Can you drink expired ginger ale?

Ginger ale is a popular carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. It’s often used to help settle upset stomachs thanks to its ginger flavor. But what happens if you discover a bottle or can of ginger ale that’s passed its expiration date? Is it still safe to drink? Here’s a comprehensive look at whether or not you can drink expired ginger ale.

What is ginger ale?

Ginger ale is a sweetened carbonated beverage made from ginger flavoring and carbonated water. It often contains juices from lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits. Brands like Canada Dry, Schweppes, and Seagram’s are some of the most popular ginger ale producers.

Traditional ginger ale gets its flavor from ginger root, which gives it a distinct spicy taste. Ginger ale originally contained ginger but over time evolved into a more sugary soda. Today, most mainstream ginger ales contain ginger flavoring rather than actual ginger. However, some smaller brands still use real ginger in their recipes.

In addition to original ginger ale, there are also diet versions sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Specialty ginger ales flavored with ingredients like pear, peach, cherry, and lemon are also popular.

Does ginger ale expire?

Like most food and beverages, ginger ale does have an expiration date. Expiration dates are intended to indicate the timeframe in which the manufacturer believes the product will be at peak quality and flavor. The key active ingredients in ginger ale are carbonated water, sweetener, preservatives, and ginger flavoring.

The carbonated water may gradually lose its fizz over time after the bottle or can is opened. The sweeteners and preservatives help maintain the flavor, but it can degrade in quality if stored for too long. The ginger flavor also may fade or take on “off” flavors. While ginger ale doesn’t spoil in the same way as milk or meat, its taste and texture can change after the printed expiration date.

How long does unopened ginger ale last?

Unopened ginger ale stored in a pantry or cupboard will typically stay drinkable for 9-12 months past the printed expiration date. The sealed bottle or can protects the ingredients from air, light, and moisture that can cause it to degrade. As long as the container remains factory sealed, unopened ginger ale can last 1-2 years past its expiration date before the quality becomes noticeably lower.


Ginger ale stored at room temperature in a dark pantry or cupboard will last the longest past its expiration date. The cool, dark space helps slow chemical reactions that can cause the ingredients to degrade. Expect unopened ginger ale to stay fresh in the pantry for about 1 year past the printed date.


The refrigerator will extend the shelf life slightly longer to 12-18 months past the expiration date. The cool environment helps slow degradation. Make sure to store unopened ginger ale cans or bottles towards the front rather than on the door where the temperature fluctuates.


For maximum shelf life, store unopened ginger ale in the freezer. At freezing temperatures, the ingredients remain stable for the longest time. Properly frozen ginger ale can stay drinkable for 2-3 years past the printed date.

Does opened ginger ale expire?

Once opened, ginger ale has a shorter shelf life. Exposing the ingredients to air and light causes them to degrade more rapidly. The carbonated water also starts to lose its fizz once the bottle or can is opened.

In most cases, opened ginger ale will stay drinkable for 4-6 months past the printed date. It will start to gradually go flat and lose its optimal flavor, but it’s generally still safe and palatable during this timeframe if stored properly. Here’s how long opened ginger ale typically lasts in different storage conditions:


If stored at room temperature in a pantry or cupboard after opening, ginger ale will stay drinkable for about 4-6 weeks past the printed date before noticeable fading in carbonation and flavor.


Refrigerating opened ginger ale helps extend the shelf life since the cool environment slows down changes in the ingredients. Properly refrigerated, opened ginger ale will last around 4-6 months past the printed date.


The freezer offers the best storage conditions for opened ginger ale. Frozen ginger ale can maintain quality and taste for 6-8 months past the printed date. The cold temperature prevents the ingredients from degrading.

How to tell if ginger ale is expired

Checking the expiration date on the bottle or can is the easiest way to tell if ginger ale is expired. But if that date has passed, you may still wonder if the ginger ale is still drinkable. Here are some signs that ginger ale is no longer good to drink:

  • Flat taste – Ginger ale loses its carbonation and fizz over time. If it tastes flat, its best not to drink it.
  • Altered color – While subtle, expired ginger ale may appear darker or cloudy.
  • Off smells – Rancid or off odors indicate it should not be consumed.
  • Mold – Any mold growing in the bottle or can mean it’s unsafe to drink.
  • Separation – Ingredients may separate or syrup at the bottom is a warning sign.

Use your senses of sight, smell, and taste to determine if aging ginger ale has degraded in quality. Trust your instinct – if it seems off, the ginger ale has probably expired.

Is it dangerous to drink expired ginger ale?

Out of date ginger ale that has naturally degraded over time generally isn’t dangerous or unsafe to drink. It simply loses its carbonation and ideal flavor. However, there are a couple risks to be aware of with spoiled ginger ale:

Food poisoning

If mold grows inside expired ginger ale bottles or cans, drinking it could potentially cause food poisoning. Mold can harbor harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli that can make you sick if ingested.


Rarely, botulism spores can contaminate ginger ale and produce toxins. Botulism is very serious and can be fatal. Canned ginger ale not properly processed could potentially contain botulinum toxins if expired and cause severe illness.

To be cautious, don’t drink ginger ale past the expiration date that shows any sign of mold, smells odd, or tastes bad. As long as it was stored properly and tastes normal, drinking expired ginger ale in moderation is unlikely to cause harm for most people.

Tips for storing ginger ale

To get the most shelf life out of your ginger ale and drink it while it’s still fresh and tasty, be sure to store it correctly:

  • Purchase ginger ale with the furthest away sell by or best before dates.
  • Keep unopened ginger ale in a cool, dark pantry or fridge if possible.
  • Refrigerate opened ginger ale to maintain carbonation.
  • Reseal opened bottles and cans tightly.
  • Don’t store ginger ale on the counter or in direct sunlight after opening.
  • Check for any signs of mold before drinking ginger ale that is past its date.
  • Freeze extra ginger ale to extend its shelf life the longest.

With proper storage techniques, both sealed and opened ginger ale can retain good flavor and fizz for enjoyment past the printed expiration date.


Can ginger ale expire?

Yes, ginger ale does expire typically within 9-12 months of the printed expiration date. Over time, the carbonation will be lost, and the flavor can degrade. Once opened, it expires much sooner within 3-6 months.

What happens if you drink expired ginger ale?

Expired ginger ale may taste flat or have an off flavor but is generally still safe to drink. Nothing harmful is likely to happen if you ingest ginger ale past its expiration date as long as it was stored properly and shows no signs of mold or bacteria.

Can ginger ale make you sick if expired?

Ginger ale can make you sick if it grows mold or bacteria after expiring. Consuming ginger ale with mold puts you at risk for food poisoning. Botulism is also a very rare but potential risk in canned ginger ale past its date.

How long does unopened ginger ale last at room temperature?

Properly stored unopened ginger ale will stay fresh at room temperature for about 1 year past the printed expiration date before the flavor and carbonation diminish noticeably.

Does refrigerating ginger ale make it last longer?

Yes, refrigeration prolongs the shelf life of ginger ale. Unopened ginger ale stays good refrigerated for about 1-1.5 years past the expiration date. Opened ginger ale lasts 4-6 months in the fridge.


Drinking ginger ale that is slightly past its expiration date is unlikely to cause harm or make you sick. As long as it was stored correctly, ginger ale simply loses its ideal taste and carbonation over time after expiring but is still generally safe to consume. However, expired ginger ale that has mold or a rancid smell should be discarded. To enjoy ginger ale at its freshest, store bottles and cans properly and refrigerate after opening. With the right storage methods, both sealed and opened ginger ale can often last weeks to months past the printed best by or expiration date.

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