The answer, it seems, depends on many factors. Gender for example, and also when you ask(ed) the drinkers. A report in the journal Addiction, (Volume 101, Issue 10, pages 1428–1437, October 2006) examined the 1979, 1995 and 2000 US National Alcohol Surveys, and found that :
“The mean reported number of drinks to feel drunk declined significantly between each survey and was significantly lower for women. Considerable variation was also found within surveys and was explained partially by available variables. Volume of alcohol and heavy drinking occasions were associated positively with the number of drinks to feel drunk.”
In the latest survey (2000) the number of drinks to feel drunk was roughly 6.5 for men and around 4.5 for women. Sadly, the abstract of the paper doesn’t specify another important factor; viz. what, exactly, were the drinks?
[Image taken from page 158 of ‘Hood’s Own: or, Laughter from Year to Year’, 1855, courtesy The British Library]