It turns out that the shape of the glass you’re using has alot to do with how much alcohol you’ll pour into it for a”normal” drink and thus with how much alcohol you’ll bedrinking. According to a study printed in the BritishMedical Journal, people pour 20-30% more alcohol into short,wide glasses than they do into tall, narrow ones of the samevolume, but they wrongly believe that tall glasses hold more.

Researchers studied 198 college students and 86 bartendersfrom a large city in the United States. After severalpractice pours, half the students were given tall, slenderglasses and half were given short, wide glasses. Both shapesheld the same volume. They were then asked to pour astandard “shot” of alcohol for four mixed drinks (vodkatonic, rum and Coke, whiskey on the rocks, and gin andtonic). Each bartender was also asked to pour the same fourdrinks. Both students and bartenders poured more into short,wide glasses than into tall, slender glasses.

The reason for the difference, economist Brian Wansinkspeculates, is because people perceive equally sizedvertical lines as longer than horizontal ones. He says,”People generally estimate tall glasses as holding moreliquid than wide ones of the same volume. They also focustheir pouring attention on the height of the liquid they arepouring and insufficiently compensate for its width.”

This is important to know if you’re giving a New Year?s Eveparty. Be sure to pack away your short glassware and onlyput out your tall glasses?that way, you?ll save money onliquor and have fewer drunks to cope with.

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