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It’s a good question, and one we certainly intend to answer! Vodka is probably the most popular base liquor out there, and it’s been that way for as long as we can remember. The old half empty theory doesn’t really apply to this Russian marvel because it will keep for months and months without changing one iota. If it’s never been popped and you want to save it for a special occasion then it will last for years. Ideal for those of you who were fretting about your favourite tipple!
What’s Vodka’s Shelf Life Like?
One of the beautiful things about vodka is that because of how carefully distilled it is it can last in storage for years. No matter when you bought it, you don’t really have to check the best before date whenever you get a shop delivered! In fact, if you pay out the big bucks for a particular vintage that you’ve always dreamed about tasting then you can sleep easy knowing that its taste will be virtually unchanged.
Why ‘virtually unchanged’ and not ‘absolutely the same’? No matter how well any type of drink is brewed and bottled, the container that it’s placed in will never be 100% airtight. They’re as good as airtight these days, but if you want to be completely correct about what you’re saying then you need to allow for the possibility of a very slight change over the course of decades. Even then, it’s really not something to lose a wink of sleep over folks!
What are the Best Materials for Storing Vodka?
When you want to keep your vodka in the best possible condition there’s no substitute for a glass bottle with a metal screw cap. Whilst vodka is one of those tipples that more than holds its own in virtually any type of container or storage conditions, it seems like a shame to decide not to go the extra mile doesn’t it!
Plastics will only have a very subtle impact on the taste of your prized drink, but they aren’t as good as metal and glass and there’s just no getting away from that! Over a timeframe of years (not weeks so don’t worry) plastic slowly leeches into the drink and starts altering the flavour. This may sound like quite an alarming thing to hear, but rest assured that it is completely safe and has been carefully studied by scientists around the world. In fact, all plastics leech in this way after long periods of time; irrespective of what they’re storing. It’s just part and parcel of using it to store stuff!
How Does Vodka Change When Opened?
An opened bottle of vodka will always change a bit quicker than one that remains sealed. That said; it can stay in good health for months and even years before even the most discerning tastebuds will notice anything’s wrong with it. So, why does it happen and what can we do about it?
Opened vodka goes off because the process of evaporation is a lot easier than when the bottle remains sealed. I know what you’re thinking: you’re picturing puddles vanishing in a single afternoon on a sunny day and you’re worried that your prized vodka collection is going to go the same way! Well, you can take it from me folks that there’s no danger of that happening anytime soon.
You’re never going to find your vodka has half disappeared, and you’re never going to have to start playing detective to see if one of your housemates has taken a swig and passed it off as evaporation. There’s just no way that it can happen that fast.
Does Evaporation Make Vodka Go Off?
Whilst we know that evaporation is the culprit for gradually changing the taste of our favourite drink it’s important to remember the operative word: ‘Gradual’. The key thing to know is that alcohol evaporates faster than water due to the wonders of chemistry. In fact, if you store an opened bottle of the good stuff for about 20 years you’ll find that its proof will nearly halve, but the overall volume of liquid in the bottle won’t look all that different.
Clearly when nature starts fiddling with the delicate balance that the brewers have struck years earlier, the taste of your drink is going to change somewhat. In extreme cases you’ll find that certain yeast strains will begin to grow in the bottle and create an unwanted culture that will give it a foul taste and may cause an upset tummy. Once again though folks, bear in mind that this is for opened bottles stored for several decades. It doesn’t exactly sound like a common problem now does it?
How Can I Store Vodka so it Doesn’t Go Off?
Good question, and I’m sure it’s the one you’ve been waiting for me to get around to for a little while now!
The first thing you want to do is avoid keeping vodka in constant bright light. This is because sunlight will activate natural chemicals in the drink that will gradually begin to alter the taste and aroma in irreversible ways. Once it starts there’s not a whole lot you can do about it!
Secondly, you’re going to want to keep it miles away from extreme heat sources. Don’t leave it next to the hob, don’t be tempted to place it artfully near the fire; keep it cool and it will do a much better job of keeping its flavour.
The final thing I want to tell you about? Please, please, please keep your novelty bottle pourer well away from that prized bottle of vodka. They may look like a good idea and you might think they look cool, but there really is no substitute for using the original cap to close it up again.
With all these tips and wonderful pieces of knowledge at your fingertips you’ll now turn into something of a connoisseur when it comes to keeping your favourite tipple in fine fettle. Enjoy!