Does Tequila Go Bad? Shelf Life and Fermentation Process

shelf life of tequila

Ever gazed into your liquor cabinet and thought, “I’m really feeling like a margarita, but this tequila is from ages ago.” We’ve all been there. You shove a bottle in the back and then pull it out months later while entertaining, crossing your fingers that it still tastes right. So, the real question is, does tequila really go bad like your milk or orange juice?

For all of us who like to entertain, that’s the million dollar question. So let’s dive in together and find out.

The Short Answer: Yes and No

We know that doesn’t clear things up right away, but it’s true. The answer is complicated.

Let’s say a friend with impeccable taste gifted you a bottle of premium Mezcal Rosaluna a few weeks ago. It’s sitting on your kitchen counter, glittering under the lights, just waiting to be opened. You’re new to this magical Mezcal thing, and there’s a special occasion coming up you want to save it for. But will it still be safe to drink next month?

Here’s the good news—Mezcal and tequila never really expire if they’re unopened. That’s right; you can admire that beautiful bottle for months or years to come. If you have that kind of self-control, major props to you! Mezcal is a distilled spirit that doesn't age in the bottle like a wine does.

Wine is high in sugar, which allows the fermentation process to march on inside the bottle. This is because sugar acts as a source of energy that fuels the chemical reactions involved with aging. Mezcal is low in sugar and richer in alcohol content, effectively crashing the fermentation party.

If you ask us, the long-lasting shelf life is yet another reason to keep the stuff stocked in our pantry. You never know when you might need to bust out a bottle to celebrate a friend’s promotion or enjoy it on a casual night out on the patio. Ugh, is it 5 o’clock yet?

Sometimes You Gotta Let It Go

They say that all good things must come to an end, and this is true for an opened bottle of Mezcal or tequila. Not to worry though, we have plenty of the new stuff in stock here at Mezcal Rosaluna. We know you want to enjoy that bottle for as long as possible, savoring the aromas and distinctive flavors, but sometimes you just have to let it go, babe.

Once a bottle of Mezcal is opened, it goes south after about a year. One year is still a pretty long time, if you think about it compared with another hugely popular staple in everyone’s cabinets—coffee. Unopened, a sealed bag of coffee grounds can last a measly 3-5 months in the pantry compared to the mighty Mezcal. Granted, most people do go through coffee more quickly. Emphasis on most people… not us.

Even if you’re not finishing bottles left and right like we are, it’s great to know that you can enjoy your Mezcal year round. Sip itto help you relax in the summer and then pull it back out to help you keep warm in the winter. Just be sure to follow our guide below for how to tell if your Mezcal has gone past its prime.

Use Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth

Mezcal that’s been open for longer than a year will rarely make you sick, and if it does, the worst it will do is make you reach for some Tums. The real tragedy is the decline in flavor, smell, and appearance. Want to know when a bottle is past its prime? We’ve got you covered.

The first tip: have some freshly opened Mezcal on hand for comparison. That way, you can cross-examine flavors and aromas with the same level of precision that your favorite crime show detective might use. The old Mezcal will have a slightly altered taste, and it will lack the same intensity of flavor. It will lack a certain crispness, and you just won’t be vibing with the taste as much. The color might be a little off as well, so be sure to look out for that.

Mezcal vs Tequila: Which Lasts Longer?

Let’s talk aficionado for a sec. All tequila is technically Mezcal, but the opposite of that is not true. This might remind you of the whole “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square” talk from school. Don’t worry, though; we’re talking Mezcal, not math.

Mezcal contains 100% agave, while tequila must contain at least 49%. However, since the alcohol content of Mezcal and tequila is usually in the same range of 38% to 55% ABV, the shelf life of the two is roughly the same. Mezcal and tequila will stay deliciously enjoyable for years to come if unopened. Once opened, they both should be enjoyed within the span of a year.

Science Is Sexy

Ok, hope you're ready to get into the nitty-gritty details of the Mezcal making process. It’s one of the first steps to becoming a true Mezcal connoisseur. The main difference between Mezcal and tequila is how the agave plant is distilled. Tequila, made specifically from blue agave, is steamed inside industrial ovens, whereas Mezcal is made more traditionally.

Here at Mezcal Rosaluna, the process starts with harvesting the agave and removing its leaves. Then, the agave heart is cooked down in earthen pits on a bed of pine wood logs. The pile is covered with stones and left to do its thing for up to five days.

Next is the milling process, where the entire plant is crushed up to bring out the juices before fermenting. The extracted sugary juice is added to more pine wood along with water and agave fibers to become alcohol in a matter of eight days. Lastly, the alcohol-water mixture is distilled (twice!) to separate the water from the alcohol, and voila! This magical potion is bottled and sitting on your bar cart before you know it.

The unique fermenting process gives Mezcal its slightly smokey, unforgettable flavor that’s bound to leave you craving more. We recommend that you spice up your cocktail hour with a new twist on an old classic by making The New Fashioned with Mezcal Rosaluna.

That’s a Wrap

The process of making an incredible Mezcal is not something we take lightly. We take pride in making every batch and refuse to compromise any step. There’s magic in every bottle and enjoyment with every sip. There’s a smooth finish after every taste and a spirit you can’t replace. That’s why we don’t think you’ll have any issue finishing your bottle within a year. :)


Question: How Long Does Unopened Tequila Last? | BigMoonshine

Why does wine mature in the bottle but whisky does not? | Malted

Does Coffee Go Bad? Shelf Life of Coffee and Tips to Keep Your Java Fresh | Street Smart Kitchen

Is Mezcal Stronger than Tequila? | Travel Distilled

What's the Difference Between Tequila and Mezcal? | Food & Wine

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