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?
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
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
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!
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?
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.
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.
Can You Freeze It?
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 they 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. 
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.
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?
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!