Does Gin Go Bad or Expire after Opening? (Detailed)

Gin has been gaining popularity in genre and craft. If you’re like me, you probably have a wide variety of gin bottles in your bar, and some of them may still be around a long time after opening. Gin is a drink that has many subtle nuances of delicate flavors. What happens to the taste and the quality of the Gin once the bottle has been opened? Does Gin go bad or even expire after opening? Let me share with you my findings.

Gin does not go bad or expire once opened. However, the oxidation process will change the flavor profile of the opened Gin. For this reason, it is preferred to consume a bottle of Gin within one year of opening the bottle. If unopened, the bottle of Gin can retain the delicate flavors for many years.

Gin is a drink of subtle nuances of flavor. The varieties of flavors can be as varied as the number of gin producers. Many gin producers have a signature gin that is a combination of herbs that become unique to that distillery. You will not find it anywhere else.

If you open a bottle of your favorite Gin, how sure can you be that the flavor will stay as delicate and palatable for as long as possible? Do you need to take additional measures to ensure your opened bottle of Gin remains good to drink and tasty over an extended period of time?

You have probably heard of the famous Gin and tonic cocktail that became the British explorers’ staple sundowner drink. The story behind drinking Gin and tonic at this hour was more due to the tonic water than the Gin! The tonic water contained quinine and was a treatment for the dreaded malaria disease, transmitted by mosquitoes that came out at sunset. Hence the introduction of the sundowner drink of Gin and tonic!

The tonic water was consumed to prevent the contraction of malaria. Gin was added to make the tonic water palatable and, of course, for the alcohol’s relaxing effect.

You may not be an intrepid explorer, but like those individuals, you may like to know what happens to your Gin once the bottle is opened and how long the flavor will stay good for.

Does Gin Go Bad?

Alcohol is considered a preservative, and an antimicrobial compound, so technically, your Gin will not go bad or go off once the bottle is opened.

Gin, once opened, will not expire or go bad and will be safe to drink, but the flavor profile of the Gin in the open bottle will slowly start to change over time.

Once the bottle is opened, the Gin is exposed to oxygen in the air. The Gin will start to react to the oxygen and begin the oxidization process. This oxidizing process will change the Gin’s flavor, and some of the alcohol will also evaporate into the air. Thus, once the Gin is opened, the flavor profile will gradually change, and the Gin’s alcohol content will drop.

When you re-seal an opened bottle of Gin, the seal is never quite airtight, and the oxidation process will continue, even if it is at a slower rate.

Does Opened Gin Need To Be Refrigerated?

The Gin’s alcohol content will prevent the Gin from going off, so refrigeration is not necessary.

Sometimes Gin is placed in the refrigerator or freezer for about an hour before poring to reduce the alcohol’s harshness. This is also a practice of people who like their gin cold but don’t want to introduce ice to the drink. The ice will melt and dilute the Gin and compromise some of the delicate flavors infused into the Gin. Refrigerating the Gin will not harm it and may help preserve the Gin’s flavors for a longer period in an opened bottle.

How Long Can Gin Last Once Opened?

Once the Gin bottle is opened, the oxidation process starts. Even re-sealing the top is not sufficient to prevent the process. It is advised that you drink it within the space of one year. Some people recommend two years, but in my opinion, that is too long, the flavor of Gin would have lost much of its delicate flavor. Anyway, if you have an opened bottle of Gin sitting in a bar cabinet for 2 years, you are not a serious gin drinker!

How Can You Extend The Life Of Opened Gin

The deterioration of opened Gin is the interaction with the oxygen in the air. If you can limit the air exposure, you can extend the life of your opened Gin.

One route you can try is to decant the Gin into a smaller bottle as the level of the gin drops. This will limit the headspace inside the bottle and limit exposure to the air.

Some people keep Gin permanently in the refrigerator to limit the amount of air that the bottle is exposed to. This also helps limit the Gin’s exposure to light, and heat also contributes to the degradation of the Gin’s flavor.

Can Gin Be Stored On Its Side?

It is possible to store Gin on its side, but its success will depend on how the Gin is bottled. Many gin manufacturers will seal the gin bottle with a cork. While the cork acts as a good seal to keep the Gin in the bottle, the cork will break down over time if it is in direct contact with the Gin.

Storing Gin on its side will result in the cork imparting undesirable flavors to the Gin, which may compromise the Gin’s delicate flavor.

Therefore, if your gin bottle has a cork, it should be stored upright, but if your gin bottle has a screw cap, then there is no issue with keeping the gin bottle on its side.

Does Gin Improve With Age?

Gin is not like a wine that improves with time, even in the bottle. Gin’s flavor is imparted to it during the fermentation or infusion process. Once the Gin is bottled, the flavor no longer develops. Gin flavor at bottling time will be the same whether it is opened one month after bottling or one year after bottling.

Unopened Gin will retain its taste and flavor for many years, but once you open the bottle, the clock starts ticking, and the flavor of the Gin will start to degrade.


Gin does not go bad or expire after opening in the sense that it will make you ill if you drink it, but the flavor of an opened bottle of Gin will change over time. A bottle of Gin that has stood opened for some time will never taste as good as a freshly opened bottle of Gin.

It is not advisable, for these reasons, to store opened bottles of Gin for long periods. Instead, enjoy your Gin responsibly regularly before the flavors change. This way, you will get to try a different Gin bottle sooner, with another flavor infusion!

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post.


John Antunes

My name is Johnny, and I love Gin. I'm also a software engineer with a passion for technology and blogging.

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