Does Gin Go Bad (1)

Does Gin Go Bad?

Gin, like all hard liquors, has an impressive shelf life. However, it does still have a limit, and you should know what that is!

Everything will eventually deteriorate, and if you want to have the best experience possible, you should know the ins and outs of your favorite drinks.

In this article, we will go through whether gin goes bad or not, how long it lasts, and how you can tell if your gin goes bad (see also ‘Does Grenadine Go Bad?‘).

Let’s dive right in.

Does Gin Go Bad?

Yes, gin does (eventually) go bad. This usually isn’t something to worry about too much, as any fresh bottle will likely outlive you.

This doesn’t mean that the drink becomes unsafe to consume, however. Generally, when an alcohol like this goes bad, it’s because of the flavor change that occurs due to oxidation.

Is There An Expiration Date To Follow?

Like most alcohols, you won’t necessarily find a best before or expiry date on a bottle of gin. Instead, a “date of manufacturing” will be printed out, which tells you what year the drink was produced.

This will let you know how old it is, and work from there! The only thing you really need to pay attention to is the date you open the bottle. From the moment the seal is broken, your gin will slowly begin to deteriorate.

How Long Will Gin Last?

An unopened bottle of gin can last you a lifetime, or more! As long as the seal is not broken, you can leave gin sitting around for hundreds of years, and it should be perfectly fine.

That is, if the gin is good quality. If it is poor quality, then its shelf life when unopened will not be indefinite.

With that being said, we should probably point out that gin doesn’t “get better” with age. Unlike some wines which will, gin will remain unchanged for as long as the bottle is sealed and uncompromised.

So there’s no point in keeping an unopened bottle of gin in the cupboard if you’re waiting for it to “get better” with age, sorry!

Oxidation will start to happen the moment the seal is broken and oxygen touches the liquid. This will result in the flavor of the gin slowly changing over time.

The change in flavor won’t be very noticeable at first, so this is nothing to worry about. However, after a few years, you might suddenly notice it. By that point, you will want to discard the bottle and get a fresh one.

Does Gin Go Bad (2)

How To Tell If Your Gin Goes Bad

In this scenario, gin won’t technically “go bad”, as it will remain safe to drink indefinitely. As such, by “going bad” we simply mean that the quality of the drink will be so diminished that you probably aren’t going to want to drink it anyway.

There are a few things you may notice in a gin that is past its prime. We will go through any signs you may want to look for regarding the flavor, appearance, and odor of the gin.


Gin should be clear without any kind of particles floating in it. If you pour a glass and notice that there are tiny particles in it, then there’s a good chance that it has deteriorated a lot. By this point, it won’t be the same drink you may remember.


If gin still tastes good, then there’s no reason for you not to drink it (find out more about what gin tastes like here). Again, gin won’t actually “go bad”, so as long as it still tastes good to you, enjoy it!

If you do notice a different flavor, then don’t discard it just yet. Try mixing it with a classic tonic to see if it improves the flavor at all. If it still doesn’t taste great, then you can get rid of it and get yourself a new bottle


Gin will usually have a strong and distinctive smell. Depending on the flavor or other aromas, the smell may be different to what you’re expecting. Judge this on a case by case basis, as there are lots of different smells and flavors to consider!

How To Store Your Gin Properly

Like most spirits, gin should be kept in a cool, dry place away from appliances and sunlight. You can technically even keep gin in the freezer, and it shouldn’t freeze. However, this is entirely unnecessary, and simply storing your gin in a cupboard will be absolutely fine.

Make sure that you properly close the lids when you are finished using a bottle to reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to it.

You don’t need to do anything special with your gin, but try to use it within one year of opening if you don’t want to notice any changes in flavor.

Making Gin Last Longer

The only thing you can do to make your gin last as lost as possible is sealing it properly! Twist the lid on tightly after you use it to prevent any more oxygen from entering it and changing the flavor of it.

You can also pour your gin into a smaller bottle as you gradually use it. This helps because it reduces the amount of oxygen in a half empty bottle, so there is less oxidation.

Doing this can go a long way to ensuring the drink keeps its flavor, so it remains perfect for your gin and tonic.

Beyond that, simply ensure that you store it in a cool, dark place.

Final Thoughts

Gin is very unlikely to go bad and become unsafe to consume because it simply isn’t a suitable environment for microorganisms. However, the quality of gin can deteriorate over time, which will impact the flavor, smell, and appearance of the drink.

It will always be safe to drink, but that doesn’t mean that you will want to drink a bottle that’s been open for 200 years!

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