What The Lines On A Solo Cup Mean

A Party Staple

No party scene in a movie is complete without a red solo cup in hand – even when it’s secretly just juice – but do we even remember life before the red solo cup made its way onto the scene?

I can say with confidence that I certainly don’t, but the question here is: why are red solo cups smooth in our minds, but not in reality?

Synonymous with drinking

And why do we associate them so heavily with illicit uses of alcohol, rather than the classier or more casual uses of the drink?

In reality, those cups have three little lines at their widest part, and they aren’t just for measuring out a shot when you want a sweet taste of the alcohol somebody brought!

Myths have been spread

Tons of online news outlets took the time to make a small blurb about the incident in response to the spreading of the solo cup measurement myth that circulated many years ago; the “official” story came out waaaay back in June 2012:

Solo Cup Myths

Originally, it was thought that the three lines measured different alcohol – the first line was a classic one ounce shot of liquor, while the second was five ounces of wine and the third? 

A full twelve ounce beer! 

The Truth Comes Out

But the company that creates the cups decided that was “just a coincidence,” and said that the lines in the cup were meant for functionality and grip! So it turns out the lines in a red solo cup are simply to help you hold the cup itself, and any ability to measure your drink is purely an accident?

There’s no official size for a shot of alcohol

But first, let’s go back a bit and clarify something; there’s no official measurement for a shot in the United States, only acknowledgement of the alcohol proof needing to be at 40% in order for a drink to be considered legitimate liquor. 

In the state of Utah, however, the measurement of a shot is actually 1 and a half ounces! 

That means the idea of the one ounce shot measurement in the solo cup can immediately be debunked for that reason alone – at least in Utah. 

But what about the other two measurement lines? Has anyone tried to officially prove those?

For some alcohol, it’s hard to say

As for the wine, there’s no specific measurement on that, so it’s just a matter of perspective for how much wine you’d want to consume – this is where the “proof” of your alcohol may come into play. 

But for the twelve ounce beer, it’s already set for you! 

12 oz. Beer

From personal experience, the twelve ounce beer seems to fit very well in the red solo cup – but I always see it going over the lines, rather than lining up with the last of them. 

Maybe it’s just me, though, so you’ve got the chance to prove me wrong next time you’re pouring a cup of beer for yourself or a friend! 

The Lines Can Still Be Useful

That said, I really think it’s not a coincidence that some things can be measured with the red solo cup but others can’t! 

The “Solo” company actually reported that, despite the words of the manufacturer, you can actually measure things like chocolate syrup using the first cup line only! 

It’s possible that these kinds of cups were created because of the strangeness of trying to put a syrup into a styrofoam cup for the sake of mixing it with dairy – mix ins are always put up to the second line of any plastic cup when making a milkshake, with the syrup going in first. 

What Are The Other Lines For?

But that really makes me wonder why there was the need for two additional lines – perhaps for the adventurous, or those likeyself who like a good caramel fudge milkshake some days? 

Who knows honestly? 

I’m sure the company has a ton of different ideas about the where and why those little lines on the red solo cup were created so long ago. 

The point is, you’ll be getting a very inaccurate measurement for your alcohol – unless someone’s using a breathalyzer later!

Try experimenting yourself

A night of fun can always start with the group’s best effort to discover the measurements that can be found in a red solo cup, or by making the cup the focal point of a brand new game! Enjoy your time as part of an epic party, and never forget how far the red solo cup has gotten you!

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