Does Rum Go Bad?

Does rum go bad? That’s probably the question that brought you here. Rum is one the base liquors, so it’s a very stable distilled spirit. That means it can be stored for years and still be fine, basically having the same (or almost the same) taste as in the moment the alcohol was bottled. In this articles you can find a few tips about storing and shelf life of rum, so if you’re interested, read on.

How to store rum

One should store rum as any other liquor. That means it should be kept in a place that’s cool (pantry-like cool, not refrigerator-like cool) and dry. That’s it. Once the bottle is opened, you need to remember to keep it tightly closed when not in use. Don’t even consider storing a bottle of rum with a pourer on. Why not, you ask? When a bottle or liquor isn’t tightly sealed, the liquid slowly evaporates (alcohol evaporates faster than water does), so it slowly becomes milder. Also, the process of oxidation slowly takes place. Those two processes combined slowly change the taste of the liquor. If it’s tightly sealed, those processes also occur, but they occur extremely slowly, so you will be able to notice some effects after at least a couple of years.

One thing to remember – if you’ve used more than half of the liquor inside the bottle and you’d like to keep the rest of the rum for a pretty long period of time, pour it into a smaller bottle and seal tightly. The more liquid in the bottle, the slower the deterioration processes occur.

Bottle of Rum

Shelf life of rum

Basically, the shelf life of rum indefinite. As long as it’s unopened and the seal isn’t compromised in any way, the rum should be as good twenty years from now as it is today. After opening the bottle the shelf life of rum stays indefinite, but it slowly (depending on how well it is stored) deteriorates. That’s why most people recommend drinking liquors within a couple of years after opening (ideally the faster, the better). The longer it stays opened, the worst its taste will become (remember that if it’s stored properly, this will take many years to even tell the difference in taste).

One quick reminder – base liquors (unlike some wines and beers) no longer age once they’re bottled. As I’ve mentioned earlier – rum in an unopened bottle should basically taste the same today and 20 years from now. Just don’t fall under the wrong impression that keeping a bottle of rum for years will make the rum’s taste better, because it won’t.

How to tell if rum has gone bad

As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times, rum doesn’t really go bad, although it can deteriorate if stored poorly. That said, if you’ve stored rum for a number of years without its cap or with the seal compromised, you should definitely examine it before drinking a larger amount of it or offering it to your guests. Just pour a small amount of it, smell it and taste it. If you’ve noticed any visual signs of spoilage (virtually impossible) or a funny smell, discard it. If it simply doesn’t taste like it should, it’s your choice. You can drink it (because it’s not spoiled), but in my opinion there’s no sense in drinking any alcohol that you don’t enjoy.

All in all, rum has an indefinite shelf life and chances it will go bad are almost non-existent. Knowing that, you should also remember that storing it opened for a very long period of time (meaning years) isn’t a good thing. Its taste will slowly deteriorate and the speed of deterioration depends on how well it’s stored. If it’s stored properly, you shouldn’t notice any difference in taste even after few years.