Can Tequila Go Bad or Expire? How Long Dose It Last?

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Do you have a bottle of Tequila sitting on a shelf somewhere for special occasions? If so, you’re not alone. Tequila is one of the top-selling liquors in the world. It’s rare for anyone to go through a whole bottle at once. So when you reach for that dusty bottle of Tequila, you may wonder if it is still ok to drink.

After all, when you serve cocktails, you want great-tasting, good-quality alcohol. Before taking a sip, there are a few questions you can ask yourself.

  • Has it been stored properly in a cool, dry area?
  • Did you keep it away from direct sunlight and heat?

If you answered yes, your Tequila’s flavor should be as good as when you opened it, provided it hasn’t been years. But what about food safety? Does Tequila go bad? We have fantastic news for you.

Tequila liquor has nearly an indefinite shelf life when stored properly, thanks to the alcohol content. Nonetheless, there is a chance, after opening the bottle, that it may go.bad.

Grab a slice of lime, and keep reading to find out ways to prevent any loss of quality.

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Does Tequila Go Bad? How Long Does Tequila Last?

The shelf life of Tequila depends on whether you have an unopened bottle, an opened bottle, or a half-full bottle.

The Shelf Life of Tequila: The basics

  • An unopened bottle will remain for 5 years when properly stored before it loses quality and becomes an unpalatable drink.
  • After opening the bottle, quality lasts 6-8 months afterward in the pantry. The quality, however, may suffer over time.

A good defense is learning the “best practices” to store Tequila for the greatest shelf life.

Does Other Hard Liquor Go Bad?

Do you enjoy Tequila-like distilled spirits? If so, it’s good to measure their shelf life against your bottle before you buy.

You are in luck!

Our research shows liquor like rum, Vodka, and Scotch Whiskey have basically the same stable shelf life and the same storage methods. You can keep them all together!

Softer alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, have a shorter time before they show signs of spoiling. Beer, for example, has a freshness date, but it’s generally good 6-8 months beyond that.

How To Store Tequila

Not for a very long time if you follow some simple storage rules.

  • Cold storage: Tequila doesn’t “like it hot.” A cellar is one good option.
  • A tightly sealed bottle: An unopened Tequila bottle can last for years. Once you open it, never leave the bottle without its cap firmly in place.
  • Stand it upright: This keeps alcohol from touching the cap and causing corrosion.
  • Dry storage: Dampness isn’t good for any alcohol
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How To Tell Tequila Has Gone Bad?

Like any type of food spoilage, you can tell if it is bad by trusting your senses-namely, your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Look at the bottle. Are there impurities in it?
  • Smell the bottle. Does it seem off? When air enters a bottle of Tequila, it alters the aroma.
  • Taste it. If it doesn’t taste as expected, it may still be fine for cocktails or baking.

While Tequila can go bad, it’s rare. If you feel uncertain, don’t use it.


Can you Refrigerate Tequila?

You can if you like it better cold. However, bartenders suggest serving it at room temperature.

Can you Freeze Tequila?

Yes, you can, but it’s not advisable. The Tequila’s aroma and flavor may suffer.

Can bad Tequila make me sick?

Drinking expired Tequila won’t make you sick with one small catch-drinking too much of it!
This is true of old alcohol in general. At worst, you may experience a sour stomach from the taste.

Interesting Facts:

What is Tequila?

It comes under the category of liquors similar to Vodka. It comes from the Agave tequilana plant and is exclusively produced in the Jalisco region of Western Mexico.

It was once considered a “poor person’s” drink until it became popular among priests and the wealthy. (*)

The production of Tequila initially was a bootleg operation. It was against the law to make it in the early 1600s because it would compete with Spanish distilled liquor imports.

100 years later, the Mexican government stepped in with protection and regulation. It was destined to become of prime importance to the Mexican economy. (*)

Better still, if you yearn for a quality Tequila drink, there is more than one buying option in production.

Types of Tequila

Not all Tequila is the same. When you are thinking, how long does Tequila last? Part of the answer comes from whether or not you like the product?

  • Tequila Blanco is clear. It comes from the second distillation of the plant. It tastes peppery, smoky, and a touch fruity, with herbal aromatic notes.
  • Tequilla Reposado can have additives. It’s aged in pine or oak barrels for two months or more. The Agave aroma strengthens, and it has woody, fruity, and cherry taste profiles.
  • Tequilla Anejos ages in oak barrels for a year or more with a cognac-like flavor. The longer it ages, the woodier it becomes.

While Tequila can go bad, all three of these have nearly an indefinite shelf life when the bottle is tightly sealed, away from direct sunlight.

The extended shelf life of Tequila is part of what makes it hard to tell if Tequila liquor lost its quality and gone bad.

Quality Matters

Speaking of sunlight, when combined with temperature and air exposure, the three create the foundation for whether or not it goes bad.

As a distilled spirit, the alcohol content in your alcohol protects the liqueur from a lot of bacteria. Once you’ve got an opened bottle, however, Tequila’s quality begins decreasing.

Our Tip: Your best bet if you don’t plan on using a lot immediately, buying a smaller bottle is a good idea.

Is Tequila good for me?

You might be surprised to discover that Tequila can have health benefits.

These include:

  • Weight loss: the sugar in Tequila goes through your system unused while improving metabolism.
  • Immune boost thanks to probiotics
  • Bone strength; Studies show it may help with calcium absorption
  • Curbing insomnia: Tequila has a calming effect

Health studies are ongoing, focused on these and other potential benefits from Tequila.

Is it true Tequila doesn’t give you a hangover?

Sadly no. It’s an urban legend.

The alcohol level in this alcohol can produce nasty hangovers. How nasty depends on how much you drink and the way your body metabolizes it.

Is Tequila Gluten-free?

Thanks to being made from Blue Agave plants instead of wheat or grain, 100% Agave Tequila is gluten-free.

What’s with the worm?

When shopping for Tequila, you may see a bottle with a worm inside.

Guess what? It’s not Tequila, but rather Mezcal.

For a spirit to bear the Tequila label, it must be distilled from minimally 51 percent Agave. Mezcals, by comparison, may have any of 30 aloe-like succulents in them.

The worm is the larva of the Maquey Moth, which lives and feeds on Agave.


Your chances of enjoying quality Tequila continues, even after you open the bottle. Just make sure you close it up tight before returning it to storage.

The high alcohol content in Tequila makes it hard for microbes to flourish. Nonetheless, when you next reach for the Tequila, do a quick check of its look, smell, and taste to be sure you still want to drink it.

When, in your estimation, it’s not prime quality, find another use for it in the kitchen.

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Up Next: Does Baileys Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

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