Skip to Content

Can Alcohol Go Bad

Can Alcohol Go Bad

Can Alcohol Go Bad

Alcohol can go bad if it is not stored properly. Once opened, alcohol should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent it from going bad. If alcohol is stored in a hot, sunny place, it will spoil more quickly. If stored in a cold, dark place, it will last longer.

As you should already know, it depends on the type of alcohol you are talking about. Distillates, when properly stored, have an indefinite shelf life. Spirits such as vodka and whiskey have an indefinite shelf life, even when opened, although you may notice that the flavor starts to fade after about a year. Most primary (also called “base”) liquors, such as whiskey, brandy, rum, gin, tequila, and vodka, have a near-infinite shelf life if left unopened. If stored properly, a bottle of perfume can last for years without noticeable changes in flavor or strength.

To learn about How To Preserve Food, check out my article where I cover everything you need to know.

It is important to note that the less alcohol in an open bottle, the faster the alcohol will run out. Even if you open the bottle and let it sit, it won’t expire, but the alcohol may start to evaporate as it oxidizes. As for spirits, after opening the bottle, the alcohol will begin to evaporate and the liquor will lose some of its charge.

By the way, if you’re interested in How To Preserve Vape Juice, check out my article on that.

Once you open a bottle of liquor, the oxygen will react slowly over time, so it may eventually lose its flavor or weaken as the alcohol evaporates. Without the interaction of oxygen with the drink, the contents will remain virtually indistinguishable from the moment of bottling, even years or decades later. Exposure to oxygen over time can also affect the taste of the liquor and, in some cases, cause it to deteriorate.

Find out can alcohol go bad

When only a small amount of alcohol is left in the bottle, it undergoes more oxidation, which according to Colin Spolman softens the flavor. Oxidation is an accelerated process when less than a third of the alcohol is left on the bottle. If alcohol is stored properly, this aging process can lead to improved taste and a more enjoyable drink.

Type of alcoholShelf life
Vodka and whiskeyIndefinite shelf life
Wine1-2 years past expiry date
BeerUp to 6 months
Kinds of alcohol and their shelf life.

Many beers, if above 9%, can age fairly well if left unopened for a few months, but try to drink them after opening so they don’t lose their delicious carbonation. To best protect the flavor profile from oxidation, if you have half a bottle or less left, you should drink it within a year, and if you have less than a quarter of a bottle, you have about three or four months before it becomes questionable. If stored for a long time, it will become moldy and stale, so keep an open bottle of vermouth for only two to three months.

If you have a liqueur that has been around for several years, it’s always a good idea to taste it before mixing it with other ingredients. If the bottle has been opened for some time but does not show physical signs of spoilage, check the contents before mixing it with other ingredients.

Always keep liquor bottles tightly closed and never leave the spout out overnight, this will also cause it to evaporate faster. Even if your bottle isn’t on the verge of breaking, it’s best to store it strictly according to their storage guidelines.

If you have a special bottle that you’ve opened and want to save the leftover liquor, Serious Eats authorities recommend pouring the leftover liquor into a smaller glass so you can limit your exposure to oxygen. If an open bottle of liquor is nearing its expiration date, you can always use it at happy hour and get a discount.

Once a bottle is opened, some perfumes go bad, while others lose their character over the course of months or years. However, as mentioned earlier, once opened, most liquor starts to go bad, and then the heart of your bar cart begins to slowly die with it.

Most open (and well closed) liqueurs should last anywhere from six months to a year (or even longer), depending on the alcohol content and preservatives. The shelf life of open fortified wines such as dry and sweet vermouths of open fortified wines such as dry and sweet vermouths is longer than that of ordinary wines, but it does not even come close to the days of liqueurs. While some liqueurs and liqueurs can stay intact for a year or two, in most cases sugar and other preservatives allow them to go bad after only a few months.

While it lasts longer than regular wine, it, like its cousin Cabernet, can turn into vinegar. Sherry, on the other hand, oxidizes when it goes bad, cream liqueurs thicken, and sugar-based liqueurs change color.

You will know if your drink has gone bad if you notice any change in color or smell, even if this is rare. If your wine bottle is open, you will know for sure when your wine will go bad because it will start to taste like vinegar.

Yes, wine can go bad, but there are many factors that go into how much it goes bad and when it goes bad. Unopened wine can spoil, but this depends on how it is stored (called storage; temperature and light are important factors), the type of wine, and how long it is stored.

A good rule of thumb for cheaper uncorked white wine is to keep the lower value in the cellar for no more than one or two years; an unopened bottle of red can be stored in the cellar for about two to three years. The wine can be a little trickier, but as a general rule, if a bottle cost $30 or less, it was likely to have been consumed within a year or so of purchase. When it comes to a sealed bottle, most wine can last up to 10 years if stored on its side (to help the cork shrink or form holes) in a cool, dark place.

However, if the bottle is not opened, your champagne will last for a full decade if stored in a dark, cool place. While a liquor can stay good for a considerable amount of time, there are certain steps you can take to get the freshest flavor out of any bottle. Opened liquor will keep for about a year or two before spoiling, which means it starts to lose color and flavor.

How long can you keep alcohol before it goes bad?

When the liquor is bottled up, it is stopped from getting expired until unsealed. Once the bottle is opened, it should be used within 5–9 months for better taste. However, you can still drink expired alcohol, but its content will be reduced.

Can you get sick from old alcohol?

You could not get sick from old alcohol. If you consume liquor that has been unsealed for more than one year, you will almost certainly notice a change in flavor. Flat beer has an unpleasant flavor and can make you sick, but rotten wine has a vinegary or nutty flavor but isn’t dangerous.