Does Gin Go Bad? How Long Does It Last Once Opened?

Not everyone can finish the whole bottle of gin in just one sitting. Then it will usually remain in the liquor cabinet, for who knows when is the next time you have the mood for it.

As months go by, you have another home occasion to celebrate and find that there’s so much gin left in the bottle. Then you started asking yourself, “Does gin go bad?”, “Is it safe to serve this gin to my guests?” “Does it still taste good as before?”

Generally, liquors like gin can last for an extended period because it has a high alcohol percentage. The only way for your gin to lose its quality is if you have kept it in the wrong storage condition.

In this article, we are going to provide the answers to these important questions:

  • Can gin go bad?
  • What is the shelf life of gin?
  • How to tell if gin has gone bad?
  • How to store gin properly?

If you’re excited to learn more about gin, let’s get down to business.

What is Gin?

image of unopened gin bottle shelf life

Gin is a neutral distilled spirit made from grains like wheat or barley, and it is flavored with botanicals like herbs, flowers, seeds, or some spices. Gin can also be made from grapes or potatoes.

For most, gin is known for its pine flavor that comes from juniper berries. Gin has a high alcohol content which is around 35 percent per volume or 70 proof.

Gin is popularly mixed in a so-called iconic drink called gin tonic. It is also used as the main ingredient for classic martinis and other fantastic cocktail recipes.

What is the shelf life of gin?

The great news about a pure bottle of high-quality gin, whether open or unopened, can actually last for an indefinite time! Yes, you can keep it for several years without going bad under recommended storage conditions.

Knowing that you can actually keep it as long as you want, just expect that the taste and quality of an opened bottle of gin will slowly depreciate if it is frequently exposed to oxygen in the air

If you are after for its best tasting quality, we recommend that you finish the whole bottle within two years after opening it.

Take note that gin is not like wine. It means that gins do not improve as they age. The quality of an unopened bottle of gin will remain the same no matter how long you have kept it in your liquor cabinet. Anyway, you can still keep it there indefinitely!

On the other hand, if we talk about flavored gins, their shelf life is shorter compared to pure gin. You will only have a few months to consume the whole bottle before its quality goes bland.

How To Tell if Gin Has Gone Bad?

If you don’t regularly drink your gin, it is a slight possibility that it can go bad in taste and quality.

Thus, before you chug a glass of gin that has been stored for a long time, you should do a quick quality check just to make sure if it still holds its prime.

These are the signs that you should notice if your gin’s quality has gone bad:

1. It smells strange.

You should know what a good quality gin should smell. If your opened bottle of gin has been sitting in the storage for quite some time and it has been exposed to oxygen, it will smell a little off.

2. It has some foreign particles or impurities in the liquid.

If you think the smell of your gin is pleasing enough, pour the alcohol into a glass, then check the liquid to see if there are any particles floating in there. Your drink must be free from any impurities.

3. It tastes bland.

If the smell and appearance of your gin are all good, the last thing that you have to check is the taste.

If any of these undesirable qualities are present in your gin, this is a good sign that you should get a fresh bottle of this alcohol. You don’t want to serve a lousy-tasting gin to your guests. And, you will indeed not even drink it as well.

If you have a feeling that your gin seems fine, but it’s not as potent as it used to be, feel free to make a classic gin and tonic or other drinks.

Apparently, cases of gin going spoiled is extremely rare. However, the flavor and taste will gradually diminish once the bottle is opened and if you have stored it incorrectly.

How To Store Gin Properly?

Storing is just low-maintenance. This is what you should do to prevent your gin from going bad:

1. Close the gin bottle tightly.

As much as possible, your bottle should be tightly closed to minimize the chances of your alcohol evaporating quickly. Remember that alcohol is volatile, and it evaporates faster than water. If that happens, the potency of your gin will become weaker as time goes by.

2. Keep it in a cool and dark place (opened or unopened bottle)

Keep them in your kitchen pantry or liquor cabinet. Heat sources and direct light speed up the oxidation process in liquors. These factors destroy your gin’s flavor component.

3. Put it in the freezer.

If you don’t have other options to store your gin, you can actually put it in the freezer. Although gin does not apparently freeze, at least it is safely kept away from heat and direct sunlight.

4. Decant it into a smaller bottle.

Do this step if you have a half-drunk bottle left. You will need as little air as possible to minimize oxidation. This is also one way you can save the best-tasting qualities of your remaining gin.

5. Store gin bottles upright.

Do this, especially if the bottle has a cork lid. It should be in an upright position in your dark cupboard so that the alcohol will not ruin the cork. If that happens, it can affect the flavor of your gin.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should gin be refrigerated?

It is not a requirement that you should refrigerate gin. However, it also doesn’t mean that you cannot put it in the refrigerator. Keeping it at room temperature or in the fridge will not make a difference to the alcohol’s quality.

2. Can I drink expired gin?

If you’re worried that there’s an expiration date on the bottle’s label, remember that alcohol does not generally spoil. Manufacturers are just mandated to put expiration dates on their products.

Yes, you can drink that bottle of gin even if it has passed the date as long as it is stored correctly all the time. All you have to do is just do a quick check to make sure if it still holds its prime.


Keeping gin in the proper storage condition can significantly maintain its original quality and flavor. Gin has an indefinite shelf life, especially if it is still unopened.

Note that gin does not really go bad; only the quality starts to degrade once you open the bottle. That’s why you’ll have to finish the bottle in a few years.

Before serving that bottle of gin that you have kept in the storage for a long time, we advise you to check the smell, appearance, and taste to find out if they are still good enough to be shared with your guests.

That’s all for this post. Enjoy your gin and drink responsibly!

image of does gin go bad

Up Next: Does Bourbon Go Bad? How Long Does Bourbon Last?

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