How Long Does Rum Last?

Ever find an old bottle of booze lying around and wonder if it's still safe to drink? Not sure how long rum can be stored or whether it goes bad over time? You SLY DOGs will have to keep reading to find out the answers.

Let’s start with the basics

In case your memory needs some refreshing, here's a quick run-through on what exactly rum is.

Rum is an alcoholic drink attained by fermenting sugar cane juice or molasses into a clear spirit. This process results in what we all know and love - white rum.

Then, some distillers go crazy by ageing it in heavily charred bourbon barrels to deepen its colour and intensify the taste, thus creating the cult-favourite dark rum, or by adding sweet spices and other ingredients to the concoction like a combination of cinnamon and orange peel for example.

The latter ones are technically referred to as spiced rums, and the right proportions and quality of the added ingredients can easily earn the status of the “best rum in UK” or even worldwide.

So, considering that rum is a distilled alcohol, it’s safe to say that it shouldn’t expire that easily, right? Well, yes but it wouldn’t hurt to follow a few ground rules and precautions to help prolong the quality and shelf life of this heavenly drink.

How to store rum

First things first, always store your liquor in a dry and slightly cool place without strong light exposure and away from any heaters or the oven. An ideal place is a pantry or a bar cabinet for example.

The second rule is pretty basic - don’t forget to tighten that lid if you don’t want to later on, discover that the amount of the liquid left has magically decreased. Yeah, it’s physics 101: alcohol evaporates! That’s why you shouldn’t store your bottle with an attached pourer either, as it’s not going to act as a seal.

These logical steps apply to almost any other hard liquor in your home bar, so if you follow them, you will be able to enjoy your alcoholic drinks at any point.

Does rum go off?

Let’s set the record straight - an unopened bottle of rum can last for many decades without ever going bad. Just remember that, unlike wine, if you store your bottle for a couple of years in hopes of attaining its aged version, it won’t do the trick as distilled liquor doesn’t age after bottling - you’ll end up with the same drink no matter how long you wait!

How long does rum last after you open it?

If you wish to fully enjoy the rich aromatic qualities and delicate flavour compounds of your rum, you better aim to down it within six months to a year after opening it. Once opened, after a certain time, aromas inevitably weaken and the rum slowly loses its richness and colour, taking away from your flavourful experience. That's why it's best to enjoy and appreciate all the hard work and efforts put into the final product by the rum distillers by consuming this glorious drink at the peak of its existence.

If you have less than half a bottle of rum laying around and you’re going away for a few months, you better take care of that baby. Here’s a handy tip from us to you: simply pour the liquid into a smaller bottle, seal it nicely, and you’re good to go! That way you can rest assured that there’s no danger to your treasure as it will not risk being affected by the oxygen. Or better yet, just get yourself a bunch of SLYtastic 5cl mini bottles to save yourself the hassle.

When it comes to enjoying a special drink like the best UK spiced rum, a.k.a. the SLY DOG which combines our secret tropical spices with the fiery Caribbean rum, you should remember that we exclusively use natural ingredients that make our drink stand out from the crowd with its unrivalled flavours. That means that it may have a slightly shorter but by no means less fabulous shelf life. The main reason for that lies in the addition of the fresh ingredient… Wait, did you really think that we will reveal our secrets that easily? No chance!

If you really want to know, you will simply have to guess by tasting our magical rum. Back to the rum though, while it sounds like a disadvantage, we all know that it never is an issue since we simply can’t get enough of this addictive beverage, let alone worry about the leftovers.

How to tell if rum has gone ‘bad’?

Well, this one’s pretty easy. You simply have to use your senses and a bit of logic. Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Does it look weird?
  • Has the colour faded?
  • Does it smell funky?
  • Does it have a diluted or sour taste?

If the answer to at least one of them is yes then the chances are, your rum is spoiled and it’s best to discard the liquid. While we as human beings need air and light to stay alive, when it comes to alcohol, they can become its enemy. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and oxygen starts to break down the liquid’s molecules releasing astringent flavours.

So, to conclude the lesson, rum is an exceptional alcoholic drink that is pretty much impossible to spoil if you keep it right. Once opened though, it slowly starts to lose its flavour whilst being in contact with air. The good news is, you have plenty of time to drink rum before it risks losing its greatness. Worst comes to worst, when having doubts about the flavour, just simply add some lime juice and brown sugar to enjoy a nice rum cocktail.

Want to learn more about rum? Check out our blog on the different rum types including navy rum, flavoured rums, white rums, dark rums and more.


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