Does Liquor Have to Be Stored in a Cool Place?

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Unlike wine lovers, who often fret about the harm that temperature fluctuations are doing to their beloved bottles, or beer enthusiasts, who run the risk that exposure to the sun will "skunk" a beer, liquor drinkers need to devote relatively little effort to storing their favorite bottles. Liquors such as gin, vodka, rum and whisky should be stored at room temperature.

Enduring All Weathers

  • Because of its high alcohol content, liquor is shelf stable, meaning that it neither improves nor deteriorates in an unopened bottle. Similarly, being kept at room temperature neither helps nor harms the quality of the liquor. At very cold temperatures, some of the water in the solution may freeze out, causing it to become cloudy, but this will disappear when the bottle is returned to room temperature.

Keep Out of the Sun

  • Although temperature shouldn't be a problem, sunlight can be dangerous to stored liquor bottles for other reasons. If you're keeping bottles for resale, sunlight can cost you by fading the labels and reducing their value. Some liquors, such as whisky, can lose their color if repeatedly exposed to direct sunlight. Not all whiskies lose their color to the same extent, but it's best to be on the safe side and keep them in the dark.

Opened Bottles

  • Unlike unopened bottles, open liquor bottles will begin to deteriorate. Again, however, temperature doesn't make much difference to this process. Part of the deterioration is caused by evaporation, so high temperatures should be avoided, but the real culprit is contact with air. Even a corked bottle will allow some air in once the seal is broken. However, the process is gradual; a bottle of liquor will retain its quality for six to eight months or even more.

Serving Temperature

  • Storing a bottle at room temperature doesn't mean that it has to be served that way. While some liquors, such as whisky, are best enjoyed at room temperature, others should be served chilled. Vodka and gin in particular are typically served cold in mixed drinks; if served as shots, they should be at cellar temperature, slightly below room temperature. This may mean removing bottles from storage to refrigerate them before serving, but it doesn't mean that these bottles need to be stored cold.

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