What is a Dram? How Much is a Dram?

You’ll most often hear people talk about how they’re going to enjoy a dram of Scotch or pour themselves a wee dram, which is a unit of measure not often used in the United States.

It usually refers to a “small amount” but it actually has a definition according to the U.S. Customary System.

A US fluid dram is an eighth of a fluid ounce, 60 min (that’s short for minim, which is about a drop) or around 3.7 mL of liquid.

It is actually smaller than a teaspoon, which is measured as 80 min, so chances are someone is pouring themselves several drams of whisky. 🙂

7 thoughts on “What is a Dram? How Much is a Dram?

  1. Hi Jim I just started getting into whiskey, mostly bourbons. After a couple of months of drinking buffalo trace, evan williams, Woodford reserve and others on ice I am now drinking with a splash of water. I am interested in trying scotch. Should I start with blended or single malt. Peaty, low peat, or no peat.

    Thanks Jim

  2. I am a native Scot, presently residing in the US. My daughter has a friend, who is employed by a real estate company in Los Angeles. She cleans and prepares houses for sale after the family of the occupant has removed any items of value, furniture, etc they wish to have. Recently, she asked my daughter if she wanted a bottle of Scotch, which she did not want, retrieved from an elderly gentleman’s home. My daughter, who is not a Scotch drinker, accepted it, then did some investigation. The bottle is a Haig & Haig “Dimple” from 1941. My daughter contacted a dealer, who advised her the bottle is valued at $800, if intact. Unfortunately, (perhaps not!) the “Customs&Excise” stamp has disintegrated, leaving perhaps 1/3 of the original stamp, and so my daughter brought me the bottle to see if I would like it. Although I am not a Scotch drinker, I felt this was something I had to sample. In the many weeks since I received this wonderful gift, I have sampled one or two. The only thing added to a wee dram, is a little room temperature water – NO ice!! – a tip I remember from the unwritten laws of whiskey. I am astounded at the wonderful flavor, smoothness and peat fragrance, and I am certainly tempted to now imbibe in an occasional Scotch instead of the summer G&T.

  3. I had never heard the term dram until today. Very interesting. I am not a consumer of alcohol, but Scotch is very interesting. I may have to try a dramatic, since it is smaller than a teaspoon.

  4. Dear Jim: The traditional, and clearly the TRUE definition of a “dram”, is: An amount of whisky that the giver is comfortable giving, which makes the receiver happy to receive. Both parties must be happy with what’s poured! (Okay — really, a dram for any whiskyphile is about 1 to 1.5 ounces. Forget the US standard — it’s not made for whisky lovers!!.)

  5. You know how nice Scotch is however you should try Irish too. We are making it as long if not longer than Scotland. Our PM. IN THE 2ND world war ruined the industry. We had to use ingredients for foodstuff and so Scottish whisky filled the void.

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