Life Style

How to find out when your opened alcohol bottle is bad


The year 2020 was like no other. So far, 2021 is also going to be similar. Cultural institutions are closed, as are restaurants and bars. It’s been a long time since the summer break, during which the shops and restaurants were allowed to open in the meantime. Nevertheless, everyone tries to make the best of it and so you can now meet for a walk or in a small circle for a drink in your own four walls. Home bars have been increased – the sale of spirits has increased accordingly in the past year.

In most cases, however, bottles of alcohol are not drunk in a single evening. If you only drink one glass in the evening, the question arises how fast you should drink the opened bottle of alcohol. Or to put it another way: When does alcohol go bad?

Alcohol differs from other foods in terms of its shelf life. Eventually it gets bad, but it doesn’t always get bad in the same way. Aniseed drink mixologist Jane Danger, Pernod Ricard, told that drinks 40 percent or more won’t spoil in ways that could make you sick. They might just be inedible.

How and when alcohol goes bad ultimately depends on the type of alcohol you drink

“In general [wird Alkohol durch] Oxidation bad. The taste changes so that it is less intense with all spirits, ”explained Diana Novak. She is the state director of craft spirits training at Palm Bay International. As long as distilled spirits (e.g. rum, brandy, gin, tequila) are sealed airtight, they cannot go bad. Fortified, wine-based alcohols like vermouth or sherry “have a much shorter lifespan once opened.” They can change in taste and color, explained Diana Novak.

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Cream-based liqueurs also have a different shelf life than the types mentioned so far. Once opened, Novak explains, cream-based liqueurs change their color and taste significantly, although they are usually paired with distilled spirits. There is also the possibility of coagulation or the separation of the ingredients. “I would recommend checking them monthly. This is how you can make sure that the consistency stays the same. In general, I recommend a shelf life of nine to 15 months for cream liqueurs after opening, ”says Novak. There are also sugar-based liqueurs. Novak stated that these types of alcoholic beverages can experience the same changes in color, taste and the possibility of clotting.

When alcohol has gone bad, you can tell by its color, taste, and / or consistency. For example, vermouth, especially rosso vermouth, starts to taste like Worcestershire sauce when it goes bad, Novak explained. As a rule, Rosso wormwood is light, dry and typically has a bitter taste. Sherry, on the other hand, oxidizes when it has gone bad, cream liqueurs curdle and sugar-based liqueurs change their color.

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After eating spoiled food, you can get food poisoning, feel very uncomfortable, or even sick. Corrupted alcohol doesn’t have the same effect. Even if you can’t tell whether a spirit has expired or not, according to Novak, in the worst case scenario, you will experience a bad hangover the following day. Unless you’re drinking cream-based liquor that has curdled. If so, Novak explains, you’re likely to have a slight upset stomach.

How long should you keep alcohol after it has been opened?

As far as cream-based liqueurs are concerned, Novak explained in an interview with Insider, they can be kept for a maximum of 18 months if properly stored. “It really just matters to check them on a monthly basis,” she said. “My personal rule of thumb is that about eight months after opening it, I try to inspect and test the bottle on a monthly basis. So I can be sure that it is still durable. “


Sugar-based liqueurs can spoil even faster. At a one-year mark, Novak says, you should watch out for changes regularly. From then on, oxidation and coagulation can set in. With some alcoholic beverages, you will notice a change in taste after a week, such as sherry, emphasized Novak. It’s not that the alcohol “goes bad” per se. Rather, the taste just becomes flat.

You should also keep an eye on an open bottle of vermouth. Novak explained that these types of spirits can retain their taste and color for up to three months after opening, provided they are well made and have a higher alcohol content. However, she points out, whether sweet or dry, her rule of thumb is to check the bottle regularly about a month and a half after opening it.

This article was translated from English and edited by Julia Knopf. You can read the original here.


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