With an alcohol percentage of around 35%, gin is probably one of the most loved drinks, isn’t it? If you have one in your liquor cabinet and are wondering how long you have before this drink goes bad, you’ve come to the right place!
This famous spirit is often used to make various cocktail drinks and is often an essential ingredient when it comes to recipes such as gin-spiked galette, gin trifle, and many other dishes.
So, let’s dive deep and find out whether or not this popular drink goes bad, how can you store it, and other valuable information on it.
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Does Gin Go Bad?
You need someone’s company to finish the whole bottle of gin in one go. Else, it’s likely that you’ll have to store the opened bottle in your cabinet for quite a while.
Later on, when you decide to enjoy the remaining drink, many questions might arise in your mind, “Does gin go bad?” or “Is it still safe to drink?” Well, we’ve all been there!
We all know that the shelf life of hard liquors is high because of the high alcohol percentage. But does it lose its quality? If not stored properly, it definitely does! So, we cannot say the exact life of an opened bottle of gin that is improperly stored.
How Long Does Gin Last?
Like all other spirits, gin stays fine forever and has an indefinite shelf life if stored properly. If you store the unopened bottle of gin in a cool and dry place like the pantry, your drink can last forever.
Similarly, if properly sealed and stored, an opened bottle of gin can last for many years without compromising on its taste. So, even if your gin bottle has come with an expiry date, it can be consumed years even after the date. But remember, proper storage is essential!
The shelf life of gin
|Will last indefinitely
Will last indefinitely
However, you also need to know that the gin doesn’t age once it is bottled, so there is no point in saving it for the future. You must also notice that even if the flavor and floral infusion fades with time, there is no harm in consuming your bottle of gin.
An opened bottle of gin is very prone to oxidation. If you don’t store your bottle of gin properly, the oxidation causes the flavor of your drink to degrade over time. The oxidation rate depends on the amount of gin in the bottle and the place you store it.
The taste of your bottle of gin worsens with time. If you leave your open bottle of gin for too long, then you might not enjoy the taste, and you will have to discard the bottle at the end. So, in order to properly enjoy the original taste, you must finish up your bottle of gin within a year.
2 Tips to Tell if Gin has gone bad
If you are to serve the stored bottle of gin to your guest, always make sure that you check its quality before serving it. Here are some tips to tell your bottle of gin has gone bad, and it’s time to discard it.
1. Smell and Taste
Pour the drink into your glass and smell it. If it smells good, then give it a taste. Once you ensure that the taste is fine as well, feel free to use it. However, if the gin’s smell and taste have altered, you might have to discard it.
If your gin tastes neither good nor too bad, you can consider making a drink by mixing classic gin and tonic and give it a try.
By doing so, you’d be elevating the flavor instantly. What’s more, you can keep your gin bottle stored for longer. If the quality has degraded to worse, the best option would be to discard it.
2. Check for impurities
When you pour a long-stored bottle of gin in a glass, you must look for any foreign particles that shouldn’t be present in your drink. If there are no such particles, then your glass of drink is safe to drink.
But if you are unsure, consider discarding the drink, especially if it has been opened and kept for too long.
Gin generally doesn’t spoil unless you help it. Even if you don’t store the opened bottle of gin properly, the growth of microorganisms inside the bottle of gin is very difficult because of its high alcohol content.
Therefore, spoilage of gin is extremely rare, but its losses its flavor and taste with respect to time once opened and not stored properly.
Note: Though fruit and flavored infused gin might turn pale over time, it is generally safe to drink.
5 Tips to store gin
Now that we know how to tell if the gin in your liquor cabinet has gone bad, let’s look at the tips on how to store gin properly such that it won’t go bad.
1. Store in an air-tight bottle
If your liquor bottle is not tightly sealed, there’s a chance that the alcohol evaporates. As the alcohol evaporates at a much faster rate than water, your gin might become weaker as the months go by.
Moreover, when alcohol comes in contact with air, the oxidation process speeds up. So, don’t store your gin bottle with a pourer attached and always close the lid tightly.
2. Store in a cool and dark place
Heat is shown to speed up the oxidation process in liquors, so is the sunlight. Sunlight degrades the chemical components with the alcohol, mostly flavor compounds including esters.
So, make sure that you design your liquor cabinet in such a way that no direct sunlight hits it. This way, you can safely store your gin bottle in the cabinet without having to worry about its degradation.
3. Freeze the gin bottle
If you don’t find an optimal place where you could best store your gin bottle, store it in the freezer. Though gin doesn’t freeze, you’ll be keeping it away from heat and sunlight; thus, the quality remains intact. What’s more, chilled gin is also great for making cocktails, isn’t it?
4. Pour the gin into smaller bottles
If the amount of gin in the bottle is around half or towards the finishing line, consider pouring it into a smaller bottle. As we all know, air accelerates the oxidation process, and the lesser the gin in the bottle, the more is the oxygen inside.
So, if you’re willing to store the gin for long, store it in a bottle that perfectly suits the quantity. Else, you might have to finish the gin as soon as possible as it might degrade pretty quickly.
5. Store your gin bottles upright
If the gin bottle or the sample bottle you’ve decanted your remaining gin has a cork lid, you should always ensure it is upright. Alcohols, other than wine, must always be stored upright. It is because a cork lid can handle the alcohol percentage present in wine and but not in other hard liquors.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Gin
By now, we know that alcohol doesn’t spoil. So, even if you drink gin that has expired, you will be okay. On the other hand, alcohol does degrade in terms of quality. The taste might become dull and weak as the result of alcohol evaporation from the bottle.
So, if you drink gin that has been expired for too long or have been inappropriately stored, your tastebuds might not be as comfortable as it would have been while enjoying a glass of freshly bought gin.
Can You Freeze Gin?
Though gin doesn’t freeze, you can absolutely freeze it. Freezing can be your best storage option when you don’t find another appropriate place for storage or if you really love your gin and cocktails slightly chilled.
Simply pop in your gin bottle, tightly closed into the freezer, and you don’t worry about heat and sunlight messing with its taste and quality. However, don’t expect it to be completely frozen as the temperature in the freezer are not low enough to freeze gin.
An important note – don’t panic if you notice that your gin has gone slushy as it might be the water content within the liquor freezing.
In simple words, gin doesn’t really go bad. The quality, however, starts degrading once opened. Thus, as proper storage is essential when it comes to storing liquor, it’s more of a ‘How long do you want your gin to last?’ rather than ‘How long does your gin bottle last?’.
If you have an opened bottle of gin that has been stored for a few months but smells and tastes fine, feel free to enjoy it with your friends and family. But if it doesn’t, a short trip to the liquor store is better than drinking dull and boring gin, isn’t it?
So, what’s your favorite gin recipe, or do you love it as it is? Let us know!