Does Vermouth Go Bad?

Vermouth is a world-famous alcoholic drink. Almost everyone in the world has heard of Martini and Manhattan cocktails, made with vermouth.

Vermouth is basically an aromatized wine. For extra flavor, it’s infused with herbs and spices, and the liquid is sometimes colored, too.

So, you’ve bought the whole case of vermouth on sale. You needed it for a party, but in the aftermath, you’re left with a couple more bottles. You know that hard liquor doesn’t go bad, but does vermouth go bad?

To find out does vermouth go bad, how long it lasts and how to store the bottles of Martini, read our article!


Does Vermouth Go Bad?

As we all know, alcohol either has a long shelf life or it lasts indefinitely (this is true for hard liquor). So, without further ado, does vermouth go bad?

The answer is: Vermouth does not go bad

Since the content of this drink is mostly alcohol, it prevents the drink from spoiling. Pure alcohol is often used as a preservative – usually in cosmetics. However, after a while, the quality might be compromised. Rest assured, there is simply no way it could be a health hazard since the mold or bacteria cannot survive in such an environment.

Improper care will result in your vermouth decaying in quality and losing the famous flavor. To make sure you get the most out of your bottle, follow the instructions on the label and the advice below. That way, you can always spice your cocktails with a splash of vermouth!


How Long Does Vermouth Last?

As we previously mentioned, vermouth lasts indefinitely in a sense that it will not spoil. On the other hand, an old bottle of vermouth in all likelihood will not match the quality and taste of a new bottle.

So, about those bottles on sale… buy them without any worries. A bottle of vermouth will retain the best quality for three to four years.

If the bottle of vermouth has a best-by date on the label, don’t throw the bottle out as soon as it reaches that date. The best-by date doesn’t mean that the product in question will go bad after the printed date, but the quality may be compromised.

It’s a manufacturer’s guarantee that the drink will be in the same condition up to that date. So, worry not about the best-by date, just add two to three years to it and the drink will be fine. This applies to the dry and sweet type of vermouth.

Compared to the dry type, sweet vermouth tends to last longer when opened, but they both last quite long. Sweet vermouth has a higher sugar content that preserves the flavor for longer periods of time.

An opened bottle of sweet vermouth will last around two whole months if kept in the pantry. The shelf life of dry vermouth is a little shorter – use it within a month of opening when stored at room temperature.

If you opened a bottle of vermouth, dry or sweet, and there is no way you will finish the bottle in a month or two – move the bottle to the refrigerator. That will prolong the shelf life to around six months.

Note that these are only estimates, and they are for the best quality only. Your favorite alcoholic drink can start decaying at an earlier time if kept in improper conditions.


How To Store Vermouth?

Proper storage is the key to making sure your foods and liquids are always ready when you need them. Following the instructions makes sure you don’t waste away your money.

So, storing vermouth the proper way is important to make sure it doesn’t go flat – it will lose the signature flavor. Simply, it won’t complement your Manhattan cocktail the way it should.

When looking for a place to store bottles of vermouth, look for a dry and cool place, like a pantry, but the cupboard will work, too. Make sure that the bottles are not exposed to sun or heat – place them away from a window or a radiator.

This product is sensitive to heat and light. That means the contents of the bottle will change when exposed to these factors and the taste will not be the same. 

For opened bottles of vermouth, the best storage place is the refrigerator. Vermouth will stay fresh for quite a while in a fridge, compared to bottles stored at room temperature. Remember to seal the bottle tightly. If that is not possible, consider pouring the leftover alcohol into a glass jar or an airtight container.

If you are looking to extend the freshness to vermouth for as long as possible, just follow the advice we gave you. If you are thinking about freezing a bottle – we can only advise you against that.

Freezing vermouth will change the flavor, and thawing will make sure that the well-known flavor is completely gone. A bottle of vermouth has a very long shelf life, and you will have no problem finishing it all in time. If you’re absolutely set on freezing it, transfer the liquid into a plastic airtight container.


How To Check If Vermouth Has Gone Bad?

So, you have discovered a long-lost bottle of vermouth in the back of the pantry. You’re wondering if it’s still any good for cocktails. Read this section carefully to learn how to check the quality of your vermouth.

Firstly, check if the bottle is opened. If the answer is yes, we recommend throwing it out. The contents are not fresh anymore and it probably lost all flavor. If the bottle wasn’t sealed tightly, the quality has been affected, we assure you.

For unopened bottles, examine the cap to see if the liquid has been leaking out. If it was, discard this bottle as well. Check out the color of the alcohol. If the color is no longer the same, the vermouth has most definitely spoiled.

Seeing mold or sediment is not likely, because of a high percentage of alcohol. If you do see it, however, pour out the contents and perhaps recycle the glass bottle. Do keep in mind that this virtually never happens.

If the color seems fine, open the bottle and smell it. If it has an unpleasant, off smell, chances are that the drink is no longer fresh.

The shelf life is indefinite when it comes to the unopened bottle of sweet vermouth. As mentioned, the quality will decay at some point. If the drink’s color and smell seem fine, but the flavor is changed or bland, that doesn’t mean it’s spoiled. Simply, the vermouth is no longer fresh, but it will not make you ill or upset your stomach.

You can use it for Martinis, but you will find that a cocktail with brand new vermouth will taste much better. If you find the taste to be nothing out of the ordinary, instead, consider it a sign that the bottle is still up to par!


Does Vermouth Go Bad – Conclusion

Vermouth is a very popular drink. It can be used alone or for making cocktails. It comes in two tasty varieties: dry and sweet.

What is also great about vermouth is that it doesn’t go bad. Sure, it loses freshness and the quality is not the same, but after a long time. How long, to be exact?

A bottle of vermouth will retain the best quality for up to four years – or up to three years past the best-by date. That is true for the bottles stored unopened. Opened bottles of vermouth have a shelf life of six months at best, provided you store them in the refrigerator.

Vermouth can be stored at room temperature, just pick a dark place away from a window or a heater. The fridge is alright as well, but we advise against storing vermouth in the freezer.

If you found an old bottle of vermouth, and you want to make cocktails with it, take a second to check it out first. If the color of the drink has changed, or you can spot mold or sediment, it’s time to say goodbye to this bottle. If it looks fine, do a sniff test. If it doesn’t smell the way it used to, discard the bottle.

If you find the color and the smell satisfying, sip a little. If you find the vermouth to be flavorless, that doesn’t mean it spoiled. The quality is no longer the best, but it’s not dangerous to your health.

If the taste seems unchanged to you, that’s a good sign your vermouth is still fresh. Pour it into a glass and cheers!

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