Not all alcoholic drinks are the same, and there is a big difference between classic liquor such as brandy, vodka, or bourbon and liqueur such as Kahlua.
Although its purpose in making cocktails is endless, sweet sugar-coffee flavored drink Kahlua doesn’t have an infinite shelf life as it contains other ingredients except for alcohol. So, does Kahlua go bad, and how long does Kahlua last?
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Does Kahlua Go Bad?
To get straight to the point, yes, Kahlua can go bad, and it has its expiration date. It depends on many circumstances and factors, but the unopened bottle has a shelf life of four years for sure. It is always highlighted on the package, and you should stick to it only in case of staying closed.
Once you open this drink, it can go bad. Basically, it can’t last long because of its ingredients, including a lot of sugar and coffee. In contact with air, its flavor will slowly start to change and deteriorate over time.
How Long Does Kahlua Last?
As I have already mentioned, the average life of a Kahlua bottle is four years from the date of bottling. Always look for the Lot, the specific code on the label, which will give you the details of the production date.
The Lot Code is not that easy to understand, but it is not a mission impossible either. You should check a table and follow the rule on how to read the markings of the code.
The table has the coding numbers that will show you the exact date and hour of production. That way, you will always know if you have a fresh Kahlua drink or there is a possibility to drink an old, tasteless liqueur.
How Long Does Kahlua Last (Chart)
Be prepared that Kahlua quality and flavor start fading away once you open the bottle. Therefore, it is advisable to spend it at your earliest convenience.
Otherwise, you will drink the liqueur with less authenticity. As Kahlua is the secret ingredient to many cocktails and beverages, it needs to be fresh and full of aroma.
2 Tips to Tell If Kahlua Has Gone Bad
Luckily, you will have no severe health problems even though Kahlua is spoiled. Being a spirit, it can just lose the special characteristics without an effect on your safety.
Sometimes, it is necessary to test the liqueur before you put it to use. The smell and aroma are necessary for Kahlua as it is a fragrant coffee-flavored drink. Therefore, the smell test is crucial in determining its freshness.
If Kahlua doesn’t have a strong and pungent smell of coffee, it is time to get rid of the poor-quality drink. Since such Kahlua has lost its essential characteristics, it will do no good in your cocktails.
It is the same with the rum in Kahlua. If you can’t feel the rum spirit aroma, it means it has evaporated, and it is time for a new bottle. Finally, if you notice any strange or unpleasant smell, you shouldn’t risk with that bottle of Kahlua. It is wiser to purchase a new one.
After passing the smell test, you can go to the visual one. The color of high-quality Kahlua is dark and clear. Baring that in mind, you can be sure the sunlight has affected your drink quality if it is lighter than it used to be. The only thing you can do is to get rid of it.
Another thing to consider is sugar crystals on the bottle bottom. If you notice any residue, it means that the crystallization of sugar in the Kahlua has started. In that case, it is out of date, and you should hurry to the nearest store for a new one.
Finally, if you notice any odd particles and strange colors inside the bottle, your Kahlua has gone bad. So, you should discard the old one and purchase a new aromatic Kahlua.
6 Tips to Store Kahlua
Being an alcoholic drink, Kahlua makes storing much easier, as it is not perishable. Nonetheless, you should follow the procedures of keeping it safe and sound.
- Freezing – As I have already mentioned, you shouldn’t store Kahlua for more than half an hour in the freezer as its texture will be destroyed.
- Sunlight – Direct sunlight and heat are the worst Kahlua enemies. Therefore, you should choose a place far from direct sun and heat exposure when you store it. If it is not protected, the liqueur may expire even before the date specified on a Lot Code.
- Cooling – Some drinks taste better when served cold. The same case is with Kahlua. Therefore, you can store it in a refrigerator. That way, it will be cooled and ready for refreshment as soon as you need to consume it.
- Bottle – Once opened, Kahlua taste will slowly fade away, so it is of high importance to tightly close the bottle after every use. That way, you will preserve the aroma and coffee flavor longer, which is essential for the recognizable drink taste.
- Storage – Dark and cool places like cellars, cupboards, and pantries are the perfect store places for all spirits, and the same is with Kahlua. Simple as that, you should place it in a dark place, far from the heat, and you have accomplished the mission.
- Protection – To prevent bacteria and mold forming, you should wipe the bottle lip and collar with a soft dry cloth before sealing it with the original seal. That way, you will tight it better, which will stop the mold and bacteria that usually start growing on the bottle opening and plug.
Kahlua and cocktails
Not only is Kahlua essential for the White Russian cocktail, but it is a necessary ingredient for many other shakes and hot beverages. You can often see them in drink lists worldwide, and some of them are very famous such as:
- Kahlua Strawberry Shake
- Irish Cold Brew Martini
- Irish Espresso Martini
- Latte Martini
The quality of the shakes, cocktails, and hot beverages closely depends on Kahlua’s freshness and texture. No matter if you are a bartender, barista, or just a Kahlua fan, you should take care of everything about keeping the quality of Kahlua drinks on a high level.
If you are madly in love with Kahlua, you can make your own beverage. All you need are white rum, sugar, and strong brewed coffee. Once you have stirred coffee and sugar in a pan on the stove, you will get syrup. Let it cool off and pour it into white rum. Voila! It is that simple.
You can store it the same way as the original Kahlua as the ingredients are almost the same. It can also last for four years, but you should bear in mind that it doesn’t have an original seal. So, it is probably better to drink it as soon as possible.
The Risk if Consuming an Expired Kahlua
Since the Kahlua’s main ingredients are rum, coffee, and sugar, the risk of drinking expired beverage is not significant, and there are usually no problems after consumption. While the taste can go pale, and the drink becomes less flavored, it is not considered to be unsafe and dangerous when it goes bad.
Any alcoholic drink can make you feel sick, and it can even make you vomit when consuming too much of it. The same thing is with the Kahlua drink. As it has rum and is sweet, you should be careful when drinking it as it hits fast, and you will not even feel it coming.
You may also experience some irritation and unpleasantness if you are sensitive to some of the Kahlua’s ingredients. However, there are no health risks of consuming this coffee liqueur past the expiration date other than losing its specific characteristics.
Can you freeze Kahlua?
What happens when you freeze Kahlua is that you spoil the texture of your drink. The reason for that is its ingredients, including a lot of sugar and rum. The alcohol in rum will be hard to freeze, while the sugar will lump.
As a result, it will be hard to pour it into a glass once thawed. Besides, that will negatively affect the texture of the drinks you make by using Kahlua. Instead of having a ‘liqueurish’ drink that you can easily mix, you will get chunked and thick consistency.
In case you want to put Kahlua on ice to cool it a bit, make sure not to stay there for more than half an hour. That way, you will reach a perfect temperature without destroying the characteristics of the original drink.
No harm will come to you if you consume expired or spoiled Kahlua. However, the taste will be less aromatic, less intense, and less characteristic.
In that case, there is no point in serving and drinking this fantastic drink. The experience of drinking it should be coffee-like, rum-like, and sweet-like if you look for a perfect combination.