Does Kahlua Go Bad?

Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liqueur based on rum and it’s commonly used in drinks. Does it go bad? The alcohol content in it is 20% so it’s safe from spoiling or going bad (at least for a couple of years). Nevertheless, the alcohol can lose its unique taste when it’s stored improperly or for a long time.

How To Store Kahlua

Kahlua should be stored like any other alcohol. The first thing you have to remember is to keep opened bottles sealed tightly, using the original cap. Don’t ever store Kahlua with a pourer. You should store it in a dark place where it won’t be exposed to extreme temperatures and bright light. Pantry seems to be the best place to fulfill those needs. In case you have wondered if Kahlua has to be refrigerated – it hasn’t. Nevertheless, some people prefer to serve it chilled.

Shelf Life Of Kahlua

The shelf life of this liqueur isn’t as long as shelf lives of base spirits (like vodka). Liqueurs contain some ingredients (like sugar) that can spoil. The producers of Kahlua state, that the shelf life of (either opened or unopened) bottle of the liqueur is 4 years[1]. It doesn’t mean that the liquid will spoil after 4 years, that only means that Kahlua will start to noticeable lose its flavor after exceeding that time. You should take that into consideration while buying massive amounts of Kahlua when the price is low.

How To Tell If Kahlua Is Bad

Checking if Kahlua is spoiled is pretty similar to checking any other alcohol. If you’re uncertain if the liqueur is fine you should start off by checking how does it smell like. If the smell is odd or unpleasant you should discard the alcohol. If it smells fine you should pour it into a glass and look for any discolorations, curdling or any other visual changes. If you can find one of those, the alcohol has probably gone bad. You should also take a look on the bottom of the bottle – if you can find there any crystallized sugar, you should throw that bottle away. Lastly, you should give the Kahlua a taste test, if it tastes fine, then it’s probably OK to drink it.

Does Kahlua Go Bad?
(credit: hfreesartography)

Kahlua is a liqueur containing sugar, so it doesn’t have an almost indefinite shelf life (like base spirits). However, it takes several years until Kahlua goes bad. Unfortunately going bad isn’t the only bad thing that can happen to this liquid. After a couple of years it will lose its flavor and you probably won’t be fond of it, therefore you should consider drinking it within 3-4 years of the production date.