Some alcohols mature and taste better over time. But does that apply to tequila? Unlike wine, tequila does not age in its bottle. That’s why it’s important to know the shelf life of your favorite Mexican spirit and what can cause it to go bad quicker.
So, does tequila go bad? It can. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the shelf life of tequila, what makes it go bad, and how you can store it properly to increase its shelf life.
Tequila: An Introduction
Tequila is made from the agave plant and is a double-distilled spirit. However, all agave-based spirits are not tequila. Before a drink qualifies to be called tequila, it needs to meet certain parameters.
First, tequila can’t be made with just any agave plant. It has to be the blue agave plant, and the source of the plant should only be from five specific Mexican regions — Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
Additionally, tequila is quite different from other alcoholic drinks. Its stringent distillation rules make it unique from the other liquors made from agave. And unlike most distilled drinks, tequila doesn’t have many impurities.
These are only some of the factors that give tequila its distinct taste and high alcohol content, making it a go-to liquor for many!
Does Tequila Go Bad?
Yes, tequila can go bad. But it’s still one of the most stable liquors you can get your hands on. The shelf life of your favorite tequila will also depend on whether you’ve already popped it open.
Shelf Life Of An Unopened Bottle Of Tequila
When left unopened and stored correctly, tequila doesn’t really expire. It has an indefinite shelf-life so long as the bottle’s seal is not compromised.
However, what you need to remember is that, unlike wine, which ages even after it’s bottled, spirits like tequila do not. So, even if you store your tequila for 10 years, the taste will not get better — it will remain how it was when it was bottled.
It’s best to enjoy your tequila within five years, after which evaporation happens even if the bottle is not opened.
Shelf Life Of An Open Bottle Of Tequila
Once a bottle of tequila is opened, you should consume it within a year and a maximum of two years. When you open a bottle of tequila, oxidation starts to kick in, and as a result, the compounds of your alcohol begin to get altered.
Is Drinking Old/Expired Tequila Harmful To Your Health?
Drinking an old or expired tequila will not cause you to get sick. If you have a sensitive tummy, the most you’d experience is an upset stomach. Other than that, tequila that’s expired will have a dull taste as its quality will deteriorate over time.
When tequila goes bad, there are certain factors that you can look for to confirm that it’s time to discard it.
First, check for any discoloration. Expired tequila will often look cloudy. If it does, discard the bottle. If your tequila smells sour or the overall smell is just off, it’s better to toss the bottle. If it doesn’t smell bad but tastes bland, you may want to retire the bottle.
It’s best to err on the side of caution rather than risk an upset stomach.
Can Refrigerating Tequila Extend Its Shelf Life?
Tequila doesn’t “need” to be refrigerated even after it’s opened. However, many claim that refrigerating tequila will not only extend its shelf life but also improve its aroma and taste. But there’s no real proof for this.
It’s recommended not to store tequila — whether unopened or opened – in the freezer or refrigerator. The colder temperature will impact the spirit, and when you drink it cold, your palate can become numb, detracting from the natural flavor of the tequila.
Tips To Properly Store Tequila
Tequila is a distilled spirit, so you can store it the same way you would store a bottle of rum, vodka, or whiskey. Here are some simple tips to help you out:
#1. Keep your tequila away from sunlight and other heat sources, like your heater, oven, and stove. Heat can cause tequila to lose its flavor because the organic molecules break down when heated. Constant and regular exposure to these elements can expedite deterioration and impact the flavor.
#2. Store your bottle of tequila in dry areas that are cool and dark. If you have a cellar, it’s the ideal place for your tequila bottles. But if you don’t have one, your pantry is also a practical choice. Just make sure that your selected area is at least room temperature of 50°F to 59°F (10°C to 15°C).
#3. After opening your tequila bottle, keep the bottle tightly sealed to ensure that no impurities get into your bottle.
#4. Store an opened bottle of tequila with its cap and pourer. If the bottle remains open without its lid, it will expedite evaporation as the alcohol evaporates faster than water. Over time, the taste of your tequila will get milder.
#5. If you’re halfway through your tequila bottle and don’t think you’d be able to drink the remainder within the following weeks, it is best to decant the remaining tequila in a smaller bottle. This is because a smaller bottle will have less air, which means slower evaporation and oxidation of the leftover tequila.