You know that moment when you find a bottle of gin stashed at the back of a cupboard and work out it’s been there 2 years? The first thing you will probably wonder, alright second as the first one will be how the hell did you forgot about it!, is “does gin go off?”

Gin, like other spirits with a high alcohol content, has a really long shelf life when unopened. However, once the top has been cracked and a few hefty doubles poured it’s a whole different ball game. As soon as that bottle is opened air gets in and oxidation starts. This is effectively the air attacking the alcohol, thus changing it’s flavour.

As the optimum storage for spirits is in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight you’ve pretty much nailed it with the cupboard so if that gin is unopened it will taste as good as the day it was put in there, if it has been opened it will not taste so nice.

It’s generally recommended that once a bottle of gin is opened it should be drunk within a year. Yes yes okay, I can see you all howling at the idea of a bottle of gin surviving for a year but work with me here okay? Whether you drink that half empty bottle that has stood there for years is entirely up to you, but try a bit on the end of your finger before you pour yourself a pint.

If you are curious about how this whole thing works here’s a little experiment for you. Leave a tiny bit of neat gin in a glass overnight then have a sip the next day. The chances are that you will already notice the taste has changed and not for the better.

So does gin go off? Not really but the taste is greatly affected by the oxidation so if it’s been open more than a year it will probably be yucky so don’t bother.

Handy tip of the day;

To slow down the pesky oxidation which makes your gin taste nasty think about how long it’s going to stand until it’s empty. Even with the lid screwed on firmly all that air will attack your gin and affect its flavour. If it’s a large bottle and is only half full you will get the best result by decanting it into a smaller bottle as less air = less oxidation. You see? Not just a pretty face!