Amaretto’s Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad or Expire? How To Tell!


You’re probably here because you have a bottle of once-refreshing amaretto sitting around in your fridge or liqueur cabinet. Don’t worry; we’ve been there before; it’s not our first rodeo!

We can’t tell you the countless times we’ve left our favorite bottles of half-empty liqueurs forgotten because we were so busy drinking new ones and exploring the beauty of alcoholic beverages!

This must have you question, “does amaretto go bad, and is my bottle still worth drinking?” I mean, it’s alcohol, so we can use it indefinitely, right?

Short Answer: 

Yes and no. Like other liqueurs, amaretto won't spoil, and if it does, it's very unlikely. That said, we don't recommend leaving it out in the open for so long, or it deteriorates in aroma, flavor, and quality. Definitely not something you’d like to serve or use for cocktails and dishes.

We’ve got more to talk about with amaretto’s shelf life and spoilage. Read on to find out!


Does Amaretto Go Bad?

image of Amaretto Go Bad

Amaretto is a sweet and fancy Italian liqueur made of almonds, peach stones, or apricot kernels, giving it a fantastic almond flavor. (*)

Fun fact: Amaretto is not amaro! Amaretto has a slightly bitter aftertaste but overall almond taste, with the term meaning “a little bitter” in Italian.

You can easily find amaretto in liqueur stores or major supermarkets, using it in many ways. But sometimes, we can’t help but leave bottles of our favorite liqueur around. This begs you to question, “does amaretto go bad?”

If you were expecting it to never spoil because of its alcohol content, you’re right! Amaretto would only spoil when under poor storage conditions; it isn’t likely for bacteria to develop in the alcohol.

But that isn’t to say that amaretto doesn’t lose its quality. After opening your amaretto, it would start to lose its quality because of oxidation, among other factors. While you can safely drink an opened bottle of amaretto even after a few years, we don’t think your nose and tastebuds will enjoy it at all.

So, How Long Does Amaretto Last Before It Starts Losing Its Fantastic Aroma and Flavor?

Amaretto purists claim to consume amaretto within six months for the best quality. However, you can still enjoy amaretto for a few years after opening it. If you have an unopened bottle of amaretto, it keeps its quality for up to 20 years.

Why Does Amaretto’s Quality Deteriorate?

It all boils down to an interesting process called oxidation. It would be best to decant your amaretto in a smaller bottle when you have already consumed a significant amount. Doing so limits the liqueur’s oxygen exposure.

Amaretto also loses its quality because of temperature fluctuations. Because of that, you must store your bottle of amaretto somewhere relatively cool without any sun.

Finally, amaretto can spoil if contaminants get into the bottle. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you keep the bottle cap on tightly, sealing it properly.

How to Know If Amaretto Has Gone Bad?

While amaretto doesn’t usually go bad, there are instances where it spoils because of poor storing. If you’re unsure of whether it’s fine to drink your long-opened bottle of amaretto, watch out for these signs:

  • Watch out for an off odor, just like you would with spoiled food or drinks (like milk).
  • Check if the color changed significantly, going from vibrant amber to other shades.
  • Take a small sip of amaretto. If it tastes sour or bitter, it’s time to throw it away.

When amaretto ages within six months, it loses its sweet, nutty flavor, becoming bitter and losing its thick consistency. You can drink and enjoy aged amaretto, but if you don't like this flavor, you can use it in cooking or cocktails.

Storage Tips for Amaretto

Obviously, you’ll want your amaretto to last as long as possible. So do we! One of the most important things to do to retain amaretto’s quality is to store it properly.

Like most liqueurs, store it in a cool, dark area. Never leave it out under the sun or exposed to light and moisture. This can cause the chemicals in amaretto’s alcohol content to spoil.

We suggest storing it in a clean basement, cupboard, or pantry to keep it from spoiling or losing its quality too quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re left with more questions about amaretto, check out our frequently asked questions section below for more information (*):

1. Can I freeze amaretto?

While it’s possible, we highly discourage it as it’s tough and dangerous to freeze. Since it’s an alcohol, you can’t freeze it, and if it freezes, the water in the amaretto may damage the container.

Alcohol contains a lower freezing point than water, so you’ll need a very cold freezer. Moreover, the water will expand as it freezes, causing the bottle to crack or break in the freezer, especially when sealed or full.

If you do freeze your bottle of amaretto, we recommend throwing the bottle than thawing it.

2. Where do you use amaretto?

You can serve amaretto on its own, either neat or on the rocks as a post-dinner drink. You can also enjoy it in numerous cocktail recipes like the Amaretto Sour, Sidecar, or Godfather. It also pairs well with mixers like fruit juices and liqueurs like brandy, vodka, whiskey, and rum.

Try to cook with amaretto as well, with its nutty flavors and alcohol content perfect for baking and flavoring desserts like cookies, cakes, icings, or even sauces. Pour a splash of amaretto over ice cream, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful and boozy snack!

3. What’s the best-by date on amaretto bottles?

You probably noticed that amaretto has a best-by label, so doesn’t that mean amaretto does go bad? No, it just means when it’s best to consume it, but it doesn’t mean your amaretto is spoiled. Just note that there might be a different consistency and flavor compared to when you first got it.

Wrapping It Up

Amaretto is a delicious alcoholic beverage that, fortunately, does not spoil easily. However, it still loses its quality over time, so if you’ve got a bottle of amaretto, you now have a reason to guzzle up the entire thing!

Jokes aside, don’t let your amaretto go to waste, and make sure you use it within a few months to truly enjoy its aroma and flavor.

We hope we answered your question, “does amaretto go bad?” If you want to learn more about your favorite liqueurs and dishes, check out our other blog posts here at Nomspedia!

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