If you’re around a lot of wine drinkers, you’re probably familiar with how wine ages over time. However, what about liquor? Liquor shelf life is something that even the most knowledgeable drinkers may be unaware of. As it turns out, different types come with different rules…
Liquor Shelf Life: Can They Go Bad?
The first group to look at are your basic liquors. These include things like rum, whisky, vodka, tequila, gin, and brandy. Due to the fact that these contain no sugars, they’re some of the most stable liquor choices. This means they tend to have a very long liquor shelf life.
In fact, unopened bottles basically have an indefinite shelf life. However, aging them won’t change the flavor profiles like with wine. A 20-year old bottle of vodka will still taste the same as a 2-day old bottle. Once these bottles are opened, they may in fact begin to lose flavor as they age.
Liqueurs, like amaretto and schnapps, fall on the opposite side of liquor shelf life. Many of these drinks contain ingredients like sugar, which can spoil over time. As a result, these options tend to have a much shorter window for how long you can store them.
Still, unopened bottles can last for months, and even a few years if stored correctly. However, if you see things like sugar crystallization and discoloration, then it’s probably time to get a new bottle. For liqueurs with dairy in them, they tend to last even less, at only around 18 months.
Still, alcohol is often only one part of a person’s drink. There’s also mixers to consider. How do their shelf lives stack up when compared to the average liquor shelf life? As you might expect, they don’t last nearly as long. Most mixers have expatriation dates, which should be followed to ensure you don’t drink anything that’ll make you sick.
Once you open a mixer, it’s best to refrigerate them. However, you should use mixers like club soda or tonic water soon after you open them. After all, the fizz and carbonation is a big part of these mixers. That’s why the little single-serving bottles are handy, as they let you make your drinks without wasting any soda.