If you are a sweet-tooth like me, Bailey’s Irish Cream is perhaps your go-to liqueur too! Oh, how I love it’s un-Bailey-vably (sorry, I had to do it!) sweet, creamy, and chocolatey flavor.
It’s a great ingredient for desserts and sauces. Plus, it gives me just the right amount of buzz for a fun get-together with friends.
But, it’s generally something I only use on the weekend. Adding just a little bit to coffee or other drinks. That means I always have quite a bit left over.
After my bottle of Bailey’s has been sitting in the fridge for a while, I start to wonder if it can go bad. So I did some research and found out that sadly, yes, it will go bad in time.
Unlike liquors that last forever, liqueurs don’t. And the dairy in the beverage causes it to spoil.
But that doesn’t mean you should throw it out right away, because it still has a long lifespan, especially when you store it the right way.
So if you’re like me and a huge fan of Bailey’s, read on. I’ll tell you everything you need to know – from shelf-life to proper storage to checking for freshness.
How Long Does Bailey’s Last?
According to the manufacturers, Baileys has a shelf-life of two years, regardless of whether you open the bottle, or whether you store it in the fridge or at room temperature, as long as you keep it away from sunlight.
You see, the whiskey in the Baileys acts as a natural preservative, keeping it safe from spoilage. Hence, the impressive lifespan.
But, despite the two-year shelf-life, it is still best to consume Bailey’s within six months. Within that period, Baileys is still considered young, and that’s when it’s at its finest. Beyond that, its quality will start to deteriorate.
Also, once you open the bottle, you expose the Bailey’s to air, which will cause its quality to decline faster. A month or two won’t make that big of a difference, but eventually you’ll notice that it won’t taste as fresh as it was before.
How to Store Baileys Irish Cream
Seal the bottle tight and store it in a cool and dark place – AKA the refrigerator. Sure, you can store it at room temperature, too, but since it’s got dairy in it, the fridge will help keep its integrity for much longer.
It’s best served chilled anyway, so there you go!
The one thing you need to avoid at all costs is warm temperature and light exposure. If your house is often above 70 degrees, better to keep Bailey’s in the fridge.
And another thing, much like other liqueurs, Bailey’s Irish Cream is allergic to temperature fluctuations. So, be sure to store it at the back side of the fridge, away from the door. That is its best chance at resting at a consistent temperature.
Now, can you freeze Bailey’s to preserve it longer? Again, sadly, no. Since it contains cream, freezing it will just cause an unpleasant change in texture once thawed.
It will also form ice crystals which not only affects its texture but also makes it almost impossible to pour out the liqueur from the bottle.
But hey, don’t let this stop you from making Bailey’s ice cream, though! Churning the Irish cream will halt the formation of ice crystals, so it’s safe to use.
Granted, it will melt more than non-alcoholic ice creams, but it still tastes fantastic, so who cares?
How to Tell if Irish Cream Has Gone Bad
Irish cream won’t go bad beyond two years, but its quality will start to decline afterwards. That’s why it’s important to check whether it is still safe to consume after the two-year mark. Here’s how:
- The first thing you need to do is to give it a whiff. If it emits a sour smell, it’s time to go.
- If it passed the smell check, time to observe its appearance. Pour a bit into a clear glass and check for coagulation or separation. If it looks like cottage cheese, say goodbye. Irish cream that has gone bad will also look darker and thicker than normal.
- If you don’t notice any changes in color and texture, check the taste. Now, this one is subjective. It most likely won’t have the same quality as before, but if it still tastes fine, it’s up to you to keep it or not.
- If the bottle has been sitting in the fridge well beyond two years, just let it go. Don’t even bother checking! It’s better to err on the side of caution, and it won’t taste as good, anyways.