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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Food Storage Items - Beverages - Part 3 - Distilled Spirits

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

Shelf life is a major factor when considering long term storage of beverage items. The shelf life of most distilled liquors is almost indefinite when unopened. While some variations, such as liqueurs, have a very short shelf life. Under the proper storage conditions, distilled spirits can last a very substantial period of time once they are opened.

Distilled Spirits

Most distilled spirits do not age or mature in the bottle. This means that your 20 year old, unopened bottle of bourbon or whiskey will taste relatively the same as first day it was bottled. However, like beer certain liquors can "go bad" after a few months in an opened bottle. This may cause your liquor to loose some of its character or flavor.

Base Liquors

Brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey are typically the most stable distilled spirits. These can be stored for a long time. These liquors have an indefinite shelf life and once opened may begin to lose certain flavor qualities over a period of time. Depending upon your storage methods, this can be anywhere from several months to several years.


The shelf life of liqueurs is less than the plain distilled spirits because they contain sugar, sweeteners or other ingredients that can spoil or go bad. Most opened liqueurs should last for several months or longer depending on their percentage of alcohol content and the type and amount of preservatives. Opened bottles will lose some of their characteristics due to exposure to the air. If there are any signs of sugar crystallizing on the bottom, discoloration, curdling or other similar changes you will need to discard it. Cream liqueurs that contain dairy, cream or egg products should be consumed by their expiration date. Cheaper versions of cream liqueurs will deteriorate even quicker.

Fortified Wines

Vermouths and other fortified wines have a much longer opened shelf life than regular wines. Vermouth can be stored in an open bottle for at least a few months. It will lose most of its flavor if stored too long after opening.


Follow the manufacturer’s recommended expiration date on the labels of all juices and bottled mixers. It is usually best to refrigerate mixers after opening. Club soda, ginger ale and tonic water should be consumed when opened or shortly afterwards.

Liquor Storage Tips

1.) Keep opened bottles sealed tightly. Use the original cap or a replacement cork.

2.) Never store liquor bottles with speed pourers attached unless they are in use.

3.) Avoid exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures.

4.) Store your liquor away from exterior walls.

5.) Avoid exposing your liquor to any type of sunlight or bright lighting.

Distilled spirits offer extremely long shelf for your alcoholic beverage storage options.

Staying above the "watered-down liquor" line!


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