When Storing Sweet Liqueurs, Keep The Cap Clean

Alcohol storage can be tricky, especially for drinks enthusiasts with an extensive home bar. In addition to organizing the arrangement of beverages, there's always the question of durability. While full-proof spirits are stable enough never to spoil, they do diminish in flavor over the years.

The same can't be said about other styles, though. Wine-based bottles — like vermouth, port, and Lillet — need to be in the fridge, and consumed in months' time. Then, there are sweet liqueurs, which cause the most confusion. Due to their varying bases, like cream, fruit, or herbs, storage practices and times vary.

Regardless of the type, there is one habit all bartenders should employ: keeping the sweet liqueur's cap clean. After pouring and mixing during a night of drinking, wipe away any residue on the cap. This will stop crystallization of residue, which will affect the cap's seal, thereby letting oxygen into the liqueur. This simple move will improve the durability, not to mention the cleanliness of prized purchases.

Wipe down liqueur caps to prevent crystallization

Just like with a bottle of wine, liqueurs and spirits exposed to oxygen will alter in flavor. As a result, that tight cap seal is necessary for storage, stopping any leaking. And especially with liqueurs made with cream, consider throwing them into the fridge, too. With a well-fitting cap, such a move can expand storage from around six months to a few years.

Stress less with herbal and spice-based liqueurs. That bottle of sambuca, schnapps, or triple sec will hold up just fine over time. Plus, if it's extra sugary, that'll work as an advantage. When liqueurs are both sweet and contain a sizable alcoholic content, they are quite stable. The sugar will preserve the liqueur, keeping any external microbe growth at bay.

However, once you reach several years of storage, especially with mostly empty bottles, it's much harder to determine. Make sure to sniff and sample before pouring into a guest's glass. And if your original cap cleanliness habits are on point, it's much more likely the spirit will still be good to drink.