Does Vermouth Go Bad? Shelf Life Details Clarified

Quick summary: Vermouth is a long-lasting drink that’s unlikely to spoil even way past its expiration date. Still, loss of quality is bound to happen, so keep good storage conditions and refrigerate after opening.

Vermouth is a drink that originates from Italy. As Italians are lovers of pretty things and delicious food and drink, it is not surprising that they produced this beautified wine, let’s call it that. 

Vermouth is, in its essence, a wine. Aromatized, enhanced, enriched with different herbal flavors, but still wine. Two main types of this drink are sweet and dry. Although it is most often used for martinis or other cocktails, many people like to drink vermouth neat.

Although it is essentially wine, we must not forget that it is fortified with alcohol, so it is definitely more durable than ordinary wine, especially after you open the bottle. It won’t last forever, though, and it can surely spoil. Read on for information on how much it lasts and how best to store it.

How Long Does Vermouth Last?

You can treat vermouth like a solid wine when evaluating its longevity. This means that it certainly does not belong to the group of the most expensive ones intended to get better after five or ten years. But it will undoubtedly be of outstanding quality for a few years. Here’s what you can roughly count on.

Unopened vermouth

It would help if you stored unopened vermouth at a comfortable temperature and away from light. In this way, you can count on several years of durability. If we had to declare precisely how long, say about three to four years after bottling, for sure. 

And you don’t have to worry if you notice that the expiration date written on the back has expired. The drink will undoubtedly be good for at least a year or two longer than that. However, the purpose of the best-by date does not mean that the product is spoiled after the expiration, but still, the more time passes, the quality of the taste will begin to fade.

Opened vermouth

After opening, you should move the vermouth to the refrigerator. You don’t have to be in a big hurry to drink it because a safe estimate would be that the beverage will be of excellent quality up to about a month after opening. After that, you can expect a slight deterioration in flavor, but you can still extend the consuming period for a few more weeks if you don’t mind.

Can Vermouth Go Bad?

This is always a tricky question when alcoholic beverages are involved. With wine, it is easier to say yes as an answer because the perishability will be more serious. Vermouth has additional alcohol in it, so spoilage will not occur in the classic sense of the word, but the quality will undoubtedly deteriorate over time. Here are the signs that it’s time for a new bottle.

Sign 1: The taste is bland

This is the most common spoilage you will encounter with vermouth. After a certain time, the taste will fade, and the drink will become bland. You certainly won’t enjoy it. That doesn’t mean it’s rotten, though. Let’s just say that even if you personally do not mind this phenomenon, you should not be proud to serve guests such a drink.

Sign 2: The smell or appearance is very strange

This is really very rare, and few have encountered the appearance of spoiled vermouth, but in theory, it is possible, so we describe that scenario to you. If you notice that the smell is unpleasant or you even see some organic formations on the neck of the bottle, you should throw everything in the trash.

If your vermouth is no longer usable, for whatever reason, we bring you the best substitutes you can use.

Which is the Best Way to Store Vermouth?

Vermouth is a very rewarding drink to store, so if you come across a sale at your local supermarket, don’t be afraid to buy an extra bottle. Here’s what you need to watch out for.

Tip 1: Place at a comfortable temperature before opening

A common pantry, if you have one, or a kitchen cabinet that is not exposed to heat nearby, will be a perfectly decent storage location for vermouth. Just make sure that there is no direct sunlight on the bottle because no alcoholic drink likes that.

Tip 2: Keep refrigerated after opening

After you have opened the bottle, be sure to place it in the refrigerator to preserve the quality of the leftovers for a long time. Vermouth will not react well if you decide to keep the open bottle at room temperature, as no wine would.

Tip 3: Seal well

It is necessary to close the bottle after each use to prevent evaporation and faster deterioration. You can use the original cork on the bottle or a vacuum cork, which has proven to be great for wines.

If you’re using Vermouth for cooking, find some new ideas in our article about sake replacements.


How can you tell if vermouth is bad?

Vermouth will not be spoiled in the classical sense of the word most of the time, but rarely can a foul smell or even visible mold appear on the bottle’s opening. Most often, you will only feel that the taste has become bland.

How long can you keep open vermouth?

An opened bottle of this drink will be perfect for at least a month if you have stored it in the refrigerator after opening. Very often, it can be two months. Just check if the quality of the taste is satisfactory to you.

Can vermouth give you food poisoning?

We do not see that scenario as possible. In a rare situation, if mold was present and you consumed such a drink, it could give you some indigestion. In the most common case of spoilage, vermouth will only lose its quality.


Vermouth is a pretty drink to serve to friends or make a themed cocktail evening with it. And we really mean pretty. The Italians who invented it made an effort to add richness of flavor to this wine as well as color to make the presentation as effective as possible. 

You can treat this drink the same as its wine relatives. Keep it in the dark place and at a comfortable temperature before opening it, then place it in the refrigerator.

*image by bhofack2/depositphotos

About The Author

Scroll to Top