Does Rum Go Bad?

I know alcohol has a slim chance of turning bad. Well, of course, depending on quality, storing conditions, as well as the kind of alcohol we talk about. The point is that spirit can last forever, but the taste can’t. That is why this next question will sound weird and very uncommon, at least. I can’t help but ask a question: Does Rum Go Bad?

I bet your reaction is what’s behind this question. But seriously people I have had a bottle of rum in my pantry for over five years. Luckily an unopened bottle of rum. It’s not that I did not know how to use it; I simply forgot about it since my pantry is an endless space full of necessary and mostly unnecessary things.

So if you are interested, let’s go back to the main topic and find out what I learned about storing rum properly.

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How To Store Rum

We all know that wine ages well in the bottle placed in the wine cellar, but that is not the case with rum. If you store it properly, it will remain the same for years and years to come. Of course, that is for unopened bottles. Storing open bottles is a bit different, and we will talk about that too.

Just like any other spirit, rum, too, should be kept in a cool and dry place far away from light as much as possible. And that’s about it. Places like pantry or cellar are the best places since they are cold and dark around the clock.

Yes, you can store it in the fridge, but it won’t help considering that the fridge is not a dry place first of all and second fridge also the cold temperature in the fridge and the cellar or pantry is not the same thing. Also, many of us have already overloaded the fridge, so fitting in a tall bottle of rum can be very inconvenient. There is a slight chance of accidentally damaging the bottle.

The best thing is to transfer the bottle of rum into the fridge a few hours before consuming it since most people prefer drinking cold rum. Yes, you can chill the rum with ice cubes, of course, but most people avoid using it in any beverage since it will dilute your drink. 

The most important thing to remember is that you must always store the bottle tightly sealed after opening the bottle. Never store it with a pourer on since that is not their primary role. But why is sealing the bottle so important? There are two main reasons.

  • The first reason is to keep any contaminants away from entering the bottle and possibly spoil it, which is extremely unlikely to happen, but still possible. I mean, who would like to drink something that was exposed to impurities? I know I wouldn’t!
  • The second thing is to prevent evaporation. We all know that alcohol evaporates quicker than water. So any spirit after opening the bottle will start deteriorating with time and become milder due to evaporation. So this is why you should always make sure you screw the cap tightly and never store it with a pourer on, or it will evaporate much faster.

While we are talking about the importance of using a bottle cap each and every time, it is also important which type you will use.

Always use screw tops instead of corks. Yes, the natural corks look very fancy, but they also deteriorate with time since they are natural, so that may lead to faster evaporation. On the other hand, screw tops can make your rum last way longer. This, of course, only applies to opened rum. 

In case you already bought a bottle of rum that came with a cork when you open it, make sure you replace the cork with a screw top to prolong the shelf life. 

There is one more extra handy advice I learned during this research. If you have less than half a bottle full, the best thing you can do is transfer the rum into a smaller bottle. But why? Well, if there is any additional empty space in the bottle, the taste will deteriorate quicker and lose quality since there is more free space for oxygen in it.

If you plan to use the bottle within a few weeks, there is no need to apply this extra tip since a few weeks aren’t enough to change the drink’s taste and quality significantly.


So What’s The Exact Shelf Life Of Rum?

So basically, the shelf life of any hard liquor is indefinite. Well, as long as it is not opened, of course. That means you can store your bottle of rum in the next ten, twenty, and even fifty years from this moment as long as your bar, cellar, or pantry conditions are cold and dark. 

As I already explained after opening the bottle, the rum will slowly start to evaporate and lose its taste. In that case, the recommendation is to drink the bottle in the next few months and up to a year or two, to get the best possible flavor from it. 

All this, of course, applies for a pure rum! There are a few rum-based spirits available on the market that are flavored with coconut, for example. Those types of rums have 40% alcohol by volume, and after opening a bottle, they should be used in the next few months max!

There is one more thing you should know – spirits like rum do not age in the bottle no matter what people told you before, the only alcohol that ages in the bottle are wine and beer. So if anyone told you to keep your rum for as long as you can to make it taste better, you should know that won’t happen, and your rum will taste exactly the same as the day it was bottled.


How To Recognize If The Rum Is Bad?

Well, this is quite easy to catch by an eye first if you notice any impurities in the bottle or change of color discard the liquid. Suppose it smells different than before, discard it immediately. If it looks and smells fine, it is safe for you to taste it. It will be fine to drink in most cases, although it will for sure be milder than before, so you might not be satisfied with its taste. 

If you store the opened bottle for years, it might taste bland, so I would recommend to discard it since that is not how it should taste.

Most alcoholic beverages come without an expiration date. In case your bottle has one, there is no need to be afraid if you read it, and you realize that your bottle “expired” years ago. That bottle is still safe to drink. The manufacturers put the expiration date to inform you that most of its original taste will be gone by that date and that you may not experience the taste that you expected. 


Summary

My first association when I hear word rum is pirates. Well, Jack Sparrow, to be more precise, but you get the point. While I did my little research, I found many exciting things about rum. 

For example: Did you know that rum was the world’s first spirit? Most of the rum nowadays originates from Puerto Rico, the homeland of its main ingredient, a sugar cane. It was also used as a payment method, and it was believed that it prevented hair loss back in the days. Silly right?  

Let’s recapitulate rum is a great drink, and no matter if you love to drink it as single or mixed in a cocktail. It will serve you well for years to come if you make sure that storing conditions are recommended. 

It is summertime, and we all like to treat ourselves with some relaxing drink in the backyard, so make sure you do not leave the bottle in direct sunlight, especially without a cap since your rum can considerably deteriorate if it spends hours in those conditions.

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