Last Updated on October 24, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Sometimes, it pays to double-check every vodka bottle’s mortality to avoid any disastrous, unforeseen events. Nobody wants to open a good bottle of liquor with a distasteful aroma and flavor, right? So, how long does vodka last? We’ve got the answer right here.
Don’t wait for your vodka to go bad. Drink it and enjoy!
Vodka: Does It Expire?
Vodka doesn’t really expire. However, various conditions may affect its color, smell, and taste whenever the bottle stays unopened for a long time. Hence, it may go bad.
Every vodka bottle may be tightly sealed to stay as strong as possible for over a few decades. However, sitting for about 40 to 50 years, still left unopened, in your vodka shelf may result in a loss of flavor and alcohol content because of slow, consistent oxidation. Some people may regard this oxidation as expiration. So, does vodka expire? The answer is no; it doesn’t. It oxidizes.
Why Does Vodka Go Bad?
With an alcoholic content of about 40 to 55 percent , bottles of vodka go bad when they are left open for a long time. No vodka bottle had even been perfectly sealed to last forever, so slow and consistent oxidation still occurs.
The oxidation process becomes more rapid with an opened bottle of vodka, so the remaining alcohol starts losing its flavor faster, almost making it unenjoyable to drink. However, this doesn’t mean that your opened bottle of vodka would only last a day or two to go bad. The good news is, it could still last for about 10 to 20 years, or even for a few years more. But, how long does it take for vodka to kick in?
Its Shelf Life
Technically speaking, vodka spirits may last up to a hundred years, unopened. Although a sealed bottle of vodka may be stored indefinitely, our team suggests keeping it out of direct sunlight or any direct light. It is to avoid fading on the label and so it won’t go bad.
While it’s true that vodka is a very resilient liquor, extreme conditions may somehow still affect your vodka’s long shelf life and make it go bad, no matter how diminutive it may be.
You may store vodka in the freezer at 41 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit before serving, but it should never stay in extreme cold conditions for a long time as it may go bad. Such instances may affect your vodka’s natural aroma. But, does vodka freeze?
Vodka’s lifespan somewhat shortens once it has been opened. The oxidation process becomes more rapid, making it faster for the vodka to lose its flavor and aroma. Remember, a liquid such as alcohol evaporates faster than water, so it becomes weaker and may go bad if left open for a long time.
An unopened bottle of vodka lasts longer. However, it is still recommended to check on each bottle from time to time to ensure its longevity. We suggest checking your bottle’s cork to ensure proper sealing and any excess evaporation. Store vodka in a place that avoids direct heat sources.
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Proper Storage Recommendations
Vodkas are usually kept at room temperature and are seldom stored in freezers, so they won’t go bad. While it’s true that vodka lasts for a long time, it is still best to store a whole bottle of vodka properly to prevent evaporation. Here are some proper storage conditions you should consider:
- Select a convenient, cool, dry place to store your vodka, like a liquor cabinet, food storage, or a shelf.
- Store the bottles upright to avoid any leakage.
- Keep them somewhere with a consistent temperature of 60 to 65°F.
- Avoid oxidation by storing them in direct sunlight/heat. A relatively cool, dark place is always a better choice.
- Avoid using replacement caps.
Signs That Tell If Vodka Has Gone Bad
Here are the signs that would tell you if your vodka bottle has gone bad.
- Its taste becomes terrible, almost too different than what it should taste like. As a hard liquor enthusiast, the liquor’s taste is what matters most. Nobody wants to drink vodka with an awful, diluted taste instead of its aromatic flavor and characteristic.
- Its alcohol content became weaker. If a bottle had been stored improperly for a few decades, the vodka’s proof might dip below 25% of what it used to be. This instance may even increase the probability of developing yeast, bacteria, and contaminants inside the bottle, which may cause food poisoning, worst-case scenario, although it may seem too unlikely to happen.
- Its color, off odor, and appearance may change, too. If it suddenly developed a strange flavor after drinking it, it’s most likely to have gone bad. Discard it for quality purposes. But, can you smell vodka on your breath?
How do you store opened vodka?
To store an opened vodka bottle, you have to use its original cap to seal it properly. Then, put your half-empty bottle of vodka in a cool, dry, dark place and position it upright to avoid any leakage.
How long can you drink vodka after opening?
Some experts claim that you must consume an opened vodka bottle for about six to eight months after opening it because alcohol evaporates faster than water. Some say it could still last up to about 10 to 20 years if stored properly. Vodka drinks are a highly durable, stable, distilled spirit that can manage many factors and conditions.
Does vodka need to be refrigerated?
Vodka doesn’t need to be refrigerated since it is always best to be kept at room temperature. However, if your sole purpose of putting your vodka in the freezer is to serve it chilled like a beer, then you may do so.
Does vodka have a use-by date?
No, vodka doesn’t have a use-by date since it doesn’t really expire because it has an indefinite shelf life. Unlike wine, other spirits like gin, tequila, rum, and whiskey, vodka stops aging once it has been bottled. Also, any spirit above 40% ABV or 80 alcohol proof doesn’t have an expiration date.
Can old vodka make you sick?
No, old vodka won’t make you sick. It would only let you experience an acceptable palate disaster because vodka drinks that have gone bad will most likely taste duller and strange. But will vodka catch fire?
So, How Long Does Vodka Last?
Vodka lasts for a couple of decades when properly stored. It has an infinite shelf life, especially when kept unopened. You can also maximize its shelf life by keeping it at room temperature, away from direct sunlight/heat, and with its original cap on, not a bottle pourer.
By storing your vodka in the best way possible, you will be helping it stay on its character, aroma, and taste.
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! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.