Liqueurs made with cream don’t have nearly as long a shelf life as hard liquors, like whiskey and vodka. If you’ve had a bottle sitting on your shelf for a while, it may have gone bad. Like other spoiled beverages, a cream liqueur that’s past its best could make you sick. Before you drink it, check it thoroughly for signs of spoilage.

Sniff the cream liqueur. If it has a stale odor similar to that of old custard, it has gone bad and you should throw it out.

Look at the color and texture of the cream liqueur while tipping the bottle. If the cream has congealed into white, clumpy chunks and separated from the liquid, which has turned dark and cloudy, it is a sure sign that the cream liqueur is spoiled.

Pour yourself some cream liqueur and take a small sip. Do this only if the liqueur smells and looks OK and it is still before the expiration date. If it tastes like sour cream, the alcohol is spoiled. Fruit-based cream liqueurs tend to spoil faster than plain cream-based liqueurs.

Tips

  • Use cream liqueurs within 6 months of opening the bottle, or within the time frame noted on the bottle.
  • Unopened cream liqueur bottles usually have a shelf life of around 2 years if stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Oxidation from storage and handling conditions causes cream liqueurs to spoil.
  • Pour spoiled beverages down the sink rather than putting a partially full bottle in the trash.