Pouring Illegal Tender Rum Co into a glass with ice.

Can Rum Go Bad?

Your Guide to Rum Shelf Life and Storage

Rum enthusiasts often find themselves pondering the longevity of their favourite spirit. Whether stashed away for years or recently opened, this guide will answer the lingering question: "Does rum go bad?"

The Shelf Life of Unopened Rum

As long as the bottle remains sealed and untouched, pure rum remains preserved indefinitely. So, whether it rests on your shelf for a decade or more, its charm remains untarnished, ready to be enjoyed whenever the moment calls.

So, How Long Does Opened Rum Last?

Once the bottle is opened, you'll need to keep it tightly closed when not in use. When a bottle of rum isn’t sealed tight, the liquid slowly evaporates. Because alcohol evaporates faster than water, the rum gradually becomes milder. The process of oxidation also takes place and when combined, these two processes slowly change the taste of the rum. When tightly sealed, these processes still occur, but it all happens at a snail’s pace meaning you won’t be able to notice those effects for years to come.

However, once a bottle of rum is opened, its shelf life varies depending on the type of rum and the conditions in which it's stored. Here's a rough estimate:

Unflavored Rum:

Unflavored rum, or "straight rum," retains its flavour profile for about 2 years when opened. However, even after this period, it's still safe to consume.

Flavored Rum:

Flavored rum, infused with sugars and spices, will change once opened. You might notice shifts in colour, flavour, and potency within just six months. If stored improperly or for too long, it can even develop a vinegary smell and a slightly sour taste.

Tips for Storing Opened Rum

To keep your opened bottle of rum in optimal condition, follow these tips:

  • 1. Keep it tightly sealed when not in use
  • 2. Avoid storing it with a pourer on
  • 3. If the bottle is only half empty and you plan to keep it for years, consider transferring the rum to a smaller container
  • How To Tell If Rum Has Gone Bad

    While rum doesn't go bad in the same way that perishable foods do, it can deteriorate if stored poorly. If you've had an opened bottle for an extended period or notice any signs of spoilage, follow these steps:

  • 1. Pour a small amount and examine the rum's appearance, smell, and taste
  • 2. If you detect any visual signs of spoilage or an off-putting smell, it's best to discard the rum
  • 3. If it doesn't taste as it should and you don't enjoy it, consider whether it's worth consuming
  • In Summary

    In summary, an unopened bottle of rum has an indefinite shelf life, lasting for decades upon decades. Once opened, it's best to consume it within 2 years for unflavored rum and within 6 months for flavoured varieties to enjoy the best quality. While rum doesn't go bad, it can change in taste and quality over time, so savour it while it's at its best.

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