As is the case with many liquors, a bottle of Kahlua takes a while to finish. It’s always good to have on hand for when the mood for a White Russian or Espresso Martini strikes. Perhaps you’d just like to add a boozy twist to your coffee, but chances are you probably won’t be able to finish off that bottle right after opening it. So how long do you have until your Kahlua goes bad?
Does Kahlua go bad? In the sense of spoiling like food, no. Kahlua, like other liquors, has a long shelf life. That being said, it certainly doesn’t last forever.
Kahlua will maintain its quality for up to 4 years, and though you can consume it after this point, it will likely have lost some of its flavor.
Keep reading if you’d like to know more about the shelf life of Kahlua and how to know when it’s time to buy a new bottle.
Can Kahlua Go Bad?
Though Kahlua will never actually spoil like food or certain other drinks will, it will definitely lose quality over time. The alcohol in Kahlua helps prevent bacteria from growing, but that doesn’t mean that it is immune to going bad. If Kahlua becomes contaminated, it can certainly spoil, though this is very unlikely.
Additionally, unlike harder liquors like whiskey or vodka, Kahlua contains sugar. Because of this, it ages much worse than other liquors and actually has an expiration date, which is 4 years after its production date, regardless of whether or not the bottle has been opened.
Of course, an unopened bottle of Kahlua will taste better after 4 years than one has been opened, but if you store the bottle properly, you can maximize its quality over time.
So while Kahlua probably won’t spoil to the point of making you sick if you drink it, it may taste pretty bad if it is not stored correctly or if it is consumed long after its expiration date.
If you’re not sure how long your bottle of Kahlua has been sitting there, be sure to smell it before tasting it. This will give you a pretty good sense of whether or not it is still drinkable.
How to Store Kahlua?
Properly storing Kahlua is pretty easy. First off, you’ll want to store it upright in its original bottle with the cap tightly sealed so that no air can get in.
It is also important to keep Kahlua, like other liquors, out of direct light. Keeping it in a dark place helps to preserve the liquor, as light speeds up the oxidation process, so you’ll want to try and store your kahlua in a closet, pantry, or liquor cabinet.
You will also want to keep your Kahlua in a cool, dry place. Keep it away from heat sources, like the oven or radiator, and if your kitchen is exceptionally warm, consider storing it in another room.
You should be fine storing it at room temperature if you live in a relatively temperate place, but if where you live gets very hot in summer and you don’t have air conditioning, consider keeping it in the fridge.
Also, as with all liquors, it is best to store your Kahlua with as much liquid as possible in the bottle. More liquid means less oxygen, which will help to slow down the oxidation process, which impacts the quality of the liquor.
Can You Refrigerate or Freeze Kahlua?
Kahlua should always be stored in a cool place, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fridge or freezer.
However, as many people prefer to drink Kahlua chilled, they choose to store it in the fridge. While this is not required, it won’t do any harm to the beverage as long as you are always sure to properly seal the cap before storing it.
It is important to note that Kahlua should never be stored in the freezer. While it does have a high alcohol content (20%), it also contains sugar and coffee, so storing it in the freezer will cause the liquid to harden, making the beverage thick and hard to pour.
How Long Does Kahlua Last?
Like other liquors, Kahlua has a long shelf life when properly stored. The Original Kahlua beverage lasts for 4 years after its production date, and though it will still be safe to drink after that time, it may lose some quality and flavor. This is regardless of whether or not the bottle has been opened.
Keep in mind that you can maximize the shelf life of Kahlua by properly storing it. Kahlua that has not been stored properly will not have the same quality after 4 years as Kahlua that has been kept perfectly sealed (or even better, unopened) in a cool, dark place.
Other varieties of Kahlua don’t have quite as long a shelf life. Flavored varieties of Kahlua, which include French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Mocha, Cinnamon, Peppermint Mocha, and Pumpkin, maintain their quality up to 2 years after their production date.
On the other hand, their Ready To Drink cocktails, which include varieties like White Russian and Mudslide, only maintain their maximum quality for about 1 year after the production date. This is because they contain ingredients that are more prone to spoiling.
How Can You Tell If Kahlua Has Gone Bad?
If Kahlua has been properly stored and it is still within 4 years of its production date, it probably hasn’t gone bad. However, if you’re not sure if your Kahlua was properly sealed or how long it has been sitting in your pantry, you’ll want to make sure that it is still okay to drink before pouring some in your coffee.
Drinking old Kahlua likely won’t make you sick, but its flavor could be significantly altered if it is too old or hasn’t been stored well.
To check if your Kahlua is still drinkable, go ahead and sniff it before tasting. If it smells off, then it is best to not drink it. Also, if the drink has become discolored or mold has begun to grow around the cap, it’s time to move onto a new bottle.
Is It OK to Drink Old Kahlua?
While drinking old Original Kahlua probably won’t make you sick, it will likely be quite unpleasant. However, drinking one of the flavored or Ready To Drink versions of the beverage after its expiration date might be a bit riskier.
As the various flavored Kahlua drinks and Ready To Drink cocktails contain ingredients that are more prone to spoiling, like dairy products, it could actually be dangerous to consume them after their expiration date. In the case of these beverages, you should pay close attention to the best-by date.
Keep in mind that while you can probably consume Original Kahlua after its 4 year best-by date, it will likely have lost some of its quality and flavor, so it is always best to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines to be safe.
What Is the Best Way To Use Kahlua?
Kahlua can be used in a variety of ways, and it is a key component in many delicious beverages.
To begin, if you really like the taste of Kahlua, you can always drink it straight or on the rocks, or consider adding a splash to your coffee. However, it is most commonly used as an ingredient in cocktails.
One of the most common Kahlua cocktails is the White Russian, which is also made with vodka and cream and served on the rocks. A variation on this drink is the Black Russian, which is just made by omitting the cream.
Another favorite is the Frozen Mudslide, which aside from Kahlua contains vodka, Irish cream liqueur, and vanilla ice cream. Finally, the Espresso Martini is a delicious brew made with Kahlua, vodka, and espresso and shaken for frothiness.