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How Long Does Alcoholic Eggnog Last? Includes Storage Tips

How Long Does Alcoholic Eggnog Last

Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin

There’s always a bit of mystery around the famous question, “how long does alcoholic eggnog last?” Each holiday season, as I mix or buy this sweet, creamy, and spiced delight, I wonder about its shelf life.

After some research and observation, I’ve learned the answer to this question. So, if you’re wondering the same, let me share what I’ve found out.

How Long Alcoholic Eggnog Really Lasts

Glass of Eggnog

Alcoholic eggnog can last, depending on storage conditions. Unopened eggnog can last for several weeks. Generally, unopened bottled eggnog can last at least three weeks.

Store-bought eggnog (or commercial eggnog) usually has an expiration date printed on the bottle, so you better check and use it within the period.

As for opened or homemade eggnog, the flavor can usually stay good for only 5-7 days since it contains dairy products like raw eggs and milk or cream, which are prone to spoilage.

Store-bought or commercial eggnog often lasts a few weeks longer than homemade eggnog due to added alcohol and preservatives.

“Alcohol extends not just the eggnog’s life, but also the moment of enjoyment.” – Liquor Laboratory

Moreover, alcoholic eggnog has a longer shelf life than fresh eggnog since a higher alcohol content (above 20%) can help extend eggnog’s shelf life, acting as a natural preservative, like sugar.

Alcoholic Eggnog’s Shelf Life


An alcoholic eggnog, be it an eggnog rum or bourbon, should be consumed within 5-7 days once opened. Adding alcohol helps prolong its shelf life, but know that exposure to air leads to spoilage.

The recipe calls for alcohol with raw eggs and milk or cream – prone to harmful bacteria when exposed to air, leading to health risks when consumed.


Unopened alcoholic eggnog, mainly commercial eggnog, can last much longer – often good and fresh within the one-to-three-week period or more when stored in a cool, dark place.

The sugar and the alcoholic beverage (usually rum) used in most recipes act as preservatives, aiding the longer lifespan of the beverage.

Homemade Eggnog

Homemade alcoholic eggnogs have a shorter shelf life and are best enjoyed within 2-3 days. The alcohol content can extend this a bit, but it’s wise not to push your luck.

Use pasteurized eggs (or cooked eggs) to lessen the risk of food poisoning since unpasteurized eggs may contain salmonella bacteria.

Also, keep this holiday beverage refrigerated, and it can last for up to 10 days or more if added with alcohol.

Does Alcoholic Eggnog Go Bad?

Pouring Eggnog Cocktail on a Glass

Alcoholic eggnog can go bad. Even with the preserving qualities of booze, this drink is still a dairy-based product. Over time, bacteria can develop (especially when you’re using unpasteurized eggs).

Besides, spoilage is inevitable, especially if stored improperly or kept too long (even inside the fridge).

TellTale Signs That It Has Gone Bad

  • Sour or off smell: The first sign of spoilage is when a nog drink gives off a sour or strange smell.
  • Change in texture: If there are lumps or you notice a watery consistency, it is no longer suitable for consumption.
  • Mold growth: Any visible mold means it’s time to discard it.
  • Off-taste: If the drink tastes different than when you first made or opened it, don’t risk it.

How Do You Make Alcoholic Eggnog Last Longer?

Pouring Eggnog on a Glass

To preserve eggnog recipes, store it in the refrigerator at all times. Keep it refrigerated, ideally at or below 40°F. Use airtight containers to minimize exposure to air and bacteria, causing food poisoning.

For homemade eggnog, consider recipes with a higher alcohol content for better preservation (like aged eggnog). Also, keep it away from light and heat sources to retain its original taste and flavor.

“Alcoholic eggnog, with its delicate balance of flavors and textures, is not just a drink but a culinary tradition.” – Gordon Ramsay, Chef

As I’ve mentioned, you better use pasteurized eggs (cooking raw egg to have it pasteurized) since the process might have killed the bacteria, causing spoilage or poisoning.

Also, it’s better to add alcohol, like rum, whiskey, or brandy, since alcohol can kill pathogens [1] that might come in contact with the egg, milk, or cream.


Can you drink 3-day-old eggnog?

Yes, you can consume 3-day-old eggnogs. As long as it’s been stored properly in the refrigerator and shows no signs of spoilage, it’s safe for consumption.

How long does eggnog with alcohol last in the refrigerator?

Alcoholic eggnog can last for weeks, while homemade versions should be drunk within 2-3 days. Use it immediately as a mix to coffee, which you can flavor with nutmeg.

How long is eggnog good for after the expiration date?

Eggnog can be no good after expiration. It’s not advisable to consume eggnog past its expiration date, even if there are no signs of spoilage.

How long is eggnog good for after opening?

Eggnogs with alcohol can be good for 5-7 days after opening. Within this period, you can expect the flavor to be at its peak.

Final Thoughts

Determining the shelf life of alcoholic eggnog [2] and how it must be stored isn’t that complicated.

Whether store-bought or homemade, paying attention to storage, alcohol content, and freshness signs will ensure you enjoy this festive drink safely.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and make a new batch for your Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration! Remember, a little bit of calories won’t kill you. So enjoy!


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