You’ve been feeling a little bit under the weather lately, and you’ve been wondering if it might have something to do with the old vermouth in your pantry.
Sure, you know vermouth isn’t supposed to last forever, but when is it time to throw out that bottle?
If you’re asking this question, you’re not alone.
Many people are unsure about how long vermouth lasts and whether or not drinking old vermouth can actually make them sick.
In this article, we’ll answer some of your most pressing questions about old vermouth including how long it lasts, what happens when it goes bad, and what you should do if you suspect your vermouth may be too old to drink safely.
So don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
What Is Vermouth and How Is It Made?
Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with a variety of botanicals and herbs, such as bitter orange, chamomile, cardamom, and other aromatics.
It usually ranges from around 15-18% alcohol by volume.
Vermouth was first produced in Italy in the mid-1800s and is traditionally served as an aperitif or digestif.
Vermouth has two main varieties sweet (or red) and dry (or white).
Sweet vermouth has added sugar and is dark red in color.
Dry vermouth contains no added sugar and is pale yellow or straw-colored.
Both types are made from white wine that has been fortified with brandy and flavored with herbs and aromatics.
The blend of ingredients varies depending on the producer, but usually includes roots, bark, spices, flowers, citrus peel, and dried fruit for flavor.
The resulting vermouth has an herbaceous flavor profile with notes of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the wine.
Vermouth is often used to add complexity to cocktails like martinis or Manhattans.
It can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks with a bit of lemon or orange peel for garnish.
What Happens When Vermouth Goes Bad?
Have you ever drunk old vermouth and felt like it made you sick? That’s because bad vermouth can indeed make you sick it’s no joke.
So why does bad vermouth make you sick?
Vermouth that has been opened for more than a few months is susceptible to bacterial growth, which can lead to food poisoning.
This bacterium, called Bacillus cereus, can produce toxins when it grows in wine and these toxins are the culprit behind nausea and stomach issues.
Old vermouth can also make you sick due to several other reasons:
When the wine is exposed to air, the ethanol starts to oxidize.
This causes the flavor and smell of the wine to deteriorate, which isn’t necessarily dangerous but can cause an unpleasant taste leading to nausea.
The bottle cap may get contaminated with dust or dirt over time if not stored properly, leading to potential infection and food poisoning.
ü Allergy or sensitivity
Even if the vermouth is still safe for consumption, some people may be allergic or sensitive enough that drinking it leads to nausea or other issues.
Since bad vermouth can make you feel unwell, it’s important that you check for signs of spoilage before consuming any of it like a sour smell or off-putting taste as this will help ensure your health is not at risk when drinking an old bottle of vermouth.
How to Tell Whether Your Vermouth Is Still Safe to Drink
Vermouth is made with a combination of spices, herbs, and wine, so it is only natural that it will go bad over time. But how can you tell whether or not your vermouth is still safe to drink? Here are a few tips to help you out:
· Check the color
Vermouth is usually a light pinkish-brown color when it’s fresh.
As it ages, the color will become darker and more orange-brown.
If your vermouth has turned an entirely different color, like green or black, then it’s likely no longer safe to drink.
· Check the clarity
Fresh vermouth should be clear, with no sediment floating around in the bottle.
If your vermouth has become cloudy or murky, then it may be off and should be discarded.
· Check the smell
If your vermouth no longer has its characteristic herbal aroma and instead smells sour or vinegary, then chances are that it has gone bad.
You should also give your vermouth a taste before drinking as old vermouth can be quite bitter or even have an alcoholic aftertaste.
What Are Some Tips for Storing and Preserving Vermouth?
What might surprise you is that storing and preserving vermouth—especially if it’s been opened—is more complicated than you would think.
To maximize the shelf life of your vermouth, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Vermouth should always be stored at a temperature below 40°F (temperature of the refrigerator).
Keeping your vermouth in the fridge or cellar is ideal.
Extreme heat will cause the alcohol to evaporate quickly and degrade the flavor.
It’s important to keep your vermouth away from direct sunlight as well because UV rays can degrade its flavor.
Make sure your bottle is in a place where there is no direct light or a box that can provide shade.
· Air Exposure
Once opened, be sure to reseal the bottle tightly after each use, as oxygen will cause oxidation and spoilage.
Vacuum-sealing will help prolong shelf life even further.
With these simple tips in mind, you should be able to store your open bottles of vermouth for up to two months without issue!
So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Can old vermouth make me sick?” the answer is yes.
As delicious as it may be, vermouth can develop bacteria or other contaminants over time, so it’s best to use it shortly after opening and keep it sealed and stored in the fridge.
If you’ve been storing a sealed bottle of vermouth in a dark, cool place, or if it’s been opened and sitting out on the countertop, then it’s time to discard it.
When it comes to vermouth, prevention is key.
Always buy the freshest vermouth possible. If possible, purchase small, single-serve bottles.
Read the expiration date on the bottle and discard it if it’s past its best-by date.
And, of course, the best way to avoid the risk of old vermouth making you sick is to keep your vermouth stored in the refrigerator after opening.