Why is a Glass of Whisky called a Dram? - The Glenlivet UK (2024)

Why is a Glass of Whisky called a Dram? - The Glenlivet UK (1)

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There’s more than one way to order a glass of whisky. And most times, we don’t call it a shot. A nip, a sip, a toot or tot. Even a snifter. But the most popular phrase in the world of whisky is a dram.

Here we share what a dram actually means and how this term came about. So next time you’re ordering The Glenlivet, you can do it in style.

Where does the term ‘dram’ come from?

A ‘dram’ originates from the term ‘drakhme’, the Ancient Greek name for coins or treasure. The word later evolved to ‘dragma’ or ‘dragme’ in Latin during the Roman era, describing the weight of the coin, before being translated through Old French and Old English.

During this time the meaning shifted to a weight of medicine, which we know from Shakespeare’s reference to a dram of poison in Romeo and Juliet.

“Let me have a dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins that the life-weary take may fall dead.”

Romeo and Juliet

At some point over the years, it came to Scotland and was used to measure liquid. And with whisky being the most popular drink, it didn’t take long for a wee dram of whisky to become a well-known phrase.

How much liquid is in a dram?

The amount of whisky you get in a dram depends on where you’re ordering. Some bartenders will pour what they fancy, whereas others have a slightly stricter measurement in mind.

If you order a dram in Scotland, you’ll likely get a bartender’s pour or a large . But elsewhere in the UK, it tends to be either a 25ml or 35ml serving. In Ireland you can expect closer to the 35ml range.

Across the pond, you might get more lucky. A standard pour of a dram, otherwise known as a large jigger, is often 1.5 ounces, equivalent to just over 44mls.

What is a “wee dram”?

The endearing phrase “wee dram” is a Scottish term that is simply used to refer to a single measure of whisky. This is typically around 25 to 35 millilitres, although a wee dram of whisky is often poured quite liberally! The word “wee” is Scottish slang for “small” or “little,” and so asking for a ‘wee dram’ is essentially a request for a small drink of whisky.

How many drams are in a bottle of whisky?

Depending on how you measure your dram will depend on how many drams you get from your bottle. The standard size bottle of whisky in the UK is 700ml, so assuming you measure a wee dram at 25ml, then you’ll get 28 drams. If you go for a larger pour of 35ml, you’ll get 20 drams. In the US, you’ll get a tiny bit more, with standard bottles being 750ml.

How to order a dram of whisky

As we know, there’s no strict global measurement when it comes to a dram so your best bet is to order a ‘wee’ or ‘hearty’ dram for a smaller or larger drink.

If you’re ordering a dram of whisky in a bar, it’s going to come neat. That means a room temperature serve with no ice; a great choice when you want to really taste those individual notes.

But if you want a chilled drink, you’re better off ordering a scotch on the rocks. This will get you a dram of whisky with ice which can help to elevate the spirit’s flavours at a cooler temperature.

Other variations include with water, which dilutes the whisky’s burn, and with a twist, which includes a lemon or orange peel garnish for extra citrus notes.

It’s also good to know your whisky. And by that we mean the bottle you like to drink from. You’ve got lots of different types of whisky to choose from, but if we’re choosing, it has to be scotch. Scotch can only be made in Scotland, so if you’re ordering a dram as the Scots do, you’re better off going for a smooth single malt like our collection at The Glenlivet. Find out more about how to drink whisky your way and check out the best whisky for beginners.

Of course you don’t have to go straight. If a dram of whisky is too strong for you, or if you fancy a mixed drink, why not try a whisky co*cktail instead? Try a classic Old Fashioned that accentuates the whisky’s flavour with bitters and sugar. Or mix things up with a fruity drink such as a Scotch Mule or Pineapple Smash.

Now that you’re well versed in drams, you can go and order yourself a whisky. But whilst you’re here, why not learn more about the world of whisky with our go-to guides? Discover how scotch is made and how to taste whisky at home.

What Does Whisky Taste Like?READ MORE Our Rare Whiskies – The Best of The GlenlivetREAD MOREThe Best Beginner’s Whisky GuideREAD MORE
Why is a Glass of Whisky called a Dram? - The Glenlivet UK (2024)

FAQs

Why is a Glass of Whisky called a Dram? - The Glenlivet UK? ›

And it's in Scotland that the word dram was first used to describe a glass of whisky. It isn't an official measurement; a dram is most often referred to as “any amount of whisky that you could swallow in one mouthful.” The word originates from the ancient Greek word drakhme, used in reference to coins.

Why is whisky called a dram? ›

A 'dram' originates from the term 'drakhme', the Ancient Greek name for coins or treasure. The word later evolved to 'dragma' or 'dragme' in Latin during the Roman era, describing the weight of the coin, before being translated through Old French and Old English.

What is a dram glass? ›

A standard pour of a dram, otherwise known as a large jigger, is often 1.5 ounces, equivalent to just over 44mls.

What is a dram? ›

dram \DRAM\ noun. 1 a : a unit of avoirdupois weight equal to 1/16 ounce. b : a unit of apothecaries' weight equal to 1/8 ounce. c : a unit of liquid capacity equal to 1/8 fluid ounce. 2 a : a small portion of something to drink.

Is a dram equal to a shot? ›

So a shot of whiskey is 1.5 ounces of whiskey. Normally we say dram for whiskey instead of shot. A dram is anywhere from 20 to 40 ml, as the international standard says 28 ml but the bar I always go to give 40ml. A shot is more for a pub where you gulp in a go which others had answered professional about the volume.

What does dram stand for alcohol? ›

Historically, the term “dram shop” referred to any establishment where alcohol was sold; a dram was a measure of alcohol.

What drink is dram? ›

There are lots of names for a measure of whisky. They include: a nip, a toot, a tot, a snifter, and a wee dram. But the most common name for a measure of whisky is a dram.

What do you call a whiskey glass? ›

Tumbler. The traditional whiskey glass you're probably most familiar with: the rocks glass, the old-fashioned glass, and the lowball. Each distinctive name corresponds to its various uses. This type of glass is ideal for variations: neat, on the rocks, or for whiskey co*cktails like a Manhattan.

Is a dram of whiskey good for you? ›

Whiskey can temporarily widen your blood vessels. In small amounts, this can help clear mucus congestion in your sinuses and chest, which lets your body better deal with sickness and infection. This effect may also relieve other symptoms of a cold or flu, like coughing or wheezing.

What is the price of dram glass? ›

1Dram (5ml) Glass Vial Amber color pack of 100 pieces

₹549.00 Current price is: ₹549.00.

Why is dram called dram? ›

“DRAM” stands for “dynamic random access memory,” and it's a specific type of RAM (random access memory).

What is dram in simple words? ›

DRAM stands for “dynamic random access memory.” This is a type of RAM (random access memory) which all computers have.

What is dram slang for? ›

A dram is a small measure of whiskey. [mainly Scottish] ...a dram of whiskey. Would you care for a dram? Synonyms: measure, shot [informal], drop, glass More Synonyms of dram.

How much whiskey is in a dram? ›

The measurement of a dram can vary by country, typically ranging from 25ml to 35ml. This contrasts with a standard shot, usually about 45ml. Understanding these differences enhances your appreciation of Jameson Irish Whiskey, whether you're savouring it neat as a dram or mixing it into a whiskey co*cktail.

What is a serving of whiskey called? ›

Ah, the dram. This delightful term emanates from Scotland, where it's used to refer to a single serving of whisky.

What size is a tot of whisky? ›

Called a Tot glass because it holds exactly the minimum legal serving for a single measure of whisky because this measure is universally known as a 'Tot'.

Where did the unit dram come from? ›

A dram is both a unit of weight and a measure of liquid capacity. In either case, it's a small amount. Dram came from French through Latin and ultimately from the Greek word drachmē, meaning “handful.” As a unit of weight, a dram is 1/16 of an ounce (and an ounce is 1/16 of a pound).

How much liquid is a dram? ›

A fluid dram equals one-eighth of a fluid ounce (the equivalent to two average-size thimbles), so there would be 128 drams per pint and 1,024 drams per gallon. So, there are 32 drams in a gill.

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