How long can an opened bottle of alcohol be kept?

Written by liz strader
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How long can an opened bottle of alcohol be kept?
Liquor has a long shelf life. (liquor image by Renee Woodward from

The shelf life of types of distilled spirits differs among varieties such as wines, liqueurs and hard liquors because of variances in sugar content and resistance to oxidation. When you store them properly, however, most spirits will retain flavour and body long enough for you to consume them.

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Wine generally has a short shelf life once a bottle is open. After wine has been exposed to the air, oxygen begins to seep into the liquid, changing its composition. According to, an open bottle of wine will only keep up to three days, after which it will rapidly lose its flavour and substance.

Keep recorked wine refrigerated to maximise shelf life.
Keep recorked wine refrigerated to maximise shelf life. (bottle wine and glasses with a wine image by mashe from


Liqueurs, or flavoured liquors, have high sugar contents and higher concentrations of alcohol than wine. For example, according to the Baileys website, its Irish cream liqueur will remain fresh unopened or opened for up to two years. Certain brands of liqueurs, such as Baileys, also label their bottles with expiration dates for consumers' reference.

Irish cream
Irish cream (close to jigger of Irish cream image by Kir from


Liquors, or distilled alcohol minus flavourings or added sugars, have high alcohol contents and are generally unresponsive to oxidation. This category of spirits offers the longest shelf life, therefore, and Captain Morgan's website indicates that, if they are stored in a cool, dry, lowlight environment, liquors like rum can last nearly indefinitely.

How long can an opened bottle of alcohol be kept?
Liquor's high alcohol content preserves it almost indefinitely. (Liquore in bicchiere tondo image by gdpozzi from

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