Can Unopened Rum Go Bad? (Learn When And Why To Open Your Rum)

bottle of rum

A question that popped into my mind while researching homebrewing and alcohol in general, is whether or not rum and other spirits can go bad.

In this blog post, I will showcase my findings, and give you a clear answer to whether or not rum and other spirits can go bad.

Can Unopened Rum go Bad? Rum and other strong alcohols can never really go bad. They can, however, lose their taste and color. It is important to store your rum correctly. Make sure to store your rum, or other spirits, in a dark cool place with as little light as possible. This way your rum will stay good for many years.

Continue reading as I dive into what can make your rum and other alcohols go bad, and how to avoid it.

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So, Can Unopened Rum go Bad?

The overall answer is that most spirits simply can’t go “bad”. What is meant by bad, is that it won’t hurt you while drinking, other than a possible stomach or headache.

The good part about strong spirits is that their high alcohol content kills most hostile germs and bacteria.

Spirits last “forever” but the taste probably won’t.

If even just a little bit of air is inside your bottle, opened or unopened, your Rum or spirit will slowly degrade over the years and will probably end up losing most, if not all of its taste.

NOTE: The expiration date often indicates that once your spirit goes past this date, most of its taste will probably be gone, and drinking it will not be very enjoyable.

Many unopened spirits can keep their taste for many years, possibly decades.

Like some wines, most spirits can actually last for many years or even decades in their unopened state, with most of their original taste intact.

Some experts suggest that if you don’t touch your unopened rum at all, it can last forever in the right conditions.

The Right Way to Store Your Rum

As mentioned, unopened rum can potentially last forever, but you need to store it in the right conditions.

These conditions also apply to when you are storing opened rum and can make it last quite a while longer.

Here are some tips for storing your rum correctly:

  • Store it in a cool dark place. Like most other alcohols, your rum will benefit from being stored in a cold place without any light. This is the best way to preserve the flavor, color and general texture of your Rum, as well as other alcohols.
  • Use screw tops instead of corks. Yes I know, the natural corks are very fancy and professional-looking, but screw tops can make your rum last way longer. This mostly applies to opened rum, where you might have the ability to add a screw top on your bottle yourself if it came with a natural cork. You can also simply look out for rums with screw tops when you purchase them. If you want to store an unopened bottle for the longest time possible screw tops are the way to go.
  • Don’t let it sit without the cork/cap. This only concerns opened rum. If you wanna enjoy some of your rum, make sure to put the cork or cap back on right after you have poured it. This will reduce the oxidation process, which is what slowly takes the taste and color away from your rum. Just think of it as a soda bottle, the longer you let it sit without the cap on, the faster all the fizzle and taste will vanish.

Following these tips will help you make your rum keep its properties for many years.

If you want to know more about homebrewing alcohol, take a look at this post.

When Should You Open Your Rum?

If you have an unopened rum you aren’t keeping as a collector’s item forever, you may be wondering when is the right time to open it.

A rule of thumb many rum enthusiasts take to heart is that once opened, rum should be consumed within 6 months.

Plan the opening of your rum to make sure you drink it all within a time limit that secures you get the full taste experience.

Whether you want to use your rum for personal use or for sharing at a gathering, make sure you know that you can drink the whole thing before it loses its taste.

Open your bottle at a time that fits into your schedule so to speak. If you are nearing the 6-month rule of thumb, maybe invite over a few friends to share the rest of the bottle with.

There is a smart way to extend the life of your opened rum or any other spirits.

If you simply don’t want to force yourself to drink your bottle of rum within these 6 months, you can potentially extend the period by doing a simple trick.

TIP: Transfer your rum to a smaller bottle as the level of rum within the original bottle gets lower.

Transferring your rum to smaller bottles gradually can preserve the taste way longer.

The reason for this is the famous oxidation process. As you drink your rum, the air to rum ration changes. The more air you allow in your rum bottle, the quicker the oxidation process can steal the taste away from your rum.

If you choose to do this, make sure the smaller bottles or containers can be closed airtight to make sure little to no air is allowed to enter the bottle and steal away all your delicious tasting rum flavor.

So in conclusion, unopened rum will take a very long time to go bad, and might not go bad at all.

If you follow the steps to the right conditioning, your unopened rum will last for many years, if not indefinitely.

If you open your rum, make sure to close it airtight after use and store it correctly, using a screw cap and transferring your rum to smaller bottles gradually, will improve the shelf life of your rum substantially.

Read Also: Best Propane Burner For Homebrewing

Fun Facts About Rum

Here are some fun facts regarding rum you probably didn’t know

  • Rum Was The Worlds First Spirit. History dictates that the first distillation of rum to place in the Caribbean around 1620. Yes, you make be thinking “pirates!”, and you are probably right. Pirates would drink basically any alcohol they would come across, and rum was very easily obtained. Later on, they changed the recipe and added citrus fruits, which is a widely known combatant against the pirate’s number one enemy, scurvy.
  • Once Used As Payment. Once again, sailors love rum, and back in the day, they would even accept it as payment for their work. It wasn’t unlikely that the hard-working sailors would receive a mix of payments in the form of actual currency, and Rum or other goods.
  • Secret Recipes And Processes. Most larger rum manufacturers keep their methods and recipes close to heart. Even in modern times, the Bacardi brand is still made by members of the Bacardi family and the recipe is kept only within members of the family.
  • Rum Has Many Nicknames. Rum has many nicknames including titles such as grog, Demon Water, Navy Neaters, Pirates Drink, Kill-Devil, Barbados Water and many others.
  • Most of The Rum in The World Originates in Puerto Rico. Rum contains sugarcane, and most of the sugar cane used in rum making originates in Puerto Rico.
  • Rum is Thought to Prevent Hair Loss. Not only is it a delicious alcoholic beverage, but apparently it can also save your luscious locks from falling off your noggin. This statement goes all the way back to the 1800s where rum was used to clean hair and apparently would result in thicker hair.

Did you know that the first brand of vodka was created by a peasant? Check out this article to discover other fun facts about vodka.

About HomeBrewAdvice

Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine

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