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Can hard liquor go bad?


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I was just wondering if the quality of hard liquor will decline after it is opened? I like to leave a couple ounces in each bottle before I buy a new one that way I can have a tasting with all my other bottles to see how the new one compares...but will leaving a few ounces of say maker's mark in the bottle for a couple months (or longer) affect the taste? Is just making sure the cap is on tight enough? Also, will vermouth go bad quicker? (it is derived from wine right?)

Oh, and on a side note, I just got a bottle of Aberlour 10year, I doubt I will have to worry about that staying in the bottle too long :)

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I think there was a thread on this already. But I can't find it.

Liquor--the higher proof stuff--won't "go bad." Unless you expose it to extreme temperature conditions and/or prolonged exposure to light.

Vermouth--lower proof stuff--is a different story. It will "go bad." I keep my vermouth & similar proof potables in the fridge & try to finish them within 3 months.

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I keep my vermouths on top of the fridge but I do vacuum seal them after every use. I haven't noticed a difference in a new vs. old bottle of Noilly. They last around 5 months. I just don't have enough fridge space to store 'em in there.

regards,

trillium

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Fortified wines (ie Noilly, port, madeira, sherry) will go off relatively quickly. As most of them are already oxidised being exposed to the air won't have a big difference. I think that 5 months maybe pushing things a little bit on certain things.

Spirits can be left open for ever supposedly without any change. However I believe that there is only one spirit that is supposed to improve in the bottle and that is Chartreuse.

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My father-in-law spent his career in the liquor business. Once, he cleaned out his closet and handed the 25 years of samples, fads and god-knows-what that he never got around to drinking off to his daughter and me. Most of it was undrinkable crap -- I can't remember much, but think of any foul swill you might have shot back on a big night during the disco era, and we had some.

But there was one near-full bottle of Irish whiskey, a brand we'd never heard of, apparently distilled sometime in the 1960s. We took a sip, and then another...it was wonderful stuff and we looked for it for a couple of months afterwards, to no avail. We can't remember the name, but we did learn that hard liquor lasts a long, long time, even after the bottle is open.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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distilled spirits will not good bad or change they will only evaporate if not closed.

Fortified wines ie port will last a while up to six months once opend but Aromatized wines i.e. vermouth will last an even shorter time, only a mont or two.

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I like martinis, and I buy the small (375ml) bottles of Noilly Prat, vacu-vin them after each use, and store them in the fridge. Vermouth goes way off after opening, just like wine, but this method definitely keeps the bottle tasting fresh for at least as long as it takes me to consume it.

Things made kind of like wine, especially cognac and Grand Marnier, I try to drink within a reasonable amount of time, maybe a month, and I typically vacu-vin them too.

Stuff like vodka, gin, scotch, etc. never goes bad.

Definitely invest in a vacu-vin and a dozen stoppers, it will do wonders for the shelf life of any beverage prone to the effects of oxygen.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Things made kind of like wine, especially cognac and Grand Marnier, I try to drink within a reasonable amount of time, maybe a month, and I typically vacu-vin them too.

You've had cognac and/or Grand Marnier "go bad"?

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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Things made kind of like wine, especially cognac and Grand Marnier, I try to drink within a reasonable amount of time, maybe a month, and I typically vacu-vin them too.

You've had cognac and/or Grand Marnier "go bad"?

Cognac doesn't go bad. People go bad--after drinking cognac.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Things made kind of like wine, especially cognac and Grand Marnier, I try to drink within a reasonable amount of time, maybe a month, and I typically vacu-vin them too.

Stuff like vodka, gin, scotch, etc. never goes bad.

Saying that Cognac is made kind of like wine is like saying that whisk(e)y is made kind of like beer :smile:

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  • 6 years later...

Resurrecting this ancient thread to ask a question about Sherry:

I just bought three bottles of Sherry -- Lustau East India (20% alcohol), Lustau Fino (16%), and a cream sherry (19%). I'm assuming that the Fino needs to be stored in the fridge and used within a month or so, but what about the others? Is 19 or 20% alcohol enough at oloroso/cream sugar levels to preserve them at room temperature? For about how long? Would refrigeration be better?

Thanks,

Dan

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Local Spirits writer Camper English traveled to Spain and got the following guidelines direct from the Industry:

How Long Does Sherry Last

According to the Consejo Regulador of Sherry, the wine should be stored for the following times:

Fino or Manzanilla: in a sealed bottle it will last for 12 to 18 months. If the bottle is opened and stored in the refrigerator, it will last one week.

Amontillado and Medium Sweet Sherries in a sealed bottle will last for 18 to 36 months. If the bottle is open they will last 2-3 weeks.

Oloroso and Cream Sherries in a sealed bottle will last for 24 to 36 months. If the bottle is open they will last 4-6 weeks.

Pedro Ximenez in a sealed bottle will last for 24 to 48 months. If the bottle is open it will last 1-2 months.

Going with those numbers, I expect just about every bottle of sherry in the US is probably "expired", not to mention that sticky bottle that has been in your aunt's cabinet for the past 15 years.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I really enjoy keeping Sherry around and typically have open bottles in the fridge for much longer than the times listed above without a terribly noticeable decline in quality, though for all I know they were already past when I opened them (tasty anyway). You may not find a Fino or Manzanilla as delicious on its own after a couple of weeks but it's still great for a Bamboo, or even to cook with.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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