Does Alcohol Go Bad? Here’s What You Need To Know.

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I like to indulge in a little adult beverage from time to time.

From the looks of my cabinet and fridge, you’d think I was a party every night type of girl.

I’ve got a small liquor store up in my house, with just about every type of alcohol represented — some in duplicate and triplicate. LOL!

Cleaning out my cabinets really got me wondering, how long should I be keeping bottles of liquor and wine before tossing them out?

Does Alcohol Have An Expiration Date?

The short answer is, not really — but kinda.

The flavor of the drink may change, some may say for the better while others insist for the worse, but the safety of the drink won’t be compromised.

Anthony Caporale, Director of Spirits Education at the Institute of Culinary Education

The true liquors — vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, plain moonshine — remain shelf stable indefinitely.

Just keep the lids on them, and you should be good to go.

Their high alcohol content helps prevent the booze from going bad.

That’s actually one of the main reasons we started drinking alcohol: it prevents the growth of dangerous microorganisms, so drinks that contained alcohol lasted longer than other beverages before refrigeration and modern preservatives.

Anthony Caporale, Director of Spirits Education at the Institute of Culinary Education

What about good ol’ beer and wine?

Well, obviously, beer and sparkling wines can go flat after you open them.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to toss them out.

You can use them in your cooking — think beer bread.

Wine doesn’t always get better with age — after it’s opened, that is.

It will actually develop a tangy vinegar taste if opened — uncorked — for too long.

It’s kinda gross, and you would probably be better off tossing it.

Again, contrary to popular belief, screw caps are your friend here, as they form a very reliable seal, while natural corks are much more likely to fail and let the wine react with air.

Anthony Caporale, Director of Spirits Education at the Institute of Culinary Education

You want to drink opened cans and bottles of beer and wine within 24 hours after opening them to preserve their integrity.

Now, UNOPENED and in the fridge, beer can last you a couple years.

Wine is kind of a crap shoot. It won’t really go bad, but the flavor might get a little off.

Once it’s opened, taste it. If it still has a great flavor, you are fine to drink it.

A little trick I’ve learned with older bottles of wine — opened or not — if you use an aerator — like this one — it really does help improve the flavor.


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