Does Limoncello Go Bad? Find Out Now!


If you don’t have a bottle of Limoncello in your liqueur cabinet, this is your sign of having one now. We love this liqueur, whether on its own or in refreshing cocktails, because of the tang it gives! However, those who already own a bottle of Limoncello waiting for consumption are probably wondering, “does Limoncello go bad?”

If your bottle of Limoncello has been waiting for a few months, or even years, here’s the good news: Given the alcohol content in Limoncello, it won’t spoil quickly, if it even ever does. However, like many liqueurs we tackled at Nomspedia, Limoncello can lose its flavor over time, and you must store it properly for it to last long. (*)

Let’s take a closer look at the lifespan of Limoncello below!

Does Limoncello Go Bad?

Limoncello is a popular sweet liqueur we serve chilled on its own, in cocktails, or with mixers with soda, water, or other hard liqueurs. Originating in Italy, locals have consumed Limoncello as a digestif for years! (*)

So, given its alcohol content, does Limoncello go bad? Not in ways you’d expect. Because of its alcohol content, Limoncello can last for years without losing its overall quality… If unopened and stored correctly, that is.

However, if you have already opened your Limoncello bottle, we recommend drinking it within a week if left unrefrigerated or a month if stored in the fridge. You may store it in the freezer, which can last for about a year. But over time, you’ll notice its aroma and flavor fading.

Fun fact: Did you know that Limoncello offers health benefits? It contains lemon oil, a carminative, the reason why we categorize Limoncello as a digestif. Limoncello helps with digestion after a sumptuous meal and can work as a stress-reliever thanks to the lemon aroma.

Why does your Limoncello lose its quality after opening? Like other liqueurs and beverages, it’s due to oxidation and air, moisture, and heat exposure. While mold and bacteria will find it challenging to infest the alcoholic beverage, oxidation ruins Limoncello’s flavor over time.

How to Tell If Limoncello is Spoiled

You can easily tell whether your Limoncello has gone bad, and your senses will play a vital role here! Watch out for these signs:

  • Smell: Open your bottle and take a whiff. If you notice a change in smell, whether it’s an overpowering alcohol smell or sour, fermented lemons, the quality diminishes significantly.
  • Appearance: Pour Limoncello into a clear glass and inspect its color. The liquid might appear cloudier or faded, so it’s best to throw it away.
  • Flavor: Limoncello should taste fresh and zesty, having a balanced sugary and lemony flavor with a hint of alcohol. But if it tastes much sourer than usual, it may indicate your liqueur has lost its quality.

How to Store Limoncello Properly

Are you wondering how to maintain Limoncello’s quality for as long as possible? It would be best if you stored it properly, following these tips:

  • Some people recommend keeping Limoncello in the freezer before serving for a more enjoyable experience. Others suggest it has Limoncello last longer. However, we advise against it, with the manufacturers saying there’s no added benefit to storing Limoncello in the freezer.
  • If you really want to store Limoncello in the freezer, place it in an area without air space to prevent freezer burn. It’s also best to transfer the liqueur in an airtight and freezer-safe sealable jar or bottle.
  • The best place to store unopened Limoncello is in a cool, dark, dry area, such as your kitchen pantry or liqueur cabinet. Once you open it, store it in the fridge.
  • If you have homemade Limoncello, drink it fresh right away rather than store it, or finish it within a few days, keeping it in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have other questions about Limoncello, we will answer some of them below!

1. Does homemade Limoncello go bad?

Yes, like store-bought Limoncello, homemade versions can spoil, and even quicker since it doesn’t contain added preservatives. Usually, homemade Limoncello lasts for seven days if unrefrigerated. But if stored in the fridge, it can last for up to three months, while it can last for up to one year in the freezer.

2. Can I get sick drinking bad Limoncello?

You wouldn’t get sick if you drank a few gulps or sips of “bad” Limoncello. Alcohol doesn’t spoil as food does. However, drinking a lot of it can cause stomach issues or a very drunken night since the ABV doesn’t change!

3. Can my bottle of Limoncello grow mold?

While it’s not common, it’s still possible! Alcohol prevents mold and bacteria from growing in the bottle at a 30-40% level and above. Given the fact Limoncello has 28% ABV (sometimes lower), there’s still a chance mold can grow, or at least around the bottle. If that’s the case, you must throw your Limoncello right away!

4. Do we get drunk off Limoncello?

It depends on your alcohol tolerance, but it’s possible to get drunk off this liqueur if you have enough of it. It’s got a 30% ABV, almost comparable to the likes of some vodkas!

Pro-tip: If you’re wondering what Limoncello brand to invest in, the best one goes out to the Meletti Limoncello. You can also get the Costa del Sole for sipping or the Pallini for cocktails. Serve Limoncello chilled after keeping it in the fridge for a few hours!

Wrapping It Up

Like many liqueurs we’ve tackled, Limoncello won’t spoil, but its quality dramatically reduces over time, especially if you don’t store it appropriately. Make sure to follow the storage tips above and drink your Limoncello within the recommended timeframe based on where you keep it.

Did we thoroughly answer your question, “does Limoncello go bad?” If so, there’s so much to learn about the world of liqueurs and your favorite food. Head to our blog now!

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