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Can Irish Cream Go Bad? (And How To Store)

Quick Answer

Yes, Irish cream can go bad. While the distilled spirit used in Irish cream will not go bad, the other ingredients can. This causes the drink to split and become discolored, making it unsafe to drink.

There is something about Irish Cream that is just totally delicious. Its flavor makes it so much more than just alcohol.

This creamy and rich liqueur can be added to lots of different drinks, and even enjoyed on its own. However, if you serve it, we’re sure it’ll be delicious. 

The only downside of Irish Cream is that it can often be tricky to enjoy large amounts at once. A single glass is often satisfying enough, and you likely won’t find yourself reaching for more.

But, as you do this, you might find yourself wondering “Can Irish Cream go bad?”. In this guide, we’ll be finding out. So keep on reading to find out more!

Can Irish Cream Go Bad?

Does Irish Cream Go Bad?

A lot of people believe that alcohol does not go bad. While this is true for some types of alcohol, such as distilled spirits, it isn’t true for all alcohol. And unfortunately, it isn’t true for Irish cream.

Irish cream does go bad. It doesn’t have an infinite shelf life, and this is mainly because of one key ingredient used in its design: dairy.

While some liqueurs are sugar-based, Irish cream is a dairy-based liqueur that contains large amounts of heavy cream. 

While the alcohol content of Irish cream will not go bad, the heavy cream will, and this is why Irish Cream will spoil. 

However, the shelf life of Irish cream isn’t as short as the shelf life for heavy cream. While most dairy products have a very short shelf life, Irish cream can actually last for around 2 years.

This isn’t impacted by whether it is opened or unopened, or how tightly it has been sealed. 

What is the Correct Way to Store Irish Cream?

While the way in which Irish cream is stored will not extend its shelf life, it will affect the quality of the Irish cream.

If stored incorrectly, then the quality of the Irish cream will degrade, and the flavor might start to taste not quite as nice as it previously had. 

To keep your Irish Cream tasting nice and delicious, we would recommend storing it in a tightly sealed bottle. The tightly sealed bottle should then be stored in a cool and dark place.

As long as the bottle is tightly sealed, Irish Cream can be stored at room temperature. However, for the best flavor, we would always recommend refrigerating it. 

But as we have said, Irish cream does not have to be refrigerated. As long as it is kept cool and dry the Irish cream will remain safe to drink.

However, you absolutely should not store your Irish cream in warm areas or in direct sunlight. If you do this then your Irish cream will go bad very quickly.  

Can I Freeze Irish Cream?

At some point in our lives, we have all put a drink in the freezer to cool it down. Whether it be a bottle of water to take to work, or a bottle of beer that you had previously forgotten to put in the refrigerator.

But can you pop Irish cream in the freezer to cool it down?

Well, believe it or not, but you shouldn’t actually freeze Irish cream. While the alcohol content of the Irish cream will not freeze, the cream component will.

When this happens, crystals will appear in the Irish cream which will totally transform the texture of the Irish cream once it has defrosted. 

So, literally speaking, yes, you can freeze Irish cream. However, you shouldn’t do this if you are planning on drinking the Irish cream.

That being said, if you plan on freezing the Irish cream to create ice cream, then it is perfectly okay to freeze the Irish cream. 

How Do You Know If Irish Cream Has Gone Bad?

Finally, let’s wrap this up by taking a look at how to know if Irish cream has gone bad. As we said earlier, this alcohol only has a shelf life of around 2 years, and even then, it won’t taste as good as it could have.

Irish cream is an alcoholic drink that is best enjoyed young, so for the best flavor, we would recommend enjoying it within the first 6 months. 

Thankfully, due to the nature of Irish cream, it is actually pretty easy to know if it has gone bad. The first thing that will help you spot if it has gone bad is the smell.

Irish cream that has gone bad will taste similar to spoiled milk. It’ll have that strong and pungent smell that you associate with spoiled milk. If you smell this, then your Irish cream has gone bad. 


In short, yes, Irish cream can go bad. While the alcoholic part of Irish cream will not go bad, the heavy cream component will. Irish cream is usually safe to drink for around 2 years, but tastes best in the first 6 months. 

Thanks for reading!

Jess Smith