How long does mezcal last? Does it go bad?

How long does mezcal last? Does it go bad?

If you’re new to the world of mezcal and recently bought a bottle, you might find yourself wondering about its shelf life. Can mezcal go bad? How long does it last? Well, mezcal friend, fear not! In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of mezcal and explore just how long it can stay at its best. So grab your copita and let’s dive in!

Does Mezcal Go Bad?

The short answer is no, mezcal doesn’t spoil or become undrinkable like some other perishable products. Unlike a carton of milk or a loaf of bread, mezcal won’t suddenly turn into a foul-smelling concoction if left untouched for a while.

However, mezcal is a distilled spirit, and just like any other alcohol, it can undergo changes over time. These changes primarily affect its flavor and aroma. So let’s explore how to maximize the enjoyment of this spirited elixir.

Shelf Life and Storage

While mezcal doesn’t technically go bad, it’s essential to store it properly to preserve its flavors and keep it tasting its best. Here are some tips to help you extend its shelf life:

Store it upright: Unlike wine, mezcal doesn’t benefit from prolonged contact with the cork or closure. Storing the bottle upright prevents the alcohol from interacting with the cork, which could potentially affect the taste.

Keep it away from sunlight: Just like vampires, mezcal prefers to avoid direct sunlight. Ultraviolet rays can degrade the quality of the spirit, causing changes in flavor and aroma. Store your bottles in a cool, dark place to protect them from light.

Maintain a stable temperature: Extreme temperature fluctuations can have a negative impact on mezcal. Aim to keep it in a consistent environment, away from heat sources, such as radiators or ovens. Fluctuations in temperature can cause the liquid to expand and contract, affecting its taste.

Seal it tightly: Make sure the bottle is properly sealed after each use. A loose or damaged closure can expose the mezcal to oxygen, leading to oxidation and a decline in quality over time. Keep that precious liquid airtight!

Change of Flavor Over Time

While mezcal doesn’t spoil, its flavor profile can change over time. Some people argue that older mezcal develops more complexity and depth, much like whiskey. This rather holds true for the intentional aging process used for mezcal reposado and añejo.

When not sealed properly, mezcal can oxidate or evaporate:

Oxidation: When mezcal comes into contact with oxygen, a natural process called oxidation occurs. This can lead to slight changes in flavor and aroma, and some people might find these changes enjoyable. However, prolonged exposure to air can eventually lead to a decline in quality.

Evaporation: Over time, especially if the bottle isn’t sealed tightly, small amounts of mezcal can evaporate. This evaporation can concentrate the remaining liquid, and alter the flavor.


In the world of mezcal, time can be both a friend and a foe. While mezcal doesn’t go bad like perishable foods, it can experience subtle changes over time due to oxidation and evaporation. Proper storage and handling can help maintain its quality and extend its shelf life, ensuring that each sip is as enjoyable as the first.

So, savor that mezcal while it’s fresh, but don’t fret if a bottle lingers on your shelf for a while. Just remember to store it upright, away from sunlight, and in a stable environment. And when you’re ready to pour yourself a glass, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and centuries-old traditions that went into creating this extraordinary spirit.

Cheers to mezcal, a spirit that knows how to stand the test of time, both on your shelf and in your glass!

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    Since 2018, Alex keeps coming back to Oaxaca to to enjoy the food and the agave spirits of this wonderful state. Favorite: Tepeztate.