Does Cognac Go Bad? Find Out If Your Liqueur Spoiled!


When we think cognac, we think, “wow, fancy sipper for fancy dinners and parties!”

You’ve probably got a bottle of cognac sitting around in your liqueur cabinet, waiting for you to enjoy. But wait! What if you don’t remember how long it’s been since you sipped that cognac? Does cognac go bad, and will you spend the night retching if you drank “spoiled” alcohol?

Great news, folks, because cognac does NOT go bad! We hate to break it to you, but cognac will lose its flavor and quality over time, so you better drink that bottle of yours quickly!

Kidding aside, find out whether your cognac is salvageable or if it needs tossing here.

Does Cognac Go Bad?

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Cognac is more than just a fancy drink from the French! Made of Ugni Blanc grapes with small amounts of Folle Blanc and Colombard, you can already tell it will taste as elegant as it sounds.

So, on to the million-dollar question: does cognac go bad?

Short answer – Nope, cognac doesn’t go bad! Like many alcoholic beverages, it can last indefinitely when unopened. That’s all thanks to the high percentage of alcohol cognac contains (about 40% ABV!). Because of the ABV, your cognac won’t come across bacterial contamination.

You can keep your unopened bottle of cognac for 10-20 years and still enjoy its fantastic aroma and flavor. Kudos to you for your patience because we’d be opening up our liqueur bottles days after purchasing them! However, if you notice the cork deteriorating (usually after two decades), it’s best to open it or replace the cover immediately.

Pro-tip: We pronounce cognac as kon-yak, with its name coming from its origin location, Cognac, France. Think of this liqueur as the Champagne of brandy.

Okay, so cognac doesn’t go bad at all. So, does that mean it can last forever, and I can drink it even after decades?

We’re not sure why your cognac will last THAT long in the first place since it’s that delicious, but to answer your question – Yes, it’s possible. BUT only if you have an unopened bottle stored in proper conditions. Don’t worry; we’ll talk about how to properly store cognac under our Frequently Asked Questions section.

If you already opened the bottle, you better guzzle up all that liqueur! Kidding. Cognac will still taste great for about six months to one year, but you might notice the flavor and aroma decreasing during that time.

That said, improper storage can have your cognac last for a shorter period, sometimes losing its quality within mere weeks of opening. When you expose your cognac to heat, sunlight, air, and oxygen, the quality degrades. (*)

How Can You Tell If Cognac Has Gone Bad?

If you’re sure you stored your cognac correctly and it hasn’t reached over a year since you had a drink, go ahead and pop that bottle open again! But for those who aren’t confident in how long their cognac’s been sitting in their cabinets, it’s best to give it a test before serving and drinking.

You’ll know if your cognac has gone bad if it has a dull taste. Moreover, it may have a slightly cloudy appearance. Other than that, it’s tough to discern whether your cognac isn’t as good as it was before. You’ll need to rely on your tastebuds heavily!

While some experts can detect the slightest changes in cognac quality, others don’t notice much. If it still tastes fine, it’s still worth enjoying.

What we do know is that the moment you see floating things around your cognac, or it has drastically changed in appearance, aroma, or flavor, it’s time to throw that out and purchase a new one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the answer to “does cognac go bad?”, let’s talk more about this alcoholic beverage.

1. How do you store cognac?

As with most liqueurs, you’ll want to store cognac in a cool and dry area. Wine cellars, cupboards, anywhere without contact with direct sunlight or on top of appliances like stoves and microwaves.

Pro-tip: Besides placing it in a proper area, make sure you keep your bottle in an upright position, preventing the spirit from meeting the cork. You may also want to transfer a half-empty cognac bottle into smaller bottles, reducing the contact with oxygen.

2. Should I place cognac in the fridge?

While you may want to place cognac in the fridge alongside milk and fruit juices, we actually advise against it. It’s best to drink cognac at room temperature. If you store cognac somewhere below room temperature, like in a cellar, let the bottle sit out for an hour at room temperature before serving.

The same goes for heating cognac. It would be best never to heat cognac as the alcohol evaporates, destroying the drink’s aromas and flavors.

3. What is the best cognac brand?

The next time you purchase cognac, we highly recommend Tres Vielle Grande Champagne Cognac or Roland Bru Extra Cognac to bring on the fanciness. The most popular cognacs around are Hennessy and Remy Martin, which are also great cognac brands you can enjoy.

4. Can old cognac cause food poisoning?

Fortunately, no! Alcoholic beverages won’t expire to the point it causes sickness; they won’t spoil the same way food or other beverages do. If you drink old or “spoiled” cognac, the worst consequence is getting an upset stomach.

If you drink too much, the worst would be a drunken night and a hangover later in the morning!

In Conclusion

Does cognac go bad? It does, but not in the ways you think! You can still enjoy that old bottle of cognac, but make sure you taste it before serving, or you might end up giving people flat cognac without realizing it. Even if you accidentally ingest poor-quality cognac, you won’t have to worry about getting sick.

Hopefully, we answered your question on whether cognac can spoil or not. Continue learning more about liqueurs here at Nomspedia!

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