Buyers Guide: Spirits

Buyers Guide: Spirits

Can a liquor go bad?

Distilled spirits won’t go off or spoil whilst the bottle remains sealed. Once opened however, oxygen will slowly begin to affect the spirit inflicting loss of aromas, flavours and alteration in colour. Please note that any liquor containing dairy or egg such as creme liqueurs and advocate decline faster (typically within twelve months of opening) Exposure to light and temperature fluctuations will also cause liquor to degrade. Fermented Liquor such as Sake is really only designed to have a shelf life of 1-2 years, even if kept closed. It is best consumed within a few days of opening as well.

How Long Do Spirits Last?

Vodka & Gin are best enjoyed within 2 years of opening. Creme Liquors like Baileys Irish Cream are best enjoyed within a year of opening, preferably sooner. Dark spirits such as Whisk(e)y, Bourbon and Tequila will keep well sealed for over 10 years if the bottle is kept in a dark cool place away from temperature fluctuations and vibrations. Once opened, however - a half bottle will keep for a year, a quarter bottle for around 3 months in other words, the higher the ratio of air to liquid, the faster the product will decline.

What's the Best Way to Store Liquor?

Like wine, all liquor should be stored away from direct light exposure and in a constant temperature of around 10 degrees celsius. It's also important for wine that there is some humidity in the air when storing wine under cork, so they do not become overly dry. Vibrations from Computers, Refrigerators, Heaters & Air Conditioners are will also have an adverse effect on Wine & Spirits. Note the date any bottles were opened and dispose of them using the guidelines covered in the question How Long Do Spirits Last?

What liquor has the least amount of calories?

White (clear) spirits do, like 80% proof Vodka or Gin (65 calories per 1oz pour). Some modern thinking is that Agave Tequila is the lowest calorie alcoholic beverage because of the origins of its base material - being a plant v's cane sugar based spirits. Similarly, a 125ml pour of Champagne is between 110 - 120 calories. Wine contains sugar which generates calories, so a very dry Riesling would be significantly lower in calories than a sweet Moscato. Remember always drink in moderation and not just for calorific intake. Many mixers such as juices and soft drinks are high in sugar, so neat spirits or those mixed with soda water will be lower in calories. It is noteworthy to mention when considering calories and drinking, that sometimes it is the decisions we make around food, either during or after drinking - late night snacks or fatty fried breakfast's the following morning which contribute to the calories earned when drinking.

Does alcohol freeze?

Alcohol will freeze when cooled to -114.1 degrees celsius degrees it's not possible to do in a domestic fridge. Different beverages have different alcohol percentages so will freeze at different temperatures, for example, vodka freezes at around -37 degrees celsius whereas wine will freeze at around -5 degrees celsius.

Does alcohol go bad if contained in a plastic bottle?

Glass is by far a better long term, healthier and more environmentally friendly storage material than plastic. As we know, plastics can release substances into it's contents, some of which have suspected carcinogenic properties and can generate unpleasant flavours in the container contents. Studies have also shown that the shelf life of products stored in plastic is significantly shorter (by years) than those stored in glass.

Can alcohol go off?

All alcohol has prime moments for drinking. Fermented Alcohol such as wine can be aged, but the winemaker needs to produce a particular style of wine for it to stand the test of time. Some wines such as commercial sparkling and Moscato will discolour and take on undesirable flavours if not consumed within 1-5 years, and some wines which are not made to age may become a little dull in flavour. Sake has a shelf life of 1-2 years only.

Fortified Wines will last for a long time on the shelf but once opened are best consumed in the same day - Sherry and Port in particular. Distilled Spirits have a long shelf life however whilst the decline in flavour and aroma happens very very slowly, they will deteriorate gradually once opened.

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