Reductions in cravings have been associated with improved recovery from alcohol and other drug use problems. Self-report assessments of cravings provide a way of monitoring progress over the course of treatment particularly in residential settings. There is a need to develop brief craving measures suitable for repeat administration. The aim of the study was to assess the reliability and validity of a six-item version of the Desires for Alcohol Questionnaire (DAQ-6). In study 1 exploratory factor analysis involving 710 participants attending residential treatment revealed two factors: 'expectancy of negative reinforcement' and 'strong desires and intentions'. In study 2 confirmatory factor analysis replicated this factor structure in an independent sample of 116 participants. Both studies provided evidence for convergent and discriminant validity of the DAQ-6 when compared to other measures. The DAQ-6 shows promise as a brief self-report measure of cravings but the utility of the separate subscales in treatment contexts requires further research.