How should you store gin? Why does my vermouth taste like vinegar? Is gin out of date? How long can a tonic be stored? Here are all the answers.
We are so used to everything having an expiration date. It is often quite real, such as with milk and meat, however, proper storage can extend its shelf life. This is also the case with wine, here proper storage is the very key to long shelf life.
Gin Does Not Go Out of Date
When it comes to liquor, there is no real expiration date. However, it is so that some types can change the taste. Let’s start with the most robust. Barrel-aged gin can withstand most things. As long as the cork is tight, a bottle of barrel-aged gin will last for many years.
How to Store Different Gins?
Clear gin types, such as London Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin, and Modern Gin, also have virtually unlimited durability. Note that I write clear gin types. There is a difference between “regular” gin and the types that change color. The Illusionist Dry Gin or Sharish Blue Magic Gin are two examples of gin that is degraded by sunlight. Here the color becomes lighter or completely gone, without this putting a noticeable mark on the taste.
When it comes to the latest addition to the gin family, Pink Gin, this is quite different from brand to brand. Here, in very many cases, it is wise to avoid sunlight or light at all. Most beverages will lose some color, but it has little or no effect on the taste. Shelf life depends on what the individual gin contains, which varies greatly.
The most common way to store gin is probably standing on a shelf. As long as the cork is tight and the bottles are not exposed to direct sunlight, all types of gin will last for many years. One thing to be aware of is gin bottles with natural cork. If you plan to store the bottle with natural cork for many years, these should be stored horizontally so that the cork is always moist. A wine rack is a perfect solution.
When it comes to storing Sloe Gin, it seems that the only thing that happens is that there may be some deposits in the bottle where the gin comes in contact with air. However, we have not tried to store this type of gin for longer than two to three years.
Vermouth Should Be Stored in the Same Way as Wine
Vermouth behaves just like wine. It’s mean that the shelf life is limited. Unopened bottles should be stored in the dark, and not exposed to large temperature fluctuations.
An opened vermouth will over time react with the oxygen in the bottle, just as wine does, only much more slowly. Eventually, the liquid will turn brown and get a taste of vinegar. This is guaranteed to ruin the drink.
You can make an opened vermouth last much longer by using vacuum caps, such as those intended for the wine. If you store vermouth in the refrigerator, it is also a good solution. Another tip is to buy smaller bottles. Few people drink so much Dry Martini that they manage to empty the liter bottle from tax-free before it has become bad. Then it pays to buy a pint at Vinmonopolet or Systembolaget, and store them in the refrigerator.
We have found that it is best to have vermouth as wine-dark and cool – ie in the fridge. Then you will not feel the difference between an opened bottle for several months. If you want to store vermouth at room temperature, you should vacuum them, but in that case, it is best to use inert gas to displace the oxygen.
When it comes to the tonic, it behaves much like a soda. That is, it lasts a few months beyond the expiration date before it gets a bad taste. You should be aware that the tonic on plastic bottles is fresh. The reason for this is that plastic emits carbon dioxide. I have experienced that the tonic in a plastic bottle is almost dead the same week as it has an expired date. It is necessary to take into account that tonics with color, in the same way as gin, can lose color if exposed to sunlight.
A very concrete example is Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic Water. This product is extremely light-sensitive and will lose color after a short time unless you store these in a closed cupboard.