Do Bitters Go Bad?


Bitters...we all know that a little dash goes a long way.

With their addition to a cocktail being so minimal, how long will they last? 

Bitters is a product that combines high-proof alcohol and many different botanicals, fruit, aromatics and more. Most bitters have and ABV of 40% and this ABV is what keeps them fresh; The alcohol acts as a preservative. When I make syrups at home, i always add an ounce of neutral grain spirit or vodka for every 16oz of syrup to help perserve and extended the life of that syrup. I usually get 4 to 6 weeks out of them versus the 2 without it.

RULE OF THUMB....The higher the alcohol content the greater the shelf-life of a product. 

Yes, alcohol will extend the life of anything but what happens to bitters and other products is that the flavor and aroma tend to escape faster than when the product will spoil.Therefore, your dash count might need to go up in that cocktail if you feel like they are weakening. Its always best to smell and taste your bitters over time to make sure they are still fresh.

There is one caveat to all of this "extended Shelf-life" and "freshness" talk is when bitters are made with fruit. Usually, these bitters require refrigeration to stay fresh. If you don't you will notice immediately because the color will change, the aroma will change, and the taste will be terrible.

RULE OF THUMB....If it says "refrigerate after opening" do it! Otherwise it will go bad fast.

These little bottles balance out your cocktails with so much intensity that you can never have enough of them. Get yours at Muddle & Stir.


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published