Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Share My Kitchen
Baileys Irish Cream is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages all over the world. It is particularly popular in winter, but it’s also a common gift choice, especially for women.
You might wonder if the unopened bottle of Baileys Irish Cream in your cupboard is still safe to open.
Most likely, yes. Let’s discuss it.
Does Baileys go bad?
Baileys can go bad and expire, but not as fast as you might think, considering that it is cream-based. Baileys, and other cream-based liqueur, can last for up to two years in sealed bottles. If the bottle isn’t contaminated, then it will likely last longer. The liqueur can last for up to 6 months once the seal is broken. However, it is more susceptible to outside influences and may spoil faster.
You need to know how to properly store Baileys Irish Cream, so it lasts as long as possible and keeps its full flavor. Also, be aware of the signs to look out for.
When Does Baileys Expire?
It can be difficult to determine the exact date. Therefore, your Baileys Irish Cream bottle comes with a best by date and not an expiration date printed on its label.
The general consensus is that cream-based liqueurs can be kept in sealed bottles for approximately 2 years. So the best-by date of a Baileys is exactly two years from the day it was bottled.
However, the liquid may be affected by many external factors. Baileys can go bad inside the bottle before its best by date depending on how it is kept. Or, it might have a fine flavor and texture months later than the best-by date.
Does Irish cream go bad after opening?
Although, if the bottle has been opened, it is not possible to say the same. The shelf life of your Baileys bottle will be significantly reduced if the seal has been broken.
Unopened bottles of Baileys can still hold their shelf life for up to 6 months. This is quite impressive for a cream-based drink. However, the process of cream and alcohol gradually separating begins as soon as the bottles are opened.
This can negatively impact the flavor and texture of the Baileys product over time. So it’s better to drink it within the first few months, and not to extend it beyond six months.
Why Does Baileys Go Bad?
Spirit-based alcohol beverages don’t usually expire when they remain sealed. An unopened bottle of vodka or whiskey has an indefinite shelf-life. Baileys Irish Cream is a whiskey-based beverage, so it is not unreasonable to assume that it too would last forever.
Baileys, however, is a liqueur and not a pure liquor. These liqueurs are enriched with flavorful ingredients that enhance the spirits’ taste. But this makes them more susceptible to spoilage depending on the additional elements.
Baileys is a homogenized drink that mixes whiskey and cream. So this makes it more susceptible to deterioration. Although alcohol can prolong the cream’s shelf-life, it can still go bad with time.
How to Properly Store Baileys Irish Cream
The sealed bottles of Baileys Irish Cream should be kept at 32°F to 77°F. Warm temperatures speed up spoilage, just like with pure cream, and there’s also a high likelihood that it will go bad before its best by date.
It does not actually need to be refrigerated unless it’s summer and you won’t have any temperature-controlled spots in the house.
On the other hand, when the bottle of Baileys is opened, you need to reseal it as best as you could, and put it in the refrigerator.
How do you know if Baileys is bad?
Baileys is a cream-based beverage, so it can’t expire. And the main indicator that Baileys has gone bad is the same as cream going bad.
Please pay attention to the drink’s:
Like spoiled dairy, spoiled Baileys can smell sickly sweet if the deterioration is just starting (like custard), or outright sour if it has been ongoing for a while.
The homogenization of whiskey and cream begins to break down over time. So instead of the Baileys’ creamy, smooth texture, you will get a drink that is lumpy, thick and congealed.
The texture of the drink, however, may begin to change even if it is not going bad. You can give it a gentle shake to smoothen the texture.
Color darkening is another side effect of whiskey-cream homogenization. Baileys having a darker color means that it is about half a step away from starting coagulation. So it’s best to get rid of it.
If you are still unsure after the previous tests, you can taste it. But not more than one sip!
Drinks that have started going bad will be sour. On the other hand, a full-on expired Baileys can be compared to yogurt and sour cream in taste. However, it doesn’t have to reach that level to be considered expired. It is enough to have a few sour notes.
What Will Happen if You Drink Expired Baileys?
Drinking expired Baileys can lead to similar results as drinking spoiled cream. But, you may not experience any effects if you or drink small amounts. Or you can get mild stomach upset.
However, it can cause typical symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, upset stomach and/or diarrhea, if consumed in a larger portion.
The good news is you should be aware of typical signs of spoilage that indicate that your bottle of Baileys is no longer good.
Consuming expired Baileys is likely to have similar results as consuming expired dairy. Although it won’t cause any harm in small amounts, it can lead to food poisoning if consumed in large quantities.
A sealed bottle of Baileys has a shelf life of approximately 2 years. Although, it won’t go bad after that, which is why the Baileys bottle has a best-by date, not expiration date. It is not, however, recommended to stretch the drink beyond that date. That is because it’s more likely for the drink’s texture and flavor profile to change.
It is safe to consume an opened bottle of Baileys for up to 6 month. However, the spoiling process accelerates once the bottle is unsealed. So it’s best to consume Baileys as soon as possible.
The heat accelerates spoilage. So keep the bottle in a cool dry place, preferably a refrigerator, whether the bottle is closed or opened.
Keep it properly stored in a cool area, and make sure you drink it before its best by date. This will allow you to enjoy the smooth, and luxurious creamy flavor without any drawbacks.