The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of an average volume of alcohol consumption and drinking patterns on all-cause mortality. The sample (n = 5,072) was drawn from the 1984 National Alcohol Survey, representative of the US population living in households. Follow-up time was until the end of 1995, with 532 people deceased during this period. The authors found a significant influence of drinking alcohol on mortality with a J-shaped association for males and an insignificant relation of the same shape for females. When the largest categories of equivalent average volume of consumption were divided into people with and without heavy drinking occasions, serving as an indicator of drinking pattern, this differentiation proved important in predicting mortality. Light to moderate drinkers had higher mortality risks when they reported heavy drinking occasions (defined by either eight drinks per occasion or getting drunk at least monthly). Similarly, when the category of exdrinkers was divided into people who did or did not report heavy drinking occasions in the past, people with heavy drinking occasions had a higher mortality risk. Finally, indicating alcohol problems in the past was related to higher mortality risk. Results emphasized the importance of routinely including measures of drinking patterns into future epidemiologic studies on alcohol-related mortality.