Does Amaretto Go Bad?

You’ve found a bottle of Disaronno sitting in the cabinet for years, and you’re not sure if you can still use it. Or your bottle of amaretto that’s opened for a couple of years is not quite finished and you start to worry it will spoil.

In both cases the question “does amaretto go bad?” immediately comes to mind.

While amaretto is a high-proof liqueur, many people are not sure how exactly should it be stored, or if it needs refrigerating after opening. And there are quite a few different opinions out there on how long does it last after opening.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about storage, shelf life, and if amaretto can go spoil, read on.

Image used under Creative Commons from Corey Balazowich

How to Store Amaretto

You should store amaretto similarly to other liqueurs, such as Kahlua or RumChata. Since it doesn’t have any ingredients that spoil easily, keeping it at room temperature or slightly below is perfectly fine. That means the pantry is the best choice, but a liquor cabinet will do just fine too.

Make sure the spot that amaretto sits in is a dry and dark place, away from sunlight and any heat sources. The same rules apply to pretty much all high-proof alcohols.

Tip

As with most alcohols, amaretto is best served chilled, so feel free to refrigerate it for a few hours before opening the bottle.

Amaretto liqueur with dry almonds
Amaretto liqueur with dry almonds

Once you open the bottle, make sure it’s always tightly sealed when not in use. Oxygen is the enemy of liqueurs just as much as it is of distilled spirits such as rum.

In short, the contact with oxygen causes oxidation that alters the alcohol compounds and results in changed taste. The better access amaretto has to air, the faster the oxidation process occurs. That’s why we always keep the bottles sealed tightly.

If your bottle is less than half full and you know you won’t finish the bottle within the next 6 months, consider pouring it into a smaller glass bottle. This way, there will be less air in the bottle and the oxidation process will slow down. That will result in the liqueur keeping the optimal flavor for longer.

To make things clear, you don’t need to refrigerate amaretto after opening the bottle.

Image used under Creative Commons from Edsel Little

How Long Does Amaretto Last

Like for many other high-proof alcohols, the shelf life of amaretto is basically indefinite if you store it properly.

There’s a chance that your bottle of amaretto has a best-by date on it. That date indicates how long the liqueur should remain at peak quality. Generally, as long as you keep the bottle unopened, its quality should remain best for quite a few years.

Once you open the bottle, the quality of the alcohol will slowly start to deteriorate. You can read in at least a few places online that amaretto should be consumed within 6 months for optimal flavor. While that may be true, many people use that liqueur for at least a few years after opening and the taste is still perfectly fine.

Because of that, there’s no need to worry about that opened bottle if you use only a small amount of it at a time. It can easily last quite some time.

Info

If you drink amaretto by itself, you will notice the change of flavor earlier than if you use it in drinks, recipes, or add to coffee or ice cream.

Pantry
Amaretto Unopened20+ years
Amaretto Opened~5 years

Please note that the dates above are for the best quality only. Amaretto should stay safe to drink indefinitely.

How to Tell If Amaretto Is Bad?

As already mentioned, because of its alcohol content, amaretto should never go bad. But life happens, so if you only use this liqueur from time to time, give it a quick exam before consuming.

If it has developed an off odor, the color changed significantly, or it tastes bad, discard the product right away. That’s highly unlikely to happen, but who knows. If your spider senses are tingling and you feel that something is wrong with the liquid, err on the side of caution and trash it.

What’s much more likely to happen is that after opening your bottle a few years ago, the flavor doesn’t quite hit the spot now.

If that’s the case, you can use the amaretto in cooking, cocktails, or to add some flavor to baked goods or hot beverages likes coffee. Or you can pour some over ice cream. If amaretto is just one of the ingredients, its somewhat bland taste won’t be as noticeable.

Of course, if you only drink it by itself, and you don’t like its flavor anymore, feel free to discard it.