The constant dilemma - should I finish the bottle of this delicious, rare, or special Whisky or keep it? But what if it goes bad? Where do I store my booze to keep it safe (not from myself, of course)? We feel you. And we have the answers.
Can Spirits go bad?Distilled Spirits (Whisk(e)y, Rum, Vodka, Gin, Cognac etc.) cannot go bad in a sealed, unopened bottle so their shelf life is basically indefinite.
But once the bottle is open, the Spirit interacts with oxygen and its flavor changes or deteriorates because some of the alcohol evaporates, more so when there is less than a half bottle left. The exceptions are agave based Spirits (for instance Tequila or Mezcal) that start deteriorating the moment you open them and should therefore be drunk fast - in a couple of months.
So there is no deadline when to get rid of your favorite drinks, you can put them in a smaller bottle and save them from oxygen, or in the infinity bottle once there’s only a tiny bit left.
But our advice is: get rid of them (e.g. drink them) when you feel like drinking them - the Spirits are there to be enjoyed and shared, not kept on the shelf.
What about Liqueurs and cordials?Liqueurs and cordials will eventually go bad. Liqueurs are distilled-spirit based, but sweetened and with added flavors, such as fruit, spices or herbs and will last up to 6 months after opening.
Everyone loves cream - also microbes, so cream Liqueurs should be kept in the fridge to extend their shelf life. Even so, you should throw that bottle of Bailey’s or Kahlua away if it’s been open and in the fridge for more than a year.
Sugar based Liqueurs can last at least a year, but curdling, discoloration or crystalized sugar at the bottom of the bottle are definitely not a good sign so get rid of it.
Vermouth belongs in the Martini… and the fridgeWine is produced via fermentation meaning it’s alive. And can go bad. Fortified Wines (such as Vermouth, Port and Sherry) have a distilled Spirit added, but they’re still Wine and you should treat them as such.
Once opened and exposed to oxygen, they deteriorate in flavor (making for a pretty stale drink) and go bad quickly. You should keep them tightly sealed and in the fridge and drink them in a couple of weeks. (Hope this helps next time you can’t decide whether to have or not to have another Martini.)
Can expired alcohol make you sick?Alcoholic drinks are produced differently and with different ingredients, so their shelf lives vary.
Beer and Wine can go bad and can upset your stomach, making the drinking experience unpleasant, but not dangerous.
The dusted bottles of Spirits on your shelf cannot expire to a point to cause sickness, they just lose taste and flavor eventually. But no matter the type or expiration status - drinking booze may lead to unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, headache and dehydration, commonly also known as hangover. Let’s leave it here, and cheers!