INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: The aim of the current study is to look for differences in drink choice and drinking location between a recent heavy drinking occasion (RHDO) and usual low-risk occasions among those that recently had both types of drinking occasion. DESIGN AND METHODS: Seven hundred and seventy-four respondents to a population-based survey reported having a RHDO [8 + Australian standard drinks (ASD) for females, 11 + ASD for males] in the past six months also reported that their usual drinking occasion in at least one location involved less than five ASD. Drink choice and drinking locations for the RHDO and usual low-risk occasions were compared using confidence intervals. RESULTS: The RHDO was more likely than usual low-risk occasions to occur away from licensed premises (59%), despite a higher percentage of respondents reporting drinking at a pub, bar or nightclub on a RHDO (28%) than on a usual low-risk night (12%). A higher percentage of respondents nominated bottled spirits (33%) as their main drink for their RHDO, with 11% primarily drinking bottled spirits on a usual low-risk occasion; the converse was true for bottled wine (20% and 33%, respectively). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: While the high proportion of RHDOs that occurred at least in part at pubs or nightclubs was not surprising, a high proportion also occur in private homes. Previously found links between heavy drinking and beer may be a reflection of the usual drink choice of heavier drinkers, rather a choice specific to a particularly heavy occasion.