Can Vodka go bad?

Is it time to throw away the bottle or should you still hang onto to it just a while longer to save that trip to the liquor store for later? If you have ever ransacked your liquor stash only to stumble upon a bottle of vodka that you bought a long while ago, these are probably the sort of questions that have been swirling around at the back of your mind. If you’ve ever found yourself in that sort of predicament then you came to the right place for answers as that’s exactly the subject of today’s discussion which is: can vodka go bad?

Vodka is Immortal

Lucky for you, the shelf life of vodka is extremely long (I’m talking about decades here) so if you only bought that bottle a few years back (or many years ago), then throwing it away would simply be a waste of good vodka. The longevity of vodka hinges upon whether it’s been opened before or not, however, in either case, vodka going bad isn’t really something you need worry about as it can be just as good 40 years later. It’s as if it were bought just the day before; vodka is a timeless spirit.

Opened vs. Unopened Vodka

If the bottle in question is sealed and hasn’t been opened since the day you bought it from the store, then the vodka is good for life so you need not grapple with the question “can vodka go bad?”

The airtight sealing ensures the vodka remains pure and that the proof remains just the right amount of potent to ward off bacteria and yeast. It’ll never go bad and will be good enough for a drink even till your children’s children start drinking.

Once the cork or seal goes off, then the chemical composition of the vodka begins to change since the spirit is exposed to the atmosphere. This creates impurities that can cause further bacterial growth and initiates the potential threat of disease (so we can’t recommend you keep a bottle of vodka forever, or we’ll get in trouble). However, that’s not to mean that the vodka will start to go bad, no, not at all. Even then you still get a couple of decades out of it, however, the more important aspect that begins to change is the taste. After a decade or so, an opened bottle will begin to lose its taste and texture, however, the process is extremely slow so you might not even notice this.

Flavored Vodkas

While standard vodka is pretty much ageless since it is essentially a distilled spirit, heavily flavored varieties aren’t as durable. Due to the incorporation of organic fruits or vegetables and whatnot, the lifespan is drastically shortened.

It is advisable to consume any opened bottle of vodka within the first two years of purchase to beat expiration. However, two years seems a pretty long time to have a good bottle of vodka lying around if you ask me.

So, will my vodka go bad?

In a nutshell, the simple answer to that is a strong no as vodka is literally a timeless drink. However, there are regulated expiration dates we suggest you adhere to, and once opened, it’s taste hinges upon how well you store it. A clean, dry and cool place away from direct sunlight is the ideal space to keep this deliciously timeless spirit.

Also, be sure to close the seal tight before storage and that the cupboard or cabinet you store it in isn’t exposed to extreme temperatures e.g. it shouldn’t be right above your cooking area or very close to any windows.


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