Vodka?

A fifth of vodka has around 17 shots given that your shot glass is the standard 1.5 ounce.

Measuring the number of shots you can produce in a fifth of vodka depends largely on the size of the shot glass you’re using as standard sizes differ per country.

If you want to learn more about vodka, you can see our related posts on how much vodka there is in a shot, the size of bottles vodka comes in, and lesser-known vodka facts.


A fifth of vodka is the same as a 750 ml alcohol bottle. It refers to a fifth of a gallon, which was the unit originally used to portion distilled spirits for commercial sales.

When the US attempted to switch to the metric system in 1980, the term “fifth” lost favor among liquor buyers because of the confusion that fractions brought to measuring alcohol.

Today, using the phrase “a fifth of vodka” is considered old-fashioned in America, but is still acknowledged in a lot of places.

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