How to Store Bourbon: 5 Ways Revealed (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

If you love bourbon, we bet you’ve already started collecting a few bottles. Sure, you want to set a bourbon display to show off your collection, but properly storing this spirit is crucial to ensure that your investment lasts long. 

This ultimate guide will show you how to store bourbon.

5 Proper Ways Storing Bourbon

5 Proper Ways Storing Bourbon

1. Store In Dark Places

The proper storage of this liquor is needed to maintain its excellent taste and quality. One of the best ways to store bourbon is to keep it in a dark place, away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. 

This will allow the bourbon to age properly and develop its flavor. Light breaks down the chemical compounds in this drink, which give it its distinctive flavor.

2. Keep Away From Sunlight


If you’re wondering how to store bourbon, the most important thing to remember is that the storage should be in a cool, unlit room. The bourbon should be kept away from direct sunlight and other light sources. The light can cause the liquor to become cloudy and change its taste.

3. Position It Upright

Unlike wine, which is stored horizontally, it’s best to store the bourbon upright. Keeping the wine bottles stored on their side ensures that the liquid stays in constant contact with the cork. It keeps the cork moist to prevent it from drying or cracking.

Typically, corks degrade over time, especially if the bourbon is of higher proof. Keeping the bottled spirits in an upright position when storing them is best.

4. Keep At Room Temperature 

Room Temperature

Temperature fluctuations affect the flavor and quality of bourbon. The ideal range for bourbon storage is from 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. It also needs to be stored in a place away from light. This helps the spirit keep tasting good and maintain its quality for longer periods. 

It’s important to protect your liquor from temperature extremes. The frequent temperature change might impart unpleasant flavors.

5. Store In Small Glass Bottles

Miniature Bottles

One of the proper ways to store bourbon is to keep it in a smaller glass and sealed bottles. When you have a bottle of this spirit, which is already more than two-thirds empty, it’s best to empty the contents into smaller glass bottles to lessen the air in the bottles. 

The more oxygen present in the bottle, the faster it will oxidize. Oxidation changes the bourbon’s flavors within a few months.

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How Long Should You Store It?

How Long Should You Store It?


Once the bottle of bourbon is opened, it can reach up to two years before it goes bad if the liquor is half full. If it’s about one-fourth, the open bottles of bourbon have an expiration date of six months. The spirits start losing their color, and the flavor changes. 

Other factors that can affect the shelf life of bourbon are exposure to light, air, and temperature fluctuations.

Not Open

Barrel Bourbon

You can store an unopened bourbon bottle almost forever. There is no time frame. An unopened bottle of this liquor won’t go bad as long as it’s distilled. They also won’t turn to vinegar, like wine and beer

If you’re keeping them in the storage for long, so it keeps on tasting better, it won’t happen because bourbon doesn’t age in the bottle. Here are some bourbon shelf display ideas to try

Should You Refrigerate Bourbon?

No, you dont need to refrigerate the bourbon. Keeping it refrigerated won’t improve the flavor. Sure, keeping it cold affects the taste, and it’s up to the preference of the drinker whether the drink tastes better when chilled or not. 

However, experts agree that keeping the alcohol at room temperature maintains the flavor. Also, spirits like whiskey have high alcohol content, which preserves their integrity.


Do you have to replace the cork of an opened bourbon?

No, you do not have to replace the cork of an opened bourbon. It is there to protect the bourbon from oxidation and prevent it from turning into vinegar. The cork is not meant to seal the bourbon, so it will not go bad if there is a small amount of oxygen in the bottle.

How long will an unopened bottle of bourbon last?

An unopened bottle of bourbon [1] will last for more than a decade or almost forever as long as it is stored properly. 

Final Thoughts On Properly Storing Bourbon

Bourbon is a whiskey distilled from a mash containing at least 51 percent corn. Like wine and other spirits, bourbon is great to share with friends. However, it’s most likely that you won’t be drinking it as quickly as you would a bottle of wine. 

If you can’t finish drinking the whole bottle, you should know how to store bourbon properly. There are different factors to consider in maintaining the alcohol’s great quality. Ensuring that this spirit is in a sealed bottle and keeping it away from sunlight can help maintain its color, quality, and flavor. 



Lydia Martin

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 or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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