How Long Is Rum Good For?

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Do you have a bottle of rum that you’ve had open for a few months, but have never gotten around to finishing? Or perhaps, the bottle has been lying around for years, unopened, and now you are curious to find out if it is still safe for consumption. How long is rum good for?

How Long Is Rum Good For?

Rum, like all other distilled spirits, is a stable spirit and therefore can last indefinitely, whether it is opened or unopened. However, if it is not stored properly, it could begin to lose its color and taste. To maximize your rum’s shelf life and keep its quality intact, you have to store it properly.

A glass of rum with ice

The problem is not really with safety as much as it is with quality. Ideally, the high alcoholic content in strong spirits would kill most germs or bacteria that they might get exposed to. So while they could be safe for you to drink, the taste might not be the same.

What Is the Best Way to Store Rum?

As mentioned earlier, provided you properly store unopened rum under the right conditions, it can last forever. If you do the same also for opened rum, you could increase the amount of time it will spend without going bad. Here are a couple of tips on how to properly store rum:

Store Rum in a Cool, Dry, and Dark Place

Rum should be stored in the same kind of environment that you would store other alcohols, like whiskey, vodka, and brandy. Keep the bottle in a cool, dry place, away from any sunlight. This not only protects the flavor but also the texture and color as well. The best places to store rum are in a pantry or cellar, just like beer.

Keep It Tightly Closed

This only applies to opened bottles. The moment you pour a drink for yourself from the bottle, ensure that you keep it closed tightly. Once you open a rum bottle, the processes of oxidation and evaporation make the rum gradually lose its taste and potency.

A cocktail drink

You should note that even when a bottle is tightly sealed, the two processes still occur, albeit at a much slower pace. This means that for many years, you still will not be able to tell the difference in taste unless you are an expert.

Make Use of Screw Tops Instead of Corks

Although corks might look way more fancy and presentable, they are not as good as screw tops when it comes to alcohol preservation. When purchasing, look out for rum bottles with screw tops or you could find a way to attach a screw top to your bottle by yourself.

Transfer the Rum Into a Smaller Bottle

The more oxygen that is present in a bottle, the quicker it deteriorates. So, if you have a rum bottle that is currently half-empty, you might want to transfer the contents into a smaller bottle. This ensures that there is more rum and less air in your bottle, and helps your rum last for longer.

However, doing this will only make a difference if you are hoping to keep your rum long-term, for about a year and more.

When Is the Best Time to Open a Bottle of Rum?

The best time to open your bottle of rum is when you know you will be able to finish it before it loses its taste. Most rum connoisseurs have a rule of thumb that states once rum is opened, it should be consumed within six months to ensure that you get the best taste from it.

To follow this rule, you would have to time the opening of your rum bottle to ensure it fits into a six-month plan. For example, if you are going on a trip for a couple of months, it is the wrong time to open your rum, because chances are you would not have finished it by the end of six months.

If you realize you are getting closer to the end of your six months, and you still have some rum remaining, you could maybe invite some of your friends over to drink. If this is impossible, then you could simply transfer the rum into another bottle as mentioned above. On the flip side, to get the best taste from beer, a two-day window is all you have to avoid drinking bad beer.

A bottle of rum

Related Questions

How Can You Tell if Your Rum Has Gone Bad?

Essentially, alcohol does not go bad. However, there would be a great reduction in its quality, if it had been stored under poor conditions. If the storage conditions of your rum have been poor for years, you should inspect it before drinking. Do this by pouring a little quantity into a cup, smelling it, and tasting it.

If you sense any foul smell, or if it does not taste like it normally should, the best thing to do is discard it, because let’s be sincere, there really is no joy in drinking alcohol that does not taste good.

Can You Refrigerate Rum?

Drinks such as rum, whiskey, gin, do not have to be refrigerated because of their high alcohol contents. While putting it inside a fridge a couple of hours before drinking could make it more enjoyable, there really is no point in keeping it in there for years. Beer on the other hand is best stored refrigerated.


The key to preserving rum for as long as you want is proper storage. Whether opened or closed, storing the right way preserves the integrity of the fluid, and allows you to enjoy it for a long time.