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Shelf Life of Hard Liquor?

Marie Louise's picture

Here's an article in today's LA Times about artisan spirits.

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-barmakeover17-2008dec17,0,3051591.story

The article mentions that opened bottles of liquor only last 3-4 months, maybe a year. "The real reason to get rid of the old, opened stuff in your liquor cabinet is that it's likely to have deteriorated. Leading liquor writer F. Paul Pacult, author of "Kindred Spirits 2," a collection of spirits reviews and tasting notes, estimates the shelf life of opened bottles of spirits at just three to four months. I'm more liberal (or less discerning) and think up to a year is fine."

A year??? Really??? I had no idea!!! We don't use much hard liquor, but have a "full liquor cabinet" for the rare times we want to make a cocktail. We keep stuff around for years and years. Should I throw it all out? If it only lasts a year, then our cocktail menu is going to shrink a lot!

Canuck's picture

(post #36841, reply #1 of 91)

I have plenty of liquor and have had it ages too. I couldn't afford to throw it all out. DH's family has a bar with open bottles older than me :)


After a bad experience, I can tell you that unrefrigerated opened Baileys definitely should not be consumed.

Ozark's picture

(post #36841, reply #3 of 91)

I got a gift of bailey's,  unopened, that was in the closet for 2 years. Opened it and wouldn't even pour, was solid.

 


 I have made a lot of money in my life. Most of it I spent on women and boats. The rest I simply wasted!!

 

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

Jean's picture

(post #36841, reply #4 of 91)

I guess we'd better start sipping our Bailey's then.  Hmmm.



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samchang's picture

(post #36841, reply #7 of 91)

Spin the bottle with some epoisse?

Jean's picture

(post #36841, reply #16 of 91)

Heh heh.


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Canuck's picture

(post #36841, reply #5 of 91)

That's weird. Good, clear sign of undrinkable liquor though :)

assibams's picture

(post #36841, reply #30 of 91)

Nononono, that is merely 'hard' liquor, snort


Resist the temptation to over-clean. After all, how many times do you need to kill the same germ.

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teebee's picture

(post #36841, reply #24 of 91)

I just looked on my Bailey's and it says to store between 41 and 77 degrees F. Of course, Bailey's doesn't last very long at my house...

My sister had a bottle go bad. She was going to use it in cheesecake, but it smelled and looked bad. She doesn't like it, so I'm not sure why or how long she had it. I probably bought it the last time I was there 3 years ago!

PeterDurand's picture

(post #36841, reply #2 of 91)

LA Times or not, I don't buy that theory.

Cheers,

Peter

 


Better life through Zoodles and poutine...
Carole4's picture

(post #36841, reply #25 of 91)

Me neither. We once drank a Rose from France that was 30 years old and it was great. Hard liquor does not spoil.

Heather's picture

(post #36841, reply #6 of 91)

We've had some for years because we never drink it. I'll ask my liquor-imbibing friends what they do.

I guess the stuff that we moved here 31 years ago should go. LOL

Marcia's picture

(post #36841, reply #8 of 91)

We drink almost no hard liquor but have a plethora of it. In our experience, most things keep for years with no problem.

TracyK's picture

(post #36841, reply #10 of 91)

Ditto. I still have a bottle of rum I brought back from the Bahamas when I went with my two-bfs-ago bf, LOL.


"The reason I don't worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I'll take those odds every day."
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Marie Louise's picture

(post #36841, reply #12 of 91)

I like that-you can date your cabinet not by years, but by BFs.

TracyK's picture

(post #36841, reply #15 of 91)

I can't remember the years at this point. LOL.


Or let me rephrase -- to remember the years would require too much thought, ie "Hmmm, I dated Paul from May 1998 to August 2002, did we go to the Bahamas in 2001 or 2000? Do I remember having to take my shoes off in the airport on the way there?"


;-)



"The reason I don't worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I'll take those odds every day."
                                                        --Jon Stewart

Marcia's picture

(post #36841, reply #14 of 91)

LOL, indeed. What an interesting and unique way to date the things in your liquor cabinet -- I love it.

ashleyd's picture

(post #36841, reply #9 of 91)

Some people do write utter rubbish don't they? If you have a very skilled palate then you might discern a slight loss of some of the more volatile elements in a bottle of hard liquor. But for the average palate with the average spirit it can be years before you would notice, except maybe in a side by side tasting of fresh and opened, and even then you probably wouldn't care.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #36841, reply #11 of 91)

And we're making Margaritas, Mai Tais, Lemon Drops, etc. You know, the stereotypical stuff that people drink on their patios in the summer. Lots of other flavors to mask stale liquor, LOL.

ashleyd's picture

(post #36841, reply #13 of 91)

Not so much stale as lacking a few top notes, remember alcohol is a wonderful preservative.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

SquarePeg's picture

(post #36841, reply #17 of 91)

I don't buy that.


Obviously some of the cremes might not last, but hard liquor should be fine.


Remember, properly stored, some of these liquors come to us after 18-30 years in casks. They just get better...


Straight distillations might  lose some water and become more alcoholic!


There's no chance of oxidation like wine, no botritis, not cork germs....alcohol is a great preservative.


 

MadMom's picture

(post #36841, reply #18 of 91)

If you decide to throw all of yours out after reading that article, I'm sure that someone nearby will take them.  Hell, we've got some liquor we moved here when we moved almost three years ago, and it was old then.  When we moved, we did give our realtor about three big boxes full of opened bottles, which she gladly took.  I think the article was written by someone who wants to boost the liquor business.



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Marie Louise's picture

(post #36841, reply #19 of 91)

Nope, I'm reassured by all the comments here. I had never heard that it went bad, but then we all know people who think spices last 20 years, too, so I wanted to verify with more knowledgeable drinkers.

soupereasy's picture

(post #36841, reply #20 of 91)

ROFL!
Don't know how knowledgeable a drinker I am.
I keep it until the bottle is empty.
I imagine I have many bottles that are legally able to drink. ;)

SquarePeg's picture

(post #36841, reply #21 of 91)

I keep them until they are gone. Only thing that's ever gone bad is Bailey's and a Creme de Menthe.


However, if all y'all are worried about it, I suggest you drink faster! =)

Florida2's picture

(post #36841, reply #22 of 91)

My dad said it lasts forever cuz its alcohol. I dunno. I have some liquor like whiskey thats probably close to ten years old maybe. We rarely drink hard stuff.

MadMom's picture

(post #36841, reply #23 of 91)

I probably have bottles which are approaching the legal age where they can join me for a drink!


Never heard that Bailey's went bad; I have some Bailey's and some rum cream that I need to check to see if they have left the building.  If not, better drink them quick. 


Last night, I was going to get into my Kohler sok tub for the first time since the surgery.  Back was hurting, and it seemed to be a really good idea.  DH promised me a Baileys or glass of wine or both.  I had the brilliant idea that I needed to get into the tub dry and see if I could crawl out before I filled it with water.  Well, busted my bottom as I got in, then couldn't get out.  Remember, this thing is about 3' deep and has no handholds to speak of.  I tried for about five minutes, then finally called Ray to come help me.  Finalliy made it out, mostly on my own, which was what I wanted.  He offered to go get the walker and put it in there and let me pull myself up, but I was just too upset to even think of it.  I don't want to be old...and I'm gonna slap the first person who tells me it's better than the alternative.  I will master the tub, if it kills me, and it might.  It would be so nice to soak up to your chin.  Took a steam bath in the shower, which wasn't quite the same.  I'll figure something out.




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
Jean's picture

(post #36841, reply #27 of 91)

Boy do I feel for you!


We have this huge jaccuzi tub (with handholds) that  up until last week I've been able to fill and 'float' myself out of. Well. Last week after DH had gone to bed upstairs I decided to take a bath and getting out, I slipped and just plain didn't have the strength to hoist myself out. I won't go into the unhappy details but I knew if I didn't get myself out, I was there until morning. He'd never hear me calling for help. We have a little bath stool next to the tub and I hauled that into the tub and managed somehow to throw my behind on to it. Even getting out after that was a comedy.  I was rewarded with some major bruises the next day.


Needless to say, it's showers for me from now on -- sad, I loved that tub.


Think of all the hot water I'm saving -- heh heh.



bellbutt.gif
And He shall reign forever and ever...


http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Amy's picture

(post #36841, reply #28 of 91)

Oh no! You can still take a bath in the jacuzzi!! even with a dirty martini! Just let someone know first :)

p.s. Glad you are ok. You too, Madmom!

Marcia's picture

(post #36841, reply #35 of 91)

Jean, that's just terrible. I'm so sorry that you had to go through an entire night without help -- it must have been a long night. :(

Jean's picture

(post #36841, reply #36 of 91)

OH, I must not have made it clear that I did finally manage to hoist myself on to the little stool. The prospect of shivering in the tub for 8 hours provided enough incentive -- Yikes!


bellbutt.gif
And He shall reign forever and ever...


http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need