In this brief guide, we will address the question, “Does vodka go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does vodka take to go bad or what are some of the storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of vodka.
Does vodka go bad?
Once opened, a bottle of vodka will eventually and inevitably go bad. Any food item will go bad if you are not storing it properly; so will vodka. Vodka has a longer shelf life than most liquors; it can be stored from few to several years depending upon the storage and handling practices.
A sealed bottle of vodka can last indefinitely, but once you break the seal, oxygen and light oxidize the alcohol. The oxidation doesn’t make the liquor dangerous, per se, but it probably won’t taste too good. The shelf life of vodka is indefinite, but if vodka develops an off odour, flavour or appearance, it should be discarded for quality purposes
Usually, the labels on the vodka bottles indicate the life span of 5-10 years. It can be prolonged up to 20 or more years by storing it properly. The best by dates do not tell that products has gone bad; these dates do not have anything to do with its safety but with flavour and freshness.
How to tell if vodka has gone bad
Do you have a bottle of vodka that has been sitting in the pantry for a long time? Check the lot code, then look for these tell-tale signs to see if it is still safe to consume:
Flavour change: Alcohol evaporates faster than water, so the liquor is getting slightly weaker throughout the years. Get rid of the liqueur if it tastes stale or bland.
Odd smell: If you can smell a sour or foul odour from the bottle, throw it away.
Colour change: Pour the vodka into a clear glass. Discard it if you see some discolouration, curdling, sugar crystals, or residue floating around.
Mold: The alcohol content makes vodka a difficult environment for mold and bacteria. But if you see some mold on the vodka, discard it immediately.
Opened Bottle: If the bottle is already opened or the cap is loose, toss it. Vodka cannot be left unsealed for an extended period.
If you have an old bottle of vodka that is tightly sealed in good storage, and without the signs of spoilage we mentioned above, you can still add it to your food or drinks. It won’t make you sick. However, it may not taste as great as fresh vodka.
How to store vodka properly
The storage remains the same for all types of flavoured vodka. If you store your vodka properly, the flavour will take longer to fade, and you will be set for the next 20 or more years.
Keep your vodka longer by observing the following storage tips:
- Store vodka away from heat or direct sunlight. Store it in a cool, dark place, like the wine cellar, pantry, or kitchen cabinet.
- A fridge is also a great option, and it keeps your vodka chilled and ready to drink. Only refrigerate how much you need if your bottle is usually stored in the pantry or cupboard, as temperature fluctuations can affect the texture of your vodka.
- Tightly seal the vodka when not in use to retain its flavour, prevent the alcohol from oxidizing, and reduce the evaporation. The flavour component of this liqueur is sensitive to air exposure.
- If a small amount of vodka is leftover in a bottle, pour the remaining liqueur in a small glass bottle. The less air in a bottle the slower the oxidation process goes, and that means the flavour will remain great for longer.
Vodka does not freeze because alcohol has an extremely low freezing point. Also, Freezing vodka bottles is not preferable as it can last longer if stored properly in the pantry. Freezing actually makes vodka thicker and less flavorful, since it suppresses volatile compounds.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “Does vodka go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does vodka take to go bad or what are some of the storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of vodka.