Liquor Laboratory

Does Gin Go Bad & Expire? (2024 Updated)

Does Gin Go Bad and Expire

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Lydia Martin

When you open a bottle of gin, you likely won’t be able to finish it in a single day. So if you’re wondering how long a half-drunk bottle of gin will last in your liquor cabinet until it’s deemed expired, you’ve come to the right place. 

Does gin go bad? Read on to find out! 

Will Gin Go Bad? 

Hendrick's Gin

Not for a very long time. Gin has a long shelf life. Like other hard spirits, gin can stay safe for consumption indefinitely. The high alcohol content — the standard 35 percent for most brands — within the spirit won’t be a safe habitat for mold or bacteria to grow. So if you’re worried about spoiled gin making you sick, chances are that it wouldn’t. 

However, this is not to say that gin won’t ever go bad. While the alcohol might not expire the way regular foods and drinks do, its quality and taste will deteriorate over time, especially when you store the bottle in unfavorable conditions. So it’s safe to assume that the quality of gin will not stay the same as that of a freshly-opened bottle. But what does gin really taste like?

How To Tell If Gin Has Gone Bad 

How To Tell If Gin Has Gone Bad 

Strange Smell

Before you decide to drink the gin sitting in your pantry for months, pour some into a glass and take a whiff for quality purposes. If you notice that it smells strange, the spirit’s taste would be equally unpleasant, and it would be best to get rid of it. 

Change in Flavor

Gin Cocktail

If you decide that the months-old gin passes the smell test, you can take a small sip to gauge its taste and drinkability. If it tastes fine, you can probably store the bottle for longer. If it doesn’t taste great, but it’s not that bad either, mixing the spirit with tonic water is a great way to get more use out of that bottle of gin. 

Hopefully, we don’t have to tell you to throw the whole bottle out if the drink has degraded to nasty! 

Floating Particles

If you don’t remember how long that bottle of gin has been sitting in your liquor cabinet, check the spirit for any unwanted particles floating before you decide to pour a glass for yourself or your guests. Gin should always be clear and smooth. 

How Long Does Gin Last? 

How Long Does Gin Last


As soon as a gin bottle is opened, the oxidation process starts and is responsible for the flavor compounds breaking down over time. This is why the flavor of opened gin that’s been sitting in your pantry for a few years has likely degraded. It’s best to consume the opened bottle of gin within a few months to a year after it’s first opened to experience its full, rich taste. 


Haymans Gin

Unopened gin will stay fine for years. As long as the seal is not tampered with, you can expect the flavor of an unopened bottle of gin to stay pretty much the same as the first day you bought it. 

However, if you’re planning on saving that liquor bottle hoping that it gets better over time, it’s important to remember that the rules regarding aging no longer apply once the spirit has been bottled. In short, bottled gin won’t get better the longer you’ve had it (unlike wine). 

Read: Gin & Whiskey Compared

Where Should You Store Gin? 

You should store gin in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, whether opened or unopened. It would be best if you also noted that this area should have a stable temperature. Storing gin in a dark cupboard, basement, or liquor cabinet is a good idea. 

Having the gin bottle exposed to direct light or heat is a surefire way to start the processes of oxidation and evaporation quickly, ultimately making for an unpleasant drink. Always keep the opened bottle of gin tightly closed, or transfer the remaining gin into a smaller bottle. The more space in the opened bottle, the quicker the gin’s quality will deteriorate due to air exposure. Also, take note not to leave the pourer attached to the bottle. 

One more thing to note is to store gin bottles upright if they have a cork lid. Hard liquors, like gin, might cause the cork to dissolve into the spirit without you even noticing it, so they must be stored upright. 

Read: Our Top Low-Calorie Gins

Can You Freeze It?

Roku Gin

Yes, you can freeze a bottle of gin. With an ABV of 35 percent, the temperature in your freezer won’t be low enough to freeze the alcohol and won’t result in exploding bottles. 

If you plan to serve gin straight from the freezer, allow it to sit outside for at least an hour before pouring. Cool gin is especially delicious as it has a soft and silky mouthfeel (make sure you have a chilled glass and more ice cubes on standby). 

Why Gin Bottles Don’t Have Expiration Dates 

You’ll notice that most other spirits don’t have expiration dates. This is because these have an almost “indefinite” shelf life if left unopened. Gin’s high alcohol also ensures that it won’t be a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. 

Most hard liquors also don’t contain much sugar, which doesn’t pose a risk for the oxidation process to start. [1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can an old gin make you sick?

No, old gin cannot make you sick. The worst thing you’ll probably experience when drinking gin that’s old is a sour smell and an unpleasant-tasting drink, but they wouldn’t be enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. 

Does gin have a shelf life?

Gin has a pretty lengthy shelf life. As long as the open bottle of gin is stored properly (i.e., a cool, dark place that doesn’t go through temperature fluctuations), it will remain safe for consumption. However, you can expect its flavor to have declined. 

If the bottle of gin is left unopened, you can expect great quality for years to come, especially if the bottle is properly stored and the seal has never been tampered with. 

How can you tell if gin has gone bad?

Gin is a spirit that does not spoil or go bad in the same way that perishable food items do. However, there are a few indicators that can help determine if gin has deteriorated. Signs that gin may have gone bad include changes in color, such as a significant darkening or discoloration, the presence of sediment or particles floating in the liquid, cloudiness, an off-putting or unpleasant odor, or an unpleasant taste. If any of these signs are present, it is best to discard the gin.

Is it safe to drink old gin?

While gin does not technically expire, its quality can degrade over time. If properly stored, unopened gin can retain its quality for several years. Once opened, gin is exposed to oxygen, which can slowly affect its flavor. However, properly sealed and stored opened gin can still be enjoyed for up to a year or more. It is important to note that if the gin has gone bad or has an off taste, it is best to err on the side of caution and replace it. Drinking old or spoiled gin may not be harmful, but it may not provide an enjoyable drinking experience.

How long can gin be kept?

The shelf life of gin can vary depending on storage conditions. Unopened gin, when stored properly in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations, can retain its quality for several years. Once opened, gin is exposed to oxygen, which can slowly affect its flavor over time. However, if the gin is tightly sealed and stored correctly, it can still be enjoyed for up to a year or more. It is important to monitor changes in appearance, smell, and taste to determine if the gin has gone bad.

Does gin drink expire?

Gin does not have an expiration date like perishable food items. However, its quality can degrade over time due to oxidation and evaporation of volatile compounds. Proper storage is crucial to maintain the quality and flavor of gin. If the gin shows signs of deterioration, such as changes in color, presence of sediment or particles, cloudiness, an off-putting odor, or an unpleasant taste, it is best to discard it.

Should I keep gin in the fridge?

Refrigeration is not necessary for unopened gin. However, if you prefer your gin chilled or want to extend its shelf life after opening, you can store it in the refrigerator. It is important to ensure that the bottle is tightly sealed to prevent any absorption of other flavors from the refrigerator. Keep in mind that chilling gin may slightly dull its flavors, so some people prefer to enjoy it at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Remember to always drink responsibly and in moderation. If you have any concerns about the quality or safety of your gin, it is best to consult with a professional or consider replacing it.

Does gin smell bad?

No, gin should not smell bad. In fact, it should have a pleasant and aromatic scent. The aroma of gin is influenced by the botanicals used during the distillation process, which can include juniper berries, citrus peels, herbs, and spices. A fresh and well-made gin will have a distinct and appealing aroma. However, if gin has gone bad or deteriorated, it may develop an off-putting or unpleasant odor, indicating that it is no longer suitable for consumption.

What does old gin taste like?

The taste of old gin can vary depending on storage conditions and the length of time it has been stored. Over time, gin can oxidize and lose some of its flavors and aromas. It may taste dull, flat, or less vibrant compared to fresh gin. The botanical flavors that make gin unique may become less pronounced or altered. If the gin has gone bad, it may have a harsh or unpleasant taste. It’s always best to evaluate the taste of gin before consuming it, especially if it has been stored for a long time.

Can you drink 100-year-old gin?

It is highly unlikely that gin can remain drinkable and safe to consume after 100 years. Spirits, including gin, are not designed to last for such an extended period. Over time, the alcohol can evaporate, flavors can degrade, and the overall quality can diminish significantly. Consuming very old spirits can also pose health risks due to potential contamination or changes in chemical composition. It is always best to exercise caution and consult with experts or professionals when dealing with extremely old alcoholic beverages.

Should gin be kept in the freezer?

While gin can be stored in the freezer, it is not necessary for regular storage. Freezing gin can help to chill it quickly and make it refreshing for certain cocktails or serving preferences. However, prolonged exposure to very low temperatures can dull the flavors and aromas of gin. If you choose to store gin in the freezer, ensure that the bottle is tightly sealed to prevent any absorption of odors from the freezer.

Why has my gin lost its color?

The color of gin can fade or change over time due to a variety of factors. Exposure to light, particularly direct sunlight, can cause the pigments in gin to degrade and result in a loss of color. Additionally, oxidation and the breakdown of botanical compounds can also contribute to a change in color. If your gin has lost its color, it may indicate that it has been exposed to unfavorable storage conditions or has aged beyond its optimal quality. While the loss of color alone does not necessarily mean the gin is bad, it is advisable to evaluate other factors such as smell and taste before consuming it.

So, Does Gin Go Bad? 

To answer the question of “does gin go bad,” then no, it doesn’t go bad. At least, not in the way we think. 

Gin’s shelf life is basically indefinite. Thanks to its high alcohol content, it won’t attract the growth of mold, bacteria, or other pathogens, making this spirit resistant to expiring. 

However, that doesn’t mean that its taste will never deteriorate. The gin’s flavor will inevitably degrade over time as the spirit is exposed to evaporation and oxidation. Gin producers recommend consuming the alcohol within a year after the bottle is opened. 

But with classic gin being the awesome, delicious drink, what makes you think it’ll last for more than a year in your food storage? 


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