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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

Even experienced bartenders pour more alcohol into short, wide glasses than tall, thin ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Brian Wansink, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a colleague studied 198 college students and 86 bartenders. Participants were instructed to pour one standard 44.3 ml shot of alcohol for four mixed drinks (vodka tonic, rum and Coke, whiskey on the rocks, and gin and tonic) into 355 ml tumblers or 355 ml highball glasses.

The researchers found that the college students poured an average of about 30% more alcohol into tumblers (59.1 ml) than into highball glasses (45.5 ml). They also found that the bartenders, who had an average of 6.3 years of professional experience, poured an average of about 20% more alcohol into tumblers (55.5 ml) than into highball glasses (46.1 ml).

"If short tumblers lead even bartenders to pour more alcohol than tall highball glasses, the way to better control alcohol consumption is to use tall glasses or to use glasses with the alcohol level marked on them -- and to realize that, when alcoholic drinks are served in a short, wide glass, two drinks are actually equal to two and a half," the authors conclude.

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