Skip to Content

How much alcohol is a floater?

What is a floater?

A floater refers to a drink that contains a shot of liquor floated on top of a non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail. The shot sits or “floats” on top rather than being mixed in. Some common examples of floaters include:

  • A Jägerbomb – A shot of Jägermeister dropped into a glass of Red Bull energy drink
  • A Depth Charge – A shot of tequila or whiskey dropped into a pint of lager or cider
  • An Irish Car Bomb – A shot of Irish cream liqueur dropped into a pint of stout

The floating shot allows you to taste the liquor first before drinking the remainder of the cocktail. It provides a fun drinking experience and makes the alcoholic kick come on faster as you get that initial shot straight up.

How much alcohol is in a typical floater shot?

The amount of alcohol in a floater shot depends on the type and size of liquor used. Some common amounts are:

  • 1 oz (30ml) shot – This is a standard restaurant/bar size shot. Examples would be a 1 oz shot of Jägermeister or tequila.
  • 1.5 oz (45ml) shot – Some places may pour heavier shots of up to 1.5 oz.
  • 2 oz (60ml) shot – A double shot would contain 2 oz of liquor.

Most floater-style drinks use a single 1 oz shot floated on top. So if you were drinking a Jägerbomb made with 1 oz of Jägermeister dropped into 12 oz of Red Bull, the total alcohol content would be:

  • 1 oz shot = 1 oz alcohol
  • 12 oz Red Bull = 0 oz alcohol
  • Total = 1 oz alcohol

The more shots you add, the more alcohol you will consume.

How does the alcohol percentage impact a floater’s strength?

The alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage of the liquor used in a floater shot determines how much pure alcohol is in that 1 oz. Higher ABV liquors will contain more alcohol per ounce.

For example:

  • Jägermeister is 35% ABV. A 1 oz shot of Jäger contains 0.35 oz alcohol.
  • Tequila is typically 40% ABV. A 1 oz shot of tequila contains 0.4 oz alcohol.
  • Overproof rum around 60% ABV. A 1 oz shot would contain 0.6 oz alcohol.

So while the shot sizes may be equal at 1 oz, the proof/alcohol percentage results in different amounts of actual alcohol:

Liquor ABV Alcohol per 1 oz Shot
Jägermeister 35% 0.35 oz
Tequila 40% 0.4 oz
Overproof Rum 60% 0.6 oz

The higher the ABV, the more alcohol you get per ounce of liquor. This means some floaters pack more of an alcoholic punch than others.

Typical alcohol content in popular floater drinks

Here is the typical alcohol content found in some popular floater cocktail recipes:

Drink Floater Shot Alcohol Content
Jägerbomb 1 oz Jägermeister 0.35 oz alcohol
Irish Car Bomb 1 oz Irish cream 0.2-0.3 oz alcohol*
Depth Charge 1 oz tequila 0.4 oz alcohol
Sake Bomb 1.5 oz sake 0.3 oz alcohol**

*Irish cream liqueurs range from 15-30% ABV

**Sake averages around 15% ABV

As you can see, the standard 1 oz liquor shot contains 0.2-0.4 oz of actual alcohol depending on the proof. This gets dropped into a non-alcoholic mixer below.

How floaters impact your blood alcohol level

Floaters containing a single shot will have a mild to moderate impact on blood alcohol levels:

  • For a 120 lb woman, a floater with 1 oz of 40% liquor would increase BAC by around 0.04%
  • For a 160 lb man, a 1 oz 40% liquor floater would increase BAC by 0.03%

This is akin to consuming a regular mixed drink like a rum and coke or vodka tonic.

However, floaters drunk in quantity can lead to intoxication much faster as you are consuming multiple shots worth of liquor in a short timeframe. Knocking back 4-5 floaters could put you close to 0.1% BAC depending on your size and tolerance.

Pacing yourself is key. Sipping floater drinks over time is better than consuming them back-to-back as part of a drinking contest. Eat food to help slow absorption as well.

Tips for drinking floaters responsibly

Here are some tips to keep yourself safe and sober if enjoying floater cocktails:

  • Limit yourself to 1-2 floaters per hour and alternate with water/non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Make sure you have eaten a meal before starting to drink floaters.
  • Drink them slowly – don’t “drop” shots rapidly one after the other.
  • Avoid floaters with higher alcohol shots like overproof rums or absinthe which can quickly cause intoxication.
  • Never drive after consuming floaters – arrange transportation or a designated driver.
  • Be aware of how your body responds and stop drinking floaters if you feel impaired.

Enjoy floater drinks responsibly by pacing yourself. Don’t consume them quickly or on an empty stomach. Be mindful of your alcohol intake to avoid overdoing it.


In summary, the amount of alcohol in a floater shot depends on the type and size of liquor used:

  • A standard 1 oz floater shot contains around 0.2 – 0.4 oz of alcohol depending on the proof.
  • Higher proof liquors (ABV 40%+) will have more alcohol per ounce.
  • Popular floater drinks like Jägerbombs and Irish Car Bombs typically use a 1 oz shot containing 0.35 oz alcohol or less.
  • Consuming multiple floaters in succession can lead to intoxication faster than regular mixed drinks.
  • Pace yourself by sipping floaters slowly over time and eating beforehand. Limit intake to 1-2 per hour.

Being aware of your alcohol consumption from floaters allows you to enjoy them safely and responsibly.