How Long Does Mezcal Last

Mezcal, like other distilled spirits, is a unique drink with a rich flavor profile derived from the agave plant.

You may wonder how long a bottle of mezcal will last or if mezcal can go bad over time.

Let’s explore the shelf life of this spirit and discuss how oxidation, aging, and proper storage affect it.

Whether you prefer añejo or joven mezcal, knowing how to store and serve it properly ensures you get the most out of every sip.

With the right knowledge, you can enjoy mezcal at its best for a long time.

What affects mezcal’s longevity?

Several factors can impact the longevity of mezcal and whether it remains flavorful over time.

Production process and quality

The traditional production process and the quality of the agave used affect mezcal’s shelf life.

Mezcal made with high-quality agave, including blue agave, and careful distillation will age better.

Artisanal production methods, which have been traditionally used for centuries, ensure that mezcal retains its unique flavors.

You can learn more about it in this article about “How is Mezcal Made?”.

After being cooked to convert the agave sugars, the plant undergoes fermentation to produce alcohol.

Mezcals made from mature agave plants and distilled properly in traditional copper stills or clay pots are often aged in barrels to develop their flavors further.

Such mezcals are more likely to maintain their quality over time, especially when stored correctly.

Storage conditions and bottle sealing

Proper storage and sealing are essential for preserving mezcal’s flavor and aroma.

Bottles of mezcal should be kept in a dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to prevent a negative impact on its quality.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat can compromise its flavor and introduce unwanted elements.

Keeping the mezcal in its original bottle, sealed tightly with a cork or cap, minimizes air exposure and helps retain its original taste.

However, when mezcal is exposed to air, its flavors can change, leading to a diminished tasting experience due to oxidation, which affects both aroma and flavor.

This oxidation process can lead to the loss of subtle notes like sweet agave or spice, or even the distinct hints of coffee present in some mezcals.

An improperly sealed bottle increases the likelihood of oxidation, so always ensure that the cork or cap is secure.

Does mezcal go bad?

Mezcal, like other distilled spirits, does not spoil or sour like milk or wine because of its high alcohol content.

Its high proof prevents the growth of bacteria or mold that could cause spoilage.

However, mezcal’s flavors can diminish over time if an opened bottle is not stored properly, leading to a less enjoyable drinking experience.

The spirit may also develop slight changes in aroma due to oxidation when exposed to air for extended periods.

Recognizing changes in flavor and arom

While mezcal doesn’t spoil in the traditional sense, an opened bottle left exposed to air can develop off flavors.

With exposure to oxygen, the mezcal’s distinct tasting notes may be lost, leaving a muted or altered profile that is less enjoyable.

This is especially true if the mezcal is improperly stored.

Visual indicators of mezcal spoilage

If sediment or discoloration is observed in the liquid, this could indicate the presence of unwanted elements affecting the mezcal.

For the most part, however, mezcal’s color and appearance won’t drastically change over time if stored properly.

Does mezcal expire?

Unlike wine or whiskey, mezcal does not have a strict expiration date. However, not all mezcal ages the same way.

The short answer is that mezcal is a distilled spirit with a high alcohol content, which makes it less susceptible to spoilage over time.

Even so, the flavor and aroma may evolve or mellow with prolonged storage, especially if the bottle has been opened.

While an unopened bottle can maintain its quality for many years, an opened bottle should be consumed within a few years to enjoy the spirit at its best.

Read this article about “Alcohol Content of Mezcal” for more context regarding mezcal’s alcohol content and how it can affect its shelf life.

Comparing mezcal to other spirits

Similar to tequila, mezcal’s high alcohol content makes it unlikely to spoil, but the flavor may change over time if not stored properly.

Distilled spirits like mezcal are typically more stable and can be stored longer than wines due to the distillation process.

Whiskey and rum, for example, can also be stored for long periods without spoiling, while wine has a relatively shorter shelf life due to its lower alcohol content.

Proper storage is key for all distilled spirits to preserve their distinct flavors and aromas over time.

Maximizing mezcal shelf life: Storage and sealing tips

To ensure your mezcal retains its quality and unique flavors over time, it’s important to store and seal it correctly.

Mezcal should be kept in a cool, dark place, like a liquor cabinet or cellar, at room temperature to prevent it from spoiling.

Avoid direct sunlight, direct heat, and extreme temperature fluctuations, as both can compromise the spirit’s flavor and aroma.

Additionally, make sure the cork or cap is secure to minimize exposure to air, which can cause oxidation and affect the taste.

If using a stopper, consider covering it with wax or paraffin to create an airtight seal.

When pouring,be careful to use appropriate glassware and avoid leaving the cork exposed to the liquid, as this can lead to cork degradation and impact the mezcal’s quality.

Following these best practices will help maintain your mezcal’s distinctive taste for longer.

Conclusion: Enjoying mezcal at its best

Mezcal is a spirit that ages gracefully, allowing you to savor its unique tasting notes over time.

Whether you prefer añejo or joven, finding the right moment to enjoy an incredible mezcal it is key to appreciating its incredible flavors.

Proper storage and sharing mezcal responsibly with friends will make every sip memorable.

Mezcal is best enjoyed in small amounts, enabling each person to fully experience the aromas and tastes of this artisanal spirit.

While mezcal can lose some flavor and aroma over time, it doesn’t spoil like wine or other spirits with lower alcohol content.

As long as an opened bottle is sealed tightly and stored correctly, it can be enjoyed for many years. If your mezcal remains clear and its flavors and aromas are intact, it’s ready to drink.

The spirit should taste just as complex and flavorful as it did when first opened.

Mezcal from Oaxaca carries a rich tradition and unique characteristics due to the regional production methods. Always store your mezcal in a cool, dark place to keep it in optimal condition for future enjoyment.