Booze Gone Bad
As we slowly open the door to the possibility of having more than two or three guests over at a time, I decided that I needed to go through my liquor cabinet to make sure that there wasn’t anything sus in there.
Guess what? A year is a very long time for booze, too.
Now, the higher proof liquor is almost always safe. Bourbon, rum, gin, tequila, and scotch with high alcohol by volume (ABV) do not spoil. They will lose some of their characteristics, particularly the smokey whiskeys, within a month or two of opening. This is due to the oxidation process that begins when the bottle is opened. Once opened, the spirit will lose its potency over time, but we’re talking 10 years or so. Still drinkable, but the quality will not be the same. Vodka is the same except for the flavored kind. Those should be enjoyed within 90 days as the natural and artificial flavors have a much shorter shelf life than the vodka it’s in.
Cordials and liqueurs are not as lucky. They may survive up to two years on the shelf. Cream based products like Irish creme or Kahlua may last only 18 months. Refrigeration is not necessary, as long as it’s kept in a cool dry place, just like all of your other spirits.
Wine can survive if uncorked and stored in a cool dark place on it’s side, which helps keep the cork moist. Once opened, it should be enjoyed within 3 days. After that you can start using it as cleaning vinegar, but only the white wine. Unless you dig red streaks on your window. Your call.
Beer is our friend! It deserves a special place in the fridge, but if it gets warm do not despair! You can chill it again and the flavor will remain intact! That’s right! The temperature change does not skunk the beer, contrary to what I had always believed. That’s caused by humulone, a compound contained in hops, which all beers are brewed with. Once it gets exposed to UV light, it’s toast. Clear glass blocks nothing, green glass blocks 25%, and brown glass blocks 99% of light but can still get skunked and very quickly. Cans clock in at 100%, so choose them for outside activities. Refrigerated beer not exposed to UV light can last up to 6 months. Shelf beer will go bad in weeks, so take care of your buddy!
So, in summation, all manner of alcoholic beverages have a greater chance of lasting longer if given a fighting chance. Armed with this knowledge, it is time to do some spring cleaning of your own. And for heaven’s sake, if it looks bad, don’t taste it! If it don’t look right or pass the sniff test, toss it. Your friends are looking forward to seeing you soon, not visiting the ER after imbibing on what you passed off as Aunt Eileen’s homemade chunky Irish creme. Sláinte!