Can vodka go bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can vodka go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not vodka goes bad. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of vodka, factors affecting the quality of vodka, and the proper way to store vodka.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can vodka go bad?

When it comes to vodka, no doubt that owing to its high alcoholic content it has a very long shelf life and can last for ages if it is stored properly. So it does not go bad in the conventional terms but like every other food item after a certain time, it begins to lose its potency, thus with time its flavor, aroma, and quality begin to degrade. 

Thus, we can say that vodka won’t have the molds in it (until and unless you intentionally keep the bottle without a lid in a humid environment for a long time for the obnoxious agents and contaminants to enter the bottle) but it will start to lose its flavor.

How long does vodka last?

As we already said that vodka lasts for an indefinite time but there is still some time limit in which you can enjoy the best quality and flavor of your vodka but again it is all a matter of your taste preference, how you like your vodka to be.

No doubt that the unopened bottle of vodka lasts for ages but an opened bottle of vodka retains its best flavor for about 10-20 years or even more depending upon the storage conditions it is kept into.

When it comes to refrigeration, then there is no need to refrigerate vodka if the only reason behind refrigeration is to prolong its shelf life because a properly stored vodka lasts almost indefinitely even if stored in the pantry but if the reason behind refrigeration is to chill your vodka so that you can gulp down a chilled vodka then you can go ahead.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the vodka and vodka lasts almost indefinitely, provided that it is stored properly.

What is the alcoholic content of vodka?

vodka contains at least 40% ABV (Alcohol by volume) in its formulation.

Is vodka safe to drink after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the bottle of vodka refers to more of quality rather than safety so vodka doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. It is the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of vodka but you can still use vodka that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

What are the factors that affect the quality of vodka once it gets opened?

Once you open your bottle of vodka, you will notice that its flavor starts to fade slowly with time. The two factors that are responsible for this gradual change are oxygen and the volatility of alcohol.

There are many volatile compounds present in the formulation of vodka and each time you open your vodka bottle, they evaporate a bit.

Moreover, each time you open your vodka bottle air (oxygen) enters your vodka that can initiate oxidation reactions in it, thereby decreasing the quality of the vodka. So the more oxygen that finds its way to your vodka bottle, the more will be the change in flavor that you will notice.

If you have a whole bottle of vodka, these changes won’t be noticeable and would hardly impact the quality of vodka but if you are only left with one or two drinks of vodka in the bottle then you will feel a noticeable difference in the taste.

How to properly store vodka?

  1. The vodka starts to lose its characteristic flavor when it comes in contact with the air and sunlight owing to the oxidation reactions. Therefore to seal the freshness of vodka for quite a long time we recommend you always close the lid/cap of the vodka bottle as soon as you are done pouring the vodka that you need.
  2. Once your vodka bottle has been opened, it is recommended to always seal or close the cap of the bottle properly to minimize its air exposure.
  3. On the other hand, an unopened bottle of vodka can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat and it can stay there for quite a long time.
  4. Temperature fluctuations can degrade the quality of the vodka so you should take care of this.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “does vodka go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not vodka goes bad. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of vodka, factors affecting the quality of vodka, and the proper way to store vodka


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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