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Does Kahlua Go Bad? (Find Out Here)

by insanelygood
Kahlua Drink

Kahlua is that delicious coffee liqueur that you use to make White Russians and Espresso Martinis. Or maybe you drink a little on its own because it’s just so sweet and creamy.

It can also be used to make unique desserts like amaretto, or for a little spike in your coffee or hot chocolate. 

Even though Kahlua is delicious, it’s not typically alcohol that you use regularly.

I often buy a bottle when I’m craving its unique coffee goodness, but after the initial use, I forget it in the back of the pantry.

So you may wonder, does Kahlua ever go bad? Since it has other ingredients besides the alcohol, it may not last as long as a bottle of traditional spirits like vodka or gin.

I was curious, so I did some research. Keep reading to learn more about Kahlua’s shelf-life and how to make it last. 

Does Kahlua Expire or Go Bad?

Since Kahlua contains a good amount of sugar, it can actually get old and lose some of its great taste.

It’s highly unlikely, but not impossible, that it will grow mold or turn rancid, but its quality will deteriorate over time. 

Kahlua has an alcoholic content of 20%, and generally, if an alcoholic beverage has over 15%, it isn’t really susceptible to bacteria.

However, since Kahlua contains other ingredients as well, there may be a decline in quality.

While it may take a long time to really “go bad,” your cocktails may not have a good, strong flavor if you keep it for too long.

How Long Does Kahlua Last? 

So, how long is too long for Kahlua? According to the manufacturer, Kahlua has a shelf life of about 4 years.

This doesn’t change even if the bottle is opened or unrefrigerated, but again, the quality may not be as good if that’s the case.

Your Kahlua will definitely taste better when used within a week of opening than when you try it again three months later.

Some experts say that even unopened Kahlua will probably start to lose some of its punchy flavors after about 18 months.

How to Store Kahlua

The best way to store Kahlua is in a dark, cold environment.

Storing an unopened bottle of Kahlua in the refrigerator won’t extend its shelf-life, but Kahlua is tastier cold, so if you prefer, there’s no problem with storing it in the fridge. 

Once your Kahlua is opened, be sure to seal it tightly with its original lid to help retain the strong coffee flavors.

Wiping any drips or residue is also a good idea to avoid attracting fruit flies or inviting contamination. 

You might be used to storing your alcohol in the freezer.

While Kahlua won’t totally freeze because of its alcohol content, storing it in the freezer long-term is not recommended since it will change the consistency and make it thick, chunky, and hard to pour.

How to Tell if Kahlua Has Gone Bad

Kahlua, like most liqueurs, is unlikely to truly “go bad” in the sense that it is unsafe to drink, however, there are some signs that it won’t be as tasty to drink.

Since the key component of Kahlua is the coffee, this is the main way to tell if your bottle of Kahlua is still good.

Over time, the aromatic compounds in the brew will begin to break down. That means that it will lose some of its coffee flavor and smell.

Smelling your Kahlua is a good way to tell how it will taste. If it still smells strongly of coffee, you’re good to go.

If it seems to have lost some of that pungent smell or has no smell at all, the taste will probably be off.

If the smell seems pretty good, but you’re still not confident, pour a bit into a clear glass. If it looks okay, with no separation or weird floaties, check the flavor.

Even if the taste is a little less strong, it should still work well for drinks, but if it tastes bland, it’s probably best to discard the bottle.

The textures in Kahlua may slightly settle and separate. This is okay, but it may mean the flavor has changed.

You can mix Kahlua back together by tightly sealing the lid and slowly tipping the bottle upside down a few times.

Be gentle. It’s probably not a good idea to shake it fully. Another sign that your Kahlua has seen better days is if there are sugar crystals forming around the edge of the cap.

It should still be fine to drink, but definitely do the smell and taste tests as described above. 

Even though it is unlikely, if there are off smells, a strange texture, a change in color or taste, or especially any signs of mold, Kahlua is definitely not good to drink.

If everything smells and looks fine, give it a taste. A flavorful bottle of Kahlua means it’s fresh and ready to use!

Does Kahlua Go Bad?

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