Expiry date of alcoholic drink after the bottle has been opened

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by josh71, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. josh71

    josh71

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    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: Jun 5, 2015
  2. bob hyneman

    bob hyneman

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    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: Jun 5, 2015
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  3. luc_h

    luc_h

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    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.
     
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  4. bob hyneman

    bob hyneman

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    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.
     
  5. luc_h

    luc_h

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    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.
     
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  6. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    I'd like to know more about the booze-y lobster sauce./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
  7. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    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.
     
  8. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Reminds me of a dish I had at a restaurant long ago - pasta w/ smoked salmon, vodka, cream and dill.
     
  9. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    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 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: Jun 5, 2015
  10. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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  11. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    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: Jun 5, 2015
  12. luc_h

    luc_h

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    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.
     
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  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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

    mimi
     
  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  15. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Thanks I appreciated that Mimi!

    Luc H.
     
  16. bob hyneman

    bob hyneman

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    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: Jun 5, 2015
  17. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    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.
     
  18. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    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
     
  19. bob hyneman

    bob hyneman

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    LMAO BrianShaw.
     
  20. french fries

    french fries

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    A month is REALLY overkill. I keep 20%+ bottles for years and years and years. Some of them are probably over 10 years old. Still taste great.