Lower Risk Drinking

Memorable Nights. Incredible Mornings.

Sure, you can have a couple. And if you follow Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, you can create a lifestyle that includes alcohol, non-drinking days and overall balance. If you want to feel rested in the morning and have more energy during the day, following the Guidance on Alcohol and Health can help you get there.

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, based on scientific evidence, offers Canadians the information needed to make well-informed and responsible decisions about their alcohol consumption.

Memorable Nights, Incredible Mornings. A woman sitting with her dog on a dock at sunrise.
Here’s a quick look:

There is a continuum of risk associated with weekly alcohol consumption where the risk of harm increases with each drink consumed. To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol, it is recommended that people living in Canada consider reducing their alcohol use.

See the full guidances  See the effects of alcohol on the body


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So what's a drink?

People’s idea of a drink can vary widely. A bartender using a shot glass will pour a very different sized drink than your friend who has just whipped up a batch of margaritas.

To help you follow Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, your drinks need to be standard ones. A standard drink looks like this:


Beer: 12oz or 341ml based on 5% alcohol content

Wine: 5oz or 142ml based on 12% alcohol content

Spirits: 1.5oz or 43ml based on 40% alcohol content

If you're the one pouring, take the Home Bartending Challenge and see how your skills measure up when it comes to serving a standard drink.


All Drinks are not Created Equal | Alcohol Content

Even the same type of drink in the same amount might be more than a standard drink because of alcohol content. Take beer, for example. The alcohol content can vary from 1.1 to 11 percent and up. That means the same amount of beer may or may not be equal to one standard drink (17 ml of pure alcohol).



 X-TRA LIGHT: 12oz/341ml | 1.1% - 2.5% alcohol | 2.5% ~ .3oz/9ml pure alcohol

 LIGHT: 12oz/341ml | 2.6% - 4% alcohol | 4% ~ .5oz/14ml pure alcohol

 REGULAR BEER: 12oz/341ml | 4.1% - 5.5% alcohol | 5.5% ~ .7oz/19ml pure alcohol

 STRONG:  12oz/341ml | 5.6% - 8.5% alcohol | 8.5% ~ 1oz/29ml pure alcohol

 X-TRA STRONG: 12oz/341ml | 8.6 % alcohol+ | 11% ~ 1.3oz/38ml pure alcohol


Try a Mocktail

Consider skipping the chaser and trying a spacer - a non-alcoholic or low alcohol drink that you have in between alcoholic ones.

How about whipping up one of these mocktails as your spacer? Watch the videos below for three delicious recipes and step-by-step instructions or check out our full library of Featured Mocktails at this link. 

The Real Deal on Alcohol | Myths and Facts

There’s a ton of information out there about drinking. Some of it’s accurate, some of it not so much. Here you’ll find some common myths about alcohol…and the facts.

Fact: You’d think so with all that mix but a standard drink has the same amount of alcohol, whether it's wine, beer or spirits.

Fact: Only time can sober you up because that's what your body needs to get rid of the alcohol. If you try a shower or coffee, you’ll just end up wet, wired and wasted.

Fact: This is definitely a myth. Women have less fluid in their bodies so when they drink, the concentration of alcohol in their blood is higher. They’ll feel the effects of alcohol faster and for longer. Women are also more likely to experience long-term health problems related to alcohol sooner than men.

Fact: Those fries at 3 a.m. might seem like a good idea if this was true but it’s not. While food does slow down how quickly your body absorbs alcohol, you'll still become drunk, just not as fast.

Fact: Like the fizzy stuff? Here’s something to consider. Coolers, sparkling wine and cocktails with soda enter the bloodstream at a faster rate than flat drinks. That means if your drinks are bubbly, you'll feel the effects of alcohol sooner.

Fact: The simple fact is you can get drunk if you drink. The type of alcohol doesn't matter - any kind, in any combination, affects you depending on its alcohol content.

Fact: Age may bring wisdom but not an increased tolerance for alcohol. As people get older, their bodies process alcohol more slowly so they may become more sensitive to its effects. Teens and young adults, on the other hand, may have their physical and mental development affected.



Keeping it Social │ Drinking Within the Guidelines

Looking for some ways to help you follow Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health? Here are some tips that can help.

 Eat while you drink.
Snack often, before and while you drink, to slow down how fast your body’s absorbing the alcohol being consumed. Your stomach will thank you in the morning. (Your head might too.)

 A standard drink size matters. 
Who says size doesn’t matter? Stick to a standard pour and take a pass on top ups so you know how much you’re really drinking.

 Water is your friend. 
Drink more...water, that is. Alcohol dehydrates you. Try a glass of water in between each drink.

 Sip slowly and savour. 
Chugging’s for amateurs. Sip slowly and savour. Enjoy your wine’s aroma and the taste of that single malt. And if you have a couple of non-drinking days each week, like the guidelines recommend, you might just have the extra funds to splurge on some top shelf products.

 Choose mixes without caffeine.
Think about taking a pass on alcohol mixed with energy drinks, especially the hand-mixed ones because they usually contain more caffeine than the pre-mixed kind. Why? Because caffeine in energy drinks can mask the effects of alcohol - you might end up feeling like you’re not drunk, but you are.


Combining Alcohol & Cannabis

Alcohol and cannabis might seem like similar products in their ability to provide a relaxing experience, however, combining these products together can pose a risk to users. When cannabis and alcohol are combined, or used within the same session, the effects can be unpredictable. For users of these products, this combination may create the following:

  • an increased and unpredictable level of impairment and intensified side effects.
  • an increased risk of experiencing short-term harms including injury, poor judgment or worse.
  • an increased risk of nausea or vomiting and potentially harmful level of dehydration. Alcohol can act as a diuretic and cannabis has the potential to exacerbate this effect resulting in an increased risk of dehydration.  


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