When we’ve got big events coming up – family get togethers, Christmas parties, birthdays and so on, many of us stock up on all the essentials, including alcohol. But are you storing your alcohol correctly? Believe it or not, not all alcohols should be stored in the same way. Incorrect storage could leave you with a bad taste in your mouth – and in your guests’ mouths! So what’s the best way to store alcohol?

Storing Wine at Home

Wine cellars are the perfect place for storing wine, but money doesn’t grow on trees! For many of us, building a wine cellar isn’t a sensible option, so what’s the next best solution? There are two issues surrounding wine storage. Firstly, temperature – most fine wines should be stored between 4 and 18 degrees. Secondly, dry corks. No one wants little pieces of dried cork floating around in their glass!

It’s recommended that wines are placed on their sides to prevent the cork becoming too dry, and in a part of the home that doesn’t experience rapid temperature changes. Forget about storing wine in the attic, or next to a window, as these are places that tend to become very warm, very quickly. Once opened, full bodied reds and whites will last up to 5 days, and sparkling wine up to 3 days in the fridge.

Storing Beer at Home

‘Why do I need to store beer?’
That’s a common question, as many supermarket beers are ready to drink. However, there’s a growing trend for craft beers, and believe it or not, many craft beers are best when aged – much like a fine wine! Ageing a craft beer allows the flavours to develop further, but not many of us know how to store beer correctly. Annoyingly, storing beer is nothing like storing wine!

Unlike wine, beer should be stored upright. This is for two reasons. Firstly, contact with the metal cap can leave your beer with a nasty metallic taste. Secondly, storing upright allows any dead yeast to sink to the bottom, so you can avoid pouring any ‘bits’ into your glass when you come to drink it. Beers should be stored between 7 and 15 degrees – the higher the alcohol content, the warmer the temperature.

Storing Liqueurs at Home

Whether you love store bought liqueurs, or enjoy making up your own concoctions, they both have an advantage over wines and beers – a higher alcohol content. As you’ll already know, alcohol is great at killing off bacteria (that’s why it’s used in hand sanitising gels), so anything with an alcohol content of around 15 percent or more should last pretty well as long as it’s stored in cool, dry conditions.

However, liqueurs won’t last forever. The reason is oxidisation. When making wines or beers, everything’s done using closed pumps and filters. With liqueurs, which are often infused with fruits, it’s not quite as easy. Oxygen will always get into the bottle during the manufacturing process and will eventually spoil the liqueur. It’s recommended you store liqueurs for up to 3 years (maybe even 5!).

Storing Spirits at Home

You’ll be pleased to hear that storing spirits at home is simple! Even the experts say that there’s really nothing special you need to be doing. Simply ensure that you store spirits upright so that they don’t develop a metallic taste from the cap, at room temperature, and don’t expose the bottles to direct sunlight, as UV rays aren’t just harmful to our skin – they can actually be harmful to our spirits too!

When stored correctly at home, spirits should pretty much last forever. It’s only once a bottle has been opened that you need to start being a little more careful. Ethan Kelley of New York’s Brandy Library claims that spirits start to ‘lose their sparkle’ after 6 to 8 months of being opened. While they’re still completely safe to drink after this time, they might begin to taste a little flat, or like something’s missing.

It’s Simple to Store Alcohol!

So when you see a deal you can’t refuse on your favourite wine, beer, or spirit at the local supermarket, or when your garden gives you a ton of plums for making fruit liqueurs, don’t worry! Storing alcohol at home isn’t as tricky as you may think. Remember – the key to storing many different types of alcohol is to try and maintain a constant temperature as much as possible, so naturally dark places are ideal.