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How Long Does Rum Last? Can It Go Bad? (Explained)

If you aren’t a regular drinker, you may have a bottle of rum that has been sitting in your fridge or liquor cabinet for months. If so, you’re probably wondering how long does rum last, and can it go bad?

Opened bottles of rum don’t go bad, but the flavor quality may decrease over time. Unopened bottles of rum can last for decades while sealed, but opened bottles should be consumed quickly for the best experience.

If you’re anything like Captain Jack Sparrow, you’ll want to hang on to the rum as long as possible. Read on for more details about rum expiration and ways you can use up rum.

Does Rum Expire?

Rum doesn’t expire, as it’s a stable liquor and won’t degrade or sprout mold. However, the quality will decrease, and you need to drink it quickly to get the best flavor. Rum manufacturers agree that you should keep rum for no more than six months once you’ve opened the bottle. 

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Six months is the benchmark for the best quality, flavor, color, and generally better alcohol. 

After six months, you won’t see mold or other decay, but there may be other signs that the rum is getting too old. The flavor may change significantly, and sub-flavors may fade. For example, if you bought pineapple-flavored rum, the pineapple flavor may fade away, leaving only the rum flavor.

Sometimes you can make your rum last longer than six months. However, this requires the ideal storage area and climate control. If your rum is stored in a cool, dark, dry place, it’ll last longer than an identical rum kept in a warm, humid, bright spot. 

How Long Can Rum Last?

Rum can last at least 20 years while sealed. However, once the bottle has been opened, the quality will start to decrease, and you should ideally drink it within six months. Drinking rum after that point isn’t dangerous, but you might notice a difference in taste.

The oldest bottles of rum that still exist today were distilled in 1780 and still contained liquor after all that time. According to those who got to try it, the Harewood Rum was still drinkable and had aged remarkably well. 

These bottles stayed hidden in an English wine cellar for over 200 years and were found in 2011. So, why can rum stay shelf-stable for hundreds of years?

This is because rum is one of the stable liquors. Rum doesn’t have volatile components that can expire or decay, like fruit suspended in the liquor, nor does it have quickly evaporated parts, like a high water content.

Another reason the Harewood rum is unique is because of where the Earl of Harewood stored it. 

The brother of the eighth Earl of Harewood found this cache in a wine vault in the basement of an English country estate. They were sealed in a space specifically designed to preserve alcoholic beverages and thus earned a Guinness World Record.

Can unopened rum go bad? Learn how to store your rum properly.

What To Do With Extra Rum

No one wants to waste alcohol, especially if you’ve shelled out for a more expensive bottle. However, you have to use up your rum within six months before losing its best flavor. You can do several things with extra rum that you don’t know what to do with. 

How To Use Up a Small Amount of Rum

A small amount of rum is relatively easy to get rid of if you know how to use it. Not only can you use it in cooking, but you can make single-serving cocktails with it. You could use the rum in various desserts, such as a rich rum cake or homemade Bananas Foster

Rum is also one of the best choices for flambe, especially if you want a rich flavor. 

You could always use the rum in various cocktails as well, such as Pina Coladas, Mojitos, Daiquiris, and Hurricanes. These are all perfect for summer to give you a taste of the tropics. 

Good rum always shines and will take your dishes and drinks to the next level. Of course, these are good for small amounts. Using up a lot of rum usually requires a big event or steady consumption over a long time.

How To Use Up a Lot of Rum

If you have a lot of rum to get rid of before it loses its flavor, you can always make a delicious punch. This is an excellent opportunity to experiment with larger batches and create something exceptional for a social event.

You could do a big batch of eggnog for Christmas parties, or you could make a cranberry punch for autumn. For summer, you could make one big batch of a tropical punch with Blue Curacao and pineapple juice.

These are great options to get rid of a large amount of rum deliciously. Not only that, you can show off your cocktail-making skills to anyone who’s been invited to your party.

How To Store Rum for Preservation

Storing rum and other liquors for long-term preservation or aging requires several components and the right storage conditions, which is especially true if the bottle has been opened in the past.

If you can reseal a bottle and make it airtight, you might be able to preserve an already opened bottle for a while longer than normal.

One of the best ways to reseal an opened bottle is to dip it in wax. The wax will harden and shrink, creating an airtight seal around the liquor, which is how many wineries preserve their wine in case of cork failure.

You also need a cool, dry, and dark place. These conditions are ideal for preserving different types of liquor. A lower temperature will also make it harder for liquids to evaporate and give them a better chance of staying chemically stable. 

Final Thoughts

While rum doesn’t go bad, you should drink it quickly, so you don’t lose the quality and flavor. Rum is a stable liquor and can last for hundreds of years if left unopened and stored properly.

Alternatively, if you have an already opened bottle you can get creative with recipes to use up the rum before it passes the best consumption period.

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