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Can Rum Go Bad? Everything You Need To Know

Quick Answer

The answer to whether rum can go bad or not is simple. If the bottle has remained unopened, the liquid inside cannot go bad. In fact, an unopened bottle of rum can last for up to and over twenty years.

An opened bottle of rum has a significantly shorter shelf life, but the expiration date is unclear. Some manufacturers will say to consume the opened bottle within 6 months, but others will say it can last 1-2 years.

So, you’ve got a bottle of rum stored at the back of your kitchen cupboard that’s been there for God knows how long.

Or you’ve just found a half empty bottle of rum hiding in the shed after a particularly wild summer of barbecue parties.

Either way, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to drink that rum.

Can Rum Go Bad Everything You Need To Know

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that virtually all food and drink items go bad at some point – it’s just a matter of when.

The same applies to liquor and alcohols like rum, but can rum go bad? And if so, when does it go bad?

Here is everything you need to know about the shelf life of rum.

How To Store Rum

The key to extending the shelf life of any food or drink is to store it properly.

Rum is pretty easy to store – just like most other liquors, it needs to be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

It doesn’t need to be chilled in the refrigerator, just in a kitchen cupboard will do just fine.

If you have the space, you can also store rum in the pantry or cellar.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t move the rum to the refrigerator temporarily for a few hours before drinking it, if you want a cold alcoholic beverage.

There are no benefits or downsides to storing rum in the fridge, so to preserve space in the refrigerator, there’s not much point storing your rum in there.

The main thing to remember when storing rum is to make sure the bottle lid is secured properly.

If you leave a bottle of rum unopened, or even with the lid slightly unscrewed, this will increase the chances of the rum going bad.

While it’s not common for rum to spoil, you don’t want to risk the possibility of it happening.

Not only this, but not screwing the cap on rum properly will lead to an evaporation effect.

Alcohol evaporates faster than water, which results in the alcohol tasting milder than it should do.

To maintain the quality of the opened bottle of rum. Make sure to tighten the cap securely.

In the same breath, to preserve the quality of the rum and reduce the evaporation process, you can transfer the remaining rum into a smaller bottle or container.

This allows for less space in the bottle for the rum to evaporate into.

However, this is only necessary if you don’t plan on drinking the rest of the rum in a matter of weeks.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Rum?

Can Rum Go Bad

Like we mentioned before, the shelf life of an unopened bottle of rum is basically indefinite, as it can last up to and over a number of decades.

This means that a bottle of unopened rum will taste the same in twenty years time as it would the day you first bought the bottle.

Once the bottle has been opened, the shelf life becomes shorter than a couple of decades.

You’ll be happy to hear that the faster you drink rum, the better, because this is the best way to make use of the fantastic flavor.

However, the shelf life of rum will depend on how long the rum has been left in the opened bottle, the size of the bottle, and the manufacturer’s recommendation.

In some cases, the manufacturer will state that their opened bottle of rum should be consumed within 6 months, but this is generally a cautionary estimation.

Can Rum Go Bad?

Truth is, you won’t really know that rum has gone bad unless you drink it.

It’s not common for rum to spoil as opposed to just losing its flavor, but there is always a slim chance that your opened bottle of rum has gone bad.

The only way to tell if your rum has gone bad is to take a look at the color of the liquid, and acknowledge the smell and taste of it.

If the color looks different to its original color and it tastes or smells odd, then it’s time to throw the liquid away.

It’s never worth consuming anything that has gone bad!

If you do drink rum that has gone bad, you’ll be glad to know that you probably won’t have any bad side effects from it.

It’s not likely to give you food poisoning or a sore stomach unless you drink the entire bottle – but that’s more likely due to the fact that you’ve just consumed a lot of alcohol.

At the end of the day, there’s no point in drinking alcohol that you don’t enjoy.

So, if the rum tastes slightly different from usual, you probably shouldn’t continue drinking it.

Not because it’ll make you sick, but because it’s not really enjoyable to drink alcohol that tastes bad!

Of course, you can try to mask the flavor with a mixer, such as lemonade or Coca-Cola, but the more rum you add to the drink, the more you will taste it.

If you’re hosting a party and wondering if it’s worth serving the drink to your guests, you should try it yourself first and wonder if you would be happy drinking it before allowing your guests to drink it.


So, there you have it! While rum doesn’t really go bad very often, there is still the slight chance that an opened bottle of rum will go bad in a couple of years.

The worst that will happen is that the color and taste of the rum will be different to how it should taste, but it won’t make you sick.

Jess Smith