Can alcohol spoil in heat?


A lot of dishes need alcohol in them to enhance the actual flavor intensity. But if you’re new to making these kinds of dishes, you may have a lot of questions. All of these might be really confusing.

One of the questions might be – Can alcohol spoil in heat?

Well, no, alcohol doesn’t go bad in the heat. Whether you’re using it for cooking or baking, it won’t go bad in the heat. Even if you keep it in a warm place it won’t go bad. But there are still concerns and exceptions to this statement.

To know them in detail, do read the whole article. You’re going to get some tips on the liquor store as well. So let’s dive into it.

Does Alcohol Go Bad in Heat? -Why/Why Not?

Well, no alcohol doesn’t go bad in the heat. But it surely oxidizes more if put in heat. It might be concerning for most of you as we use alcohol in a lot of foods.

It’s normal to ask if the alcohol goes bad in the heat. So the answer again is no. We’ve explained what happens when you heat alcohol a bit later. So hold on for that.

Now when we say alcohol, we include all sorts of liquor and distilled spirits. So if you may want to know- do distilled spirits go bad in heat?

Then the answer is no. Now you might think that beer or vodka and drinks like these are served cool. So how come they don’t get spoiled in heat?

Well, in this situation most liquors are made while keeping the ingredients in heat. For example, the beer needs to be fermented and kept in a warm place. So that the yeast can do its work. Similarly, a lot of liquors are made in warmer temperatures.

So you can understand that warm temperature or heat won’t do any harm to them. But like water, it will oxidize faster in heat. Alcohol actually evaporates more than water. Even oil doesn’t evaporate when heated.

You may also want to know- can mixed cocktail drinks containing vodka go bad in heat?

Well, it can go bad. In cocktails, there’s a mix of vodka with any fresh fruit juice or syrup. The juices can go bad in the heat. 

Moreover, the syrup will burn or change consistency. As a whole, the cocktail will go bad.

How to Tell if Alcohol Has Gone Bad? – 2 Indicators

Well, if your alcohol has gone bad, there obviously will be signs to check. We recommend looking for the signs each time you open a bottle of alcohol.

Many of you think of alcohol as a low-maintenance drink. But the truth is it can also go bad.

We’ve mentioned the following factors so that you can check them out.


First of all, you’ll see that the color of the liquor has changed. It might become two shades darker than what it previously was. Or it may become one or two shades lighter than the previous color.

Apart from that, the liquor might look cloudy and unclear. But it’s not like when cooking spray goes bad. 

When alcohol goes bad, you’re most likely to see it getting cloudy and faded. Other than this, there’s another indication.


If the alcohol has gone bad, you can sense it right after opening the cap. Because you’ll have a strong smell of ammonia.

So when you get that smell and see the difference in color, consider it bad.

No matter how much it hurts, you’ll have to dispose of the bad alcohol. You can’t even take a  sip from it. 

What Happens to Alcohol When Heated?

When you heat alcohol, it reaches the boiling point. Somehow it starts to evaporate. In terms of distilled spirits, you shouldn’t boil them. 

It’s because the recipes you’re trying to make don’t need the alcohol to boil. But you can warm up the alcohol and simmer it for a while.

But what happens when it’s actually heated?

Well, we’ve mentioned that in the next sections.

Taste Will Differ 

Well, in both low and high temperatures, the taste of the alcohol will differ. It might taste a bit acidic. Or if you cook the alcohol with other ingredients, flavors might get mixed together.

As a result, heating will bring a change in the taste of alcohol. But the ultimate taste of the dish will be how you wanted it to be. Other than cooking you may place alcohol in a warmer place and the bottle is unopened. Then the taste will remain the same.

Shelf Life Will Change

Let’s say you’ve opened a bottle of vodka. Now you’re storing it on a shelf where direct sunlight comes. What will happen is the opened bottle will let the vodka evaporate faster. Normally if you store vodka properly, it will last up to 30 years.

But opened vodka that’s kept in sunlight can last for 2-3 years only. 

If you cook a dish with vodka, you can store and eat it within 2 days. Because when it’s directly heated and mixes with other ingredients that can get spoiled.

The Integrity Will Change

Let’s say you exposed alcohol to a flame and it burned. Now the alcohol is converted to carbon dioxide and water, resulting in a chemical shift. When heating alcohol, try not to heat it directly over an open flame.

Alcohol evaporates quickly and absorbs heat. When heated, alcohol expands causing its integrity to change.

How to Store Liquor Properly?-Detailed Instructions

A lot of factors depend on the storing of liquor. So that it can be in a good condition in the long term.

Wondering what those factors might be? We’ve mentioned the dos and don’ts below.

But wait, before that, let’s have a look at which temperature is good for what type of liquor.

Alcohol Temperature (Fahrenheit) 
Tequila, rum50-60
Whiskey, vodka55-60

So based on the information, you can ensure the perfect temperature for your liquor.

Keep it in A Cool Place

Tequila, rum, vodka, whiskey, gin are types of liquors that can be stored at room temperature. They don’t mind a bit of heat and can be used in dishes. 

But to ensure its prime condition, we suggest you keep it in a cool place.

Well, drinking warm alcohol won’t harm your health. But storing it in a warm environment will cause the whiskey to oxidize faster. Thus, it will change flavors over time.

But you may want to know if you can leave liquor in a hot car?

Well, yes you can leave the liquor in a hot car if it’s sealed. Because direct sunlight can’t harm the liquor. if it’s unsealed, you can store it in the car trunk. So that you can keep it away from the direct light.

You can also transport liquor by keeping it in the trunk. Or keep it on a seat where there isn’t much light exposure. Or you can bring an ice bucket to keep the liquor cold. Finally, you’re good to go.

Avoid Direct Sun Exposure

Make sure your bottles are out of direct sunlight if they’re on a bar cart. While UV rays will not ruin liquor, prolonged sun exposure will. Because it has the same impact as storage at high temperatures. The sunlight will speed up the oxidation process.

So if you put bourbon in direct sunlight for 10 days, the color will start to fade. The same thing will happen to scotch as well.

That’s why we recommend not to leave alcohol under direct sun exposure.

Put The Drink in Freezer if Needed

Most distilled spirits are safe to store at room temperature due to their high alcohol level. But there is a handful that should be kept in the refrigerator.

Cold storage is required for fortified wines like vermouth, port, and sherry. Even cream-based liqueurs like Baileys Irish cream are also suggested to store in the freezer.

But whiskey, vodka, and beer sort of drinks can be stored at room temperature. However, cold beer and vodka are good if served chilled. 

If you think your drink will turn icy, you should know alcohol doesn’t freeze. At least, it won’t be at the temperature your refrigerator is at.

So if you prefer your drink to be cold, you can do so.

But you may think that storing it in your freezer is not possible. Because you already store juice, sauce, and milk in the refrigerator. So you can always go for beverage refrigerators. These are mini-fridges, specially made to store liquor.

Stand The Drink Up

While storing the bottle, try to stand the bottle up. We suggest you keep a shelf for alcohol. Place the bottles there vertically. Even if you store it in the fridge, do stand the bottle up on the fridge doors.

You may have heard that sommeliers often recommend putting wine bottles on their sides. But that’s not true for all liquor bottles. If you keep your whiskey down instead of standing it upright, the cork will mix and leak into the liquor. 

That will affect the high alcohol level and eventually disintegrate it. To get the greatest results, keep the bottles vertical.

Finish The Liquor to The Last Drop

We often have parties or alone at home we drink alcohol. But sometimes we don’t finish the whole bottle and keep it like that. So keeping it unsealed will let the alcohol evaporate even more.

A full bottle of booze will survive longer than one with only a few drops remaining. The less there is left in the bottle, the more it will oxidize. Oxidizing is a process that speeds up when there is less than one-third remaining of the alcohol on the bottle.

So we suggest if you open a bottle, finish that. If not possible alone, share it with friends. Even if you store that, keep that in the freezer. Try to close the cap as tightly as possible. Before opening up another bottle, finish it up.

It can be one way to finish the drink up, ain’t it? Well, with that suggestion, we’re saying our goodbyes for today. We hope that you understand whether or not alcohol goes bad in the heat.


Question: Can you leave alcohol in the car overnight?

Answer: Yes, you can leave alcohol in the car overnight. To be more specific, this won’t impact the alcohol at all if you keep it in the car overnight.

Question: Does alcohol go bad if kept in the refrigerator and then left out?

Answer: Well, it shouldn’t impact the alcohol. If you take it out and keep it the room temperature then the alcohol should be fine. 

Question: Is it safe to keep rubbing alcohol in a car?

Answer: Rubbing alcohol consists of isopropyl alcohol. That means it’s highly inflammable. So it can turn to be risky if left in the car.


So we’re at the end of the whole discussion on does alcohol go bad in heat. And this is it for today.

Here’s one last suggestion for you. You can store the liquor in the fridge if you want to drink it later. If you want to drink it at once, keep the liquor at room temperature.

But if you still have any queries do let us know. Also, you can comment on your ways to store liquor. We would love to know more ways of storing alcohol from you. 

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