Liquor Laboratory

Does Rum Go Bad When Opened Or Unopened? (2024 Updated)

Does Rum Go Bad When Opened Or Unopened

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Lydia Martin

If you have a bottle of rum inside your cabinet that has been there for a few years, you may wonder if it’s still safe to drink. This confusion led most people to the question – does rum go bad? 

Our team spent 24 hours gathering answers to all your questions. 

Rum: Does It Go Bad? 

Does rum go bad? Here’s the truth. An unopened rum doesn’t go bad unless it is left exposed for a very long time. Rum is one of the distilled spirits. It has stable alcohol and strong spirits that means you can store it for many years and still be fine. No matter how long it’s kept inside your cabinet, it will be perfectly fine. 

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum

In short, rum can go bad. The term “bad” refers to the fact that it’ll not harm you while you are drinking. 

Continue reading to learn more about rum storage, shelf life, and info about rums. 

Its Shelf Life

Its Shelf Life

Average Shelf Life 

Substantially, the shelf life of rum is uncertain if it’s stored properly. As long as its cap is tightly sealed, it can be stored for many years. To prolong the life of your rum and maintain its quality, keep it in a place at room temperature, away from light as much as possible. 

Of course, we store rum inside our cabinets or pantries, not in food keepers or food storage. 

When Opened

Does rum go bad after it’s been opened? After opening a rum bottle, it’s recommended to drink it right away or within six months because it can lose its smell, taste, and quality. You wouldn’t be happy with the taste of the rum if you didn’t store the opened bottle properly. So it’s better to drink it immediately. The faster, the better. 


Does rum go bad even if unopened? Unopened rum has the potential to last forever, but it must be stored in the proper conditions. These conditions also apply when storing opened rum and can help it last much longer. 

Just a friendly reminder that, unlike in wine and beer, base liquor does not age once bottled. Same with rum. Rum in an unopened bottle should taste the same today as it will in 20 years.

Why Does Rum Go Bad? 

As mentioned earlier, rum can go bad, but the term “bad” is not as serious as you think. It just lessens the quality of the rum. 

Cruzan Rum

Does rum go bad after opening. Maybe, yes. The reason behind this is because the liquid slowly evaporates when a bottle of a drink is not firmly sealed. Because alcohol evaporates faster than water, the rum becomes milder over time. Additionally, the oxidation process occurs. The combination of these two processes gradually alters the flavor of the beverage.

How To Tell If Your Liquor Went Bad

So, does rum go bad? Rum, like other spirits, tends to decline in quality once it’s not stored properly. Strong spirits with a high alcohol content can kill most hostile germs and bacteria. 

Bacardi Rum

The expiration date on a bottle refers to the deterioration of the rum’s flavor. Pour a small amount of it into your mouth, smell it, and taste it. If you notice any visible signs of spoilage or a strange odor and taste, discard the liquid. 

Tips On How To Store Your Rum

Does rum go bad at all? It depends on how you store them.  There are a few things to keep in mind when storing rum. Like any other spirit, you should store rum in a cool, dry place far from light. Keeping it inside the fridge won’t benefit the liquid. 

Bacardi Black with cocktail

Once a bottle is open, keep it tightly sealed to avoid oxidation. When rum is exposed to oxygen, it begins to oxidize, and eventually, the flavor changes. These effects occur at a much slower rate within a tightly closed bottle.

Does Rum Go Bad? FAQs 

How do I store an opened bottle of rum? 

One way of storing an opened bottle of rum is to transfer it into a smaller bottle if it’s half-empty. More empty space in the bottle indicates a faster change in flavor. Moreover, we recommend using screw tops rather than natural cork – although natural corks are elegant-looking, they can’t extend the life of your rum. 

When does rum go bad?

Rum goes bad upon reaching its expiry date or when opened and not sealed thereafter for over the night.

Can an old rum make me sick? 

No, an alcohol that has passed its expiration date does not make you sick. If you drink a bottle that has been open for more than a year, you’ll almost certainly notice a change in flavor. Alcohol does not expire to the point where it can make you sick. [1] 

How hot can a bottle of rum be stored?

Some experts believe the ideal temperature range is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The basic rule of thumb for common distilled and other spirits like whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, wine, and tequila is to keep them in a cool dark place. But, what’s the difference between rum and whiskey?

Does vodka go bad after opening?

No, vodka does not go bad after opening. Vodka has a high alcohol content, which acts as a preservative. As long as the bottle is properly sealed and stored in a cool, dark place, vodka can last indefinitely without spoiling. However, the flavor may change over an extended period.

How long does Bacardi last opened?

Bacardi, like other spirits, does not have a strict expiration date. When stored in ideal conditions (cool, dark place with a tightly sealed cap), an opened bottle of Bacardi can last indefinitely without spoiling. However, changes in flavor may occur over time.

Does liqueur go bad?

Liqueurs, which often contain a combination of spirits, sweeteners, and flavorings, can go bad over time. The shelf life varies depending on the specific liqueur. Factors such as the alcohol content, sugar content, and the presence of perishable ingredients can influence how long a liqueur remains good. Proper storage and checking for any changes in flavor or appearance are recommended.

How long does spiced rum last once opened?

Like other spirits, spiced rum can last indefinitely once opened if stored properly. Keeping the bottle tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dark place helps maintain the quality of the rum. While the alcohol content preserves it, the flavor may evolve over an extended period.

Does rum get better with age?

Unlike some other spirits like whiskey, rum does not necessarily get better with age. Aging can mellow certain flavors and add complexity, but the process is different from that of whiskey. Some premium aged rums are sought after for their unique characteristics, but the preference for aged or young rum is subjective.

How can you tell if rum has gone bad?

Signs that rum may have gone bad include changes in color, off-putting odors (like a musty or vinegar-like smell), or a spoiled taste. If the rum exhibits any of these characteristics, it is advisable not to consume it.

Is it OK to drink old rum?

Generally, it is safe to drink old rum if it has been stored properly and shows no signs of spoilage. While the flavor profile may change over time, properly stored rum does not become harmful. Assess its color, smell, and taste to determine its quality.

How long does rum last when opened?

When stored in ideal conditions (cool, dark place with a tightly sealed cap), opened rum can last indefinitely. The high alcohol content acts as a preservative, preventing spoilage. However, the flavor may evolve over time.

What happens to rum when it goes bad?

When rum goes bad, it may develop off-putting odors, change in color, or have a spoiled taste. The presence of these signs indicates that the rum has undergone spoilage and is not suitable for consumption.

Does rum go bad if not refrigerated?

Rum does not require refrigeration. Proper storage involves keeping the bottle tightly sealed and storing it in a cool, dark place. The high alcohol content in rum acts as a natural preservative, preventing spoilage.

How do you drink old rum?

Old rum can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, depending on personal preference. The aging process may impart unique flavors, and appreciating them is subjective. Experiment with different serving methods to find what suits your taste.

Does rum and whiskey expire?

Rum and whiskey do not expire in the same way perishable foods do. Properly stored, they can last indefinitely. However, changes in flavor may occur over time, especially if exposed to unfavorable conditions.

Does Bacardi rum expire?

Bacardi rum, like other spirits, does not have a strict expiration date. Properly stored Bacardi rum can last indefinitely without spoiling. However, changes in flavor may occur over an extended period.

How long does rum need to age?

The aging process for rum varies depending on the type and desired characteristics. Some rums may age for a few years, while others, especially premium or aged varieties, may spend decades in barrels. The aging duration contributes to the rum’s flavor profile.

Can rum and Coke go bad?

Rum and Coke, when mixed, may not go bad in the same way as individual ingredients. However, the soda’s carbonation may dissipate over time, affecting the drink’s taste. It is best to consume it fresh for the optimal drinking experience.

Should you keep rum in the freezer?

While rum does not need to be refrigerated, some people prefer to store it in the freezer for a chilled drinking experience. This is a matter of personal preference, and it does not impact the rum’s shelf life.

In Summary: Does Rum Go Bad?

So, does rum go bad ever? Or does rum go bad before its expiry date? To sum up, rum preserves for a long time and doesn’t go bad even after it’s been opened. Like wines, rums are safe to drink even after opening. The shelf life of rum can only last if it’s saved properly; if not, it loses its taste.

Also, remember that after opening a bottle of rum, close it tightly and transfer it into smaller bottles if it’s almost half-empty. Lastly, before serving or drinking an opened bottle of rum, make sure to taste it first. 


  1. Does Alcohol Expire?
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