OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between adolescent risky single occasion drinking (RSOD) and gender, age, and the relative age position of students within their class. METHOD: A cross-sectional national representative sample of 7088 from 8th to 10th graders in Switzerland (mean age 14.6; SD = 0.94) as part of the ESPAD international study was analysed using hierarchical linear modelling. RESULTS: Being male, older than the class average and a member of older classes (on average) was associated with a higher RSOD frequency. Additionally, interactions between student and class level were found. The higher the mean class age the greater the difference in RSOD between boys and girls, and the lower the impact on RSOD of the relative age position in a class. CONCLUSIONS: In early and mid-adolescence, prevention efforts should try to impede the modelling of alcohol use of older classmates, whereas in late adolescence gender-specific motives for RSOD should be taken into account.