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Do Canned Cocktails Expire?

Canned cocktails are the epitome of convenience. They’re great for stashing in a cooler and hauling to the beach when a hard seltzer or macro lager just doesn’t sound like it’ll hit the spot, and they make for an ideal at-home treat when you don’t have the ingredients — or the energy — to stir up a cocktail on your own. But if a few of those cans have been crowding the back of your fridge for as long as you can remember, you may want to think twice before cracking one open.

Despite their packaging, all canned cocktails are not as shelf-stable as you might expect. To discover more about their expiration dates, VinePair tapped Andrew Rodbell, co-founder of Post Meridiem Cocktails, for more information.

Canned cocktails typically expire within one year of purchase, but there are a few factors that may impact their lifespan. As many pre-mixed drinks will not have their expiration dates clearly labeled on their packaging, Rodbell says that the most important thing to look for when determining their viability is the ingredients inside. Cold-brew coffee, orange zest oil, and real citrus juice are three ingredients that can diminish over time, while artificial flavors and ingredients will last much longer.

“Most canned cocktails don’t list a shelf life because they’re made with artificial ingredients that would survive a nuclear winter,” he explains. “Real ingredients — 100 percent real citrus, especially — taste much better than the fake stuff, but the trade-off is that many real ingredients can’t last forever.”

While Rodbell is only able to speak for the shelf life of Post Meridiem’s cans (which have a best-by window of one year when stored in a cool space), he says other brands that also exclusively use real citrus juice will likely expire in the same time frame. There are a few caveats, though, and a product’s label offers vital insight.

“What the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB) allows a product to say on a label is very telling, and the more specific, the more authentic,” Rodbell says. “‘100 percent real lime juice’ means all the juice is actually sourced from limes with no added flavors. [But] ‘lime’ can be anything, including the industry standard of white grape juice with lime flavorings and citric acid.”

The same goes for the spirit used: High-quality liquor will be labeled differently than those made with additives or other artificial ingredients that may preserve the cocktail longer. Tequila cocktails labeled with “100 percent Blue Weber agave” or “100 percent agave” will contain real, authentic tequila, while those simply labeled “tequila” may contain a mixto. It’s a similar case with whiskey.

“‘Straight bourbon whiskey’ means the whiskey is new-fill and barrel-aged for the minimum time period,” Rodbell explains. “‘Whiskey’ [on a label] can mean anything, including accelerated aging and/or added colorings and flavors.”

To preserve your canned cocktails for as long as possible, Rodbell advises keeping them in the refrigerator, though they can also stay stable when stored at room temperature.

“[Canned cocktails] are typically fine if treated similarly to beer and wine, which is to say keep them in a cool place away from extreme heat,” he says. “Products that contain 100 percent real lime juice retain a little more citric bite when refrigerated rather than stored on the shelf. And please avoid hot car trunks in the summer.”

*Image retrieved from leungchopan via stock.adobe.com

The article Do Canned Cocktails Expire? appeared first on VinePair.

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