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Mar 13, 2006 09:55 AM

Expiration date of alcohol

  • f

Does anyone know if hard alcohol (rum, vodka, gin, etc.) will keep indefinitely?

I was just given a case of about 100 bottles (some opened, some unopened) which were bought about 5 years ago.


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  1. The unopened ones will be fine. Even some of the opened ones may be ok, or not, depending on how much oxidation has taken place. If it tastes like cardboard or wet paper I would throw it out. Its not going to hurt you to drink it, but the flavor may be off.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rl

      My high school biology professor told us that, unlike wine, distilled spirits stop "aging" once they are in the glass bottle, and can keep more or less indefinitely. I don't know if the same is true for liquor in plastic bottles.

    2. Lucky You! Just make sure the tops are on tight and they are fine forever. There was a discussion last year about this and some folks feel that some opened hard liquor "smoothes out" with age. Mostly from the slight evaporation of the alcohol. Just keep them in a dark relatively cool place. I have seen some hard liquor suffer from sun bleaching and being stored where it is too warm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JMF

        I'm one of those people. I have a fondness for buying obsolete whiskeys at estate sales. Maybe it's all in my mind, but they seem a little mellower. Two that seem really to have benefited by bottle aging are I.W. Harper and Evan Williams Red Label.

      2. It will pretty much keep indefinitely, especially unopened. If the tops on the open bottles weren't on tight, some of the alcohol might have evaporated which will change the taste. That should be your only concern though.

        1. I think I speak for all Hounds over 21-

          PARTY AT FE'S PLACE!!!!

          1. What everyone else said : store in a cool dark place. We have a bottle of inexpensive whiskey that my in-laws opened at the time of my husband's brit milah, 53 years ago. We enjoyed some more at our wedding 19 yrs. ago, the births of our two children, and their b'nai mitzvot, the most recent just 4 months ago. It has definitely aged well. I am hoping to be around to finish the bottle at their weddings!