Alcoholic Beverages
Food Spoilage

Do alcoholic beverages have an expiration date?

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2014-04-09 16:18:53

"That_depends" id="That_depends">That depends

That depends on the type of beverage. Spirits don't go bad. In

fact, many improve in the bottle, even ones that have been opened.

I recently came into possession of five bottles of Scotch, one of

them dating to WWII, a Haig & Haig Five Star with the

silk-screened lettering on the bottle. It was as good, if not

better, than the day it was bottled.

Other spirits -- gin, vodka, brandy, various whiskeys, rum,

tequila, etc. -- do not go bad.

One word about brandies: I was talking about authentic brandy

(or Cognac), not the fruit-flavored stuff usually having a very

high sugar content and relatively low alcohol content. It has been

my experience that they oxidize over time, especially if the

bottle's been opened. I'm talking YEARS, though, not months. They

are still drinkable; they won't make you ill. But you may not enjoy

the flavor; they have a strange "maderized" taste.

Stuff like Bailey's Irish Cream should be consumed pretty

quickly, however. Even in the fridge, it doesn't last forever.

Wines don't have an expiration date, but few are age-worthy.

Most are made to be drunk young. Unopened and stored properly,

however, they have a long shelf life. Fine wines, particularly big,

brawny reds, may improve with age as the tannins soften and other

chemical changes take place. If stored improperly -- heat and light

can be devastating -- wines quickly oxidize and break down.

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