Expiry date of alcoholic drink after the bottle has been opened

45
11
Joined Jan 15, 2015
Is there such thing as "expired date" of alcoholic drink after the bottle has been opened?

I have couple of small bottles of vodka, cognac, and pastis, which I used to have experiment with food long time ago.

Making lobster sauce was one of them.

But, again, that was quite long time ago, almost 5 years, and since then I have never touched it.

I store them in dry cool cupboard without any kind of special or whatnot, just let them stand there :)

Note that I don't drink alcohol because I will easily get headache :)

Use it for making sauce is ok.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:
150
10
Joined Apr 17, 2015
As far as I know there is no legally established expiration date to such things however

- hard alcohols will lose their alcohol over time

- liqueurs will eventually get bugs

So I'd throw them out about a month after opening.

I seldom drink alcohol because when I did, I did not stop, and it became a problem.
 
Last edited:
1,086
39
Joined Jun 6, 2007
products having a alcohol content above 20% (40 proof) are self preserving i.e. they will last almost for ever.

The taste profile may change after opening though.

Luc H.
 
150
10
Joined Apr 17, 2015
Luc, you are correct, however alcohol evaporates more readily than water thus if the bottle is left open, or is substantially empty it will lose potency over time.  I am not sure how much this matters for cooking, but it DOES matter if you are drinking it straight, and DOES matter if you are trying to get drunk.
 
1,086
39
Joined Jun 6, 2007
 
Luc, you are correct, however alcohol evaporates more readily than water thus if the bottle is left open, or is substantially empty it will lose potency over time.  I am not sure how much this matters for cooking, but it DOES matter if you are drinking it straight, and DOES matter if you are trying to get drunk.
Hypothetically speaking, yes alcohol evaporates more quickly than water but in reality, alcohol won't readily evaporate away (at room temperature) from an unsealed yet corked/recapped bottle which is what I assume everybody does.  (I doubt the OP or anyone leaves his bottles literally unopened in his cupboard)

Luc H.
 

cerise

Banned
1,008
33
Joined Jul 5, 2013
 
Is there such thing as "expired date" of alcoholic drink after the bottle has been opened?

I have couple of small bottles of vodka, cognac, and pastis, which I used to have experiment with food long time ago.

Making lobster sauce was one of them.

But, again, that was quite long time ago, almost 5 years, and since then I have never touched it.

I store them in dry cool cupboard without any kind of special or whatnot, just let them stand there :)

Note that I don't drink alcohol because I will easily get headache :)

Use it for making sauce is ok.

Thanks.
I'd like to know more about the booze-y lobster sauce./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
 
965
86
Joined Apr 4, 2012
I don't know about boozy lobster sauce but one of my favorite guilty pasta pleasures is James Beard's pasta with smoked salmon in a sauce made of cream, butter and scotch.

It is delicious and I never, never make it anymore because of the calories. I'm not even much of a scotch fan and I love it.
 

cerise

Banned
1,008
33
Joined Jul 5, 2013
 
I don't know about boozy lobster sauce but one of my favorite guilty pasta pleasures is James Beard's pasta with smoked salmon in a sauce made of cream, butter and scotch.

It is delicious and I never, never make it anymore because of the calories. I'm not even much of a scotch fan and I love it.
Reminds me of a dish I had at a restaurant long ago - pasta w/ smoked salmon, vodka, cream and dill.
 
4,474
421
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Closed container is the key word.
A bottle of anything sitting unused on a bar back shelf in a dusty honky tonk in Pasadena, Texas will certainly be nasty if the speed pour top is left in place .
I am fortunate to have an extra fridge that is reserved for my baking supplies.
There I keep all the booze (beer and wine included) and have only had one problem, ever.
For some reason a homemade Lemoncello in a fancy cork bottle has gotten so thick and sweet that I have tossed it.

luc_h luc_h can you explain this?
I used Meyer lemons from my own organic shrub.
The bottles were given as gifts and there were no complaints.
We are not big drinkers but do offer cocktails to guests and someone requested a finger from this particular bottle.
Kinda embarrassing .

mimi
 
Last edited:

cerise

Banned
1,008
33
Joined Jul 5, 2013
I think your best bet is to taste them.  Five years of storing opened bottles sounds like a long time - particularly since you haven't used or touched them, and use for experimentation.
 
Last edited:
1,086
39
Joined Jun 6, 2007
There I keep all the booze (beer and wine included) and have only had one problem, ever.
For some reason a homemade Lemoncello in a fancy cork bottle has gotten so thick and sweet that I have tossed it.

@Luc_H can you explain this?
I used Meyer lemons from my own organic shrub.
We are not big drinkers

mimi
one thing that comes to mind, pectin.  I think Meyer lemons have high levels of pectin in the rind. If the liqueur was made using sugar and boiling water then is would have extracted the pectin from the white rind (if some was with the zest when prepared).  It would take a while for this process to evolve in a refrigerator with alcohol but I think the pectin swelled and gelled your Limoncello.

Commercial Limocello is made with flavouring extracts from lemon oil (no residual pectin).

it probably was still good but the thickness made it appear sweeter probably.

Luc H.
 
4,474
421
Joined Jun 27, 2012
There I keep all the booze (beer and wine included) and have only had one problem, ever.

For some reason a homemade Lemoncello in a fancy cork bottle has gotten so thick and sweet that I have tossed it.

[@=/u/15078/Luc-H]@Luc_H[/@] can you explain this?

I used Meyer lemons from my own organic shrub.

We are not big drinkers


mimi
one thing that comes to mind, pectin.  I think Meyer lemons have high levels of pectin in the rind. If the liqueur was made using sugar and boiling water then is would have extracted the pectin from the white rind (if some was with the zest when prepared).  It would take a while for this process to evolve in a refrigerator with alcohol but I think the pectin swelled and gelled your Limoncello.
Commercial Limocello is made with flavouring extracts from lemon oil (no residual pectin).
it probably was still good but the thickness made it appear sweeter probably.
Luc H.

It is so nice to have a scientist in the house lolol.
Thx Luc!

mimi
 

pete

Moderator
Staff member
4,509
998
Joined Oct 7, 2001
As Luc said, most alcoholic beverages above 20% store pretty well.  I have had some bottles, in my home bar that have been around for 1-2 years and are perfectly fine, although most bottles don't last that long.  Vermouth, which is only about 18% alcohol, I keep in the fridge and usually toss (if opened after about 2 months as it does tend to oxidize due to the lower alcohol content.  I know bourbon collectors that have had some open bottles that have been around for many years as they only drink from those bottles on very special occasions.

Other than opened wine or beer, I'd never throw out a bottle of booze that had only been opened for a month.
 
150
10
Joined Apr 17, 2015
Hard alcohol is 40% (80-proof)  except a few labels such as Jack Daniels and Everclear which are stronger.

Alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, so hard alcohols will loose "proof," as time goes by.  I don't know how that affects cooking, but if you are serving drinks, you should know that.

Alcohols won't actually spoil until they get to a certain low-point in alcohol, (like a liqueur).  In this thread we are using the 20% mark (40-proof), as the border, and that works for me.   At that point, old, opened alcohol will get worms and bugs.  I'd give it about 30 days before it is a danger, but that is just a guesstimate.

Things vary according to brand etc., but as a reference point

- American beer 3.5%

- imported beer 5%,

- white wine 10-12%,

- red wine 15%  

- liqueurs 20%  

- hard liquor 40%.
 
Last edited:

cerise

Banned
1,008
33
Joined Jul 5, 2013
You pose an interesting question re alcohol and expiration dates.  Don't think same is clearly, if at all,  labeled.  Rule of thumb, is to cook with what you like to drink.  There are lots of cheapo brands out there, I wouldn't want to drink, let alone cook with.  Your sense of smell and taste might help.  I have an allergic? reaction to certain wine(s) - that set me off sneezing.  Perhaps it's the chemicals/pesticides sprayed over grapes.  Not sure.  For experimentation or otherwise, when cooking, use the best ingredients, what you like, and I'd dump anything that's been hanging around particularly opened. Do they still sell airline-sized bottles?  lol.  You might try those.
 
3,993
831
Joined Dec 18, 2010
 
...

Other than opened wine or beer, I'd never throw out a bottle of booze that had only been opened for a month.
Me neither.  I've noticed that booze keeps for a long time (capped, cool, and dark storage).  In fact, just a short time ago I found a bottle of Benedictine that must date back 20 years. It tasted fine and was good for flavoring an apple tart.  If it lost any of its alcohol (which I would not doubt) that didn't affect culinary usage

The only booze that has ever "went bad" was a store-bought bottle of limoncello, but I think I took a swig directly from the bottle once and may have backwashed a bit

And come to think of it... I do have a bottle of mescal that may have also gone bad... there's a big ugly worm in it.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom