vodka go bad

Does Vodka Go Bad? How to Store and Drink It Safely

Quick summary: No, vodka does not go bad. Due to its high alcohol content, vodka has an almost indefinite shelf life. Unopened bottles of vodka can be stored for a lifetime without spoiling, and even opened bottles will take years to show any deterioration in taste.

Is there a difference in shelf life of strong alcohol like vodka if it is open or unopened? Do flavored drinks last as long as regular ones? We bring all the answers, so you don’t have to wonder if it’s safe to serve your guests.     

Vodka is a strong alcoholic beverage with very high alcohol content. That share will be at least 40 percent or more. There are some differences in regulation between countries, but rarely will you find a lighter version of Vodka. It is obtained by distilling grains and is a very common drink throughout the world. Also, an excellent base for many cocktails.   

However, vodka is a drink that is rarely drunk in a short time. It usually stays in the display case for months and sometimes years before you consume the entire bottle. So how long does this drink last, and can it spoil? The answers will satisfy even the most demanding ones.    

How Long Does Vodka Last?

As you’ve probably learned from your elders, vodka will never spoil. And we really mean never. It’s such a strong alcoholic drink that probably your grandchildren, as they grow up, can enjoy the bottle you currently have at home, and nothing bad will happen to them. Except for a bit of tongue-twisting. Here are the details about the shelf life of this drink.      

Duration of the unopened vodka 

If you store unopened bottle of vodka, you can really keep it your whole life, regardless of the expiration date. People often buy a bottle when their child is born and open it on his graduation day. Even storage conditions will not do much harm to durability, although you can apply a few tips to preserve the quality. More on that we bring below in the article.        

Duration of the opened vodka 

Once you open the bottle, the natural oxidation process begins to take its place. This will eventually cause some of the alcohol to evaporate and the taste to deteriorate slightly. But it won’t happen nearly as fast as you think. This process will probably take a decade, if not longer. 

Duration of flavored vodkas 

There is not much difference in durability if you like flavored vodkas. Mostly while unopened, they can last as long as unflavored vodka. However, once you open them, faster oxidation can occur due to the presence of other ingredients such as fruit flavors and so on. Thus, it will have a shorter shelf life. It is generally recommended that you consume such a drink within a period of six months. But if it stays longer on your shelf, you are free to drink it. Nothing will happen to you.    

Can Vodka Go Bad? 

You will hardly experience that this drink spoils. A high percentage of alcohol protects the drink from all harmful effects no matter how it is stored. However, some situations might occur if the bottle has stood open for a long time. Especially if it is a flavored beverage. Here are some signs that may indicate that it is not safest to drink it.

Sign 1: The drink developed an unusual odor   

You know what vodka you consumed smells typically like. It is a relatively sterile and sharp smell of alcohol. If the alcohol content has decreased by some unusual circumstances, or the presence of, for example, fruit juice in it is high, an unusual and unpleasant off odor may develop. In which case, you should rather pour it down the drain.     

Sign 2: Taste is wrong 

As with odors, the taste must be persistent. Over time the most common change that can occur is that the flavor becomes bland due to alcohol evaporation. You probably won’t want to consume it.      

Sign 3: Colour has changed    

The color of the vodka is entirely transparent and pure. If you notice anything cloudy in the bottle, probably some negative changes of light exposure have occurred. Also, if the flavored vodka lost the color it had, there must have been too much oxidation.    

Which is the Best Way to Store Vodka? 

You can’t go wrong no matter what storing vodka method you choose. The drink will very likely withstand the challenges of even leaving in the sun. However, in order to preserve the best possible taste of your drink, we suggest that you follow a few rules on how to store alcohol properly.    

Tip 1: Keep it away from the sun 

When it comes to unopened bottles of alcohol, the general rule is that all spirits love dark places. Any beverage cabinet or pantry will be perfectly fine. Just keep away from direct sunlight.       

Tip 2: Keep it in a cool place   

Temperature is just as bad for alcoholic liquors as light. Do not expose the bottle to any high temperatures. This means that it is not good to keep it close to some devices that can radiate heat. However, it is not necessary to keep vodka in the refrigerator except for the pleasure of consumption. It simply will not go bad.     

Tip 3: Always close with the original cap     

Regularly close the bottle after use. And for that, the best choice will be the cap that originally existed on it. Do not pour the liquid into other bottles.       


Can old vodka make you sick?

No, consuming old vodka that has been properly stored is unlikely to make you sick, but its quality and flavor might have deteriorated.

How do you store opened vodka?

It is best to store opened vodka in a cool dark place. A fridge is an OK option if you like a cold drink.

Does vodka have a use-by date?

No, vodka typically doesn’t have a strict use-by date. It can last indefinitely if stored properly, but its quality and flavor might degrade over an extended period.

Should I refrigerate vodka?

It is not necessary to keep vodka in the refrigerator if stored properly. Do it only if it is to your liking.

Can you drink 20 year old vodka?

Yes, you can technically drink 20-year-old vodka if it has been stored properly in a cool, dark place and shows no signs of spoilage. However, its quality and taste may have significantly deteriorated over such a long period.


There are countless ways you can enjoy vodka. Whether you like pure or mixed as a cocktail, this drink is dear to many lovers of stronger alcohol. And it is a delicious quality drink if it is made according to the recommendations of the profession. Do not be afraid of long-term storage. You can buy as much stock as you want and keep them for decades, and the taste will still be the same as the first day. Vodka really has a long shelf life. However, to help preserve the aroma, keep the bottles away from light and significant heat sources. 

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