Does Mott’s Clamato Caesar expire?

Mott’s Clamato Caesar is a popular canned cocktail made with Mott’s Clamato tomato juice and vodka or gin. It’s a classic Canadian drink that’s also become popular in the United States.

Many people wonder if unopened cans of Mott’s Clamato Caesar expire and how long the cocktail lasts once opened. This article will examine if and when Mott’s Clamato Caesar expires, both unopened and opened. We’ll look at the shelf life of the ingredients, what the manufacturer says, how to tell if it’s gone bad, and how to extend its freshness.

Does unopened Mott’s Clamato Caesar expire?

An unopened can of Mott’s Clamato Caesar has a long shelf life and does not expire quickly. Here are some key points on the expiration timeline:

Manufacturer’s recommended best by date: Mott’s recommends using Clamato Caesar within 18 months of production. This best by date is listed on the can.

Unopened shelf life: Properly stored, unopened cans will stay fresh and retain quality for at least 2 years from the production date, and often much longer.

Food safety: While taste quality slowly declines after the best by date, an unopened can is still safe to consume well past 2 years. It does not suddenly become hazardous at the best by date.

Expired cans: Very old cans, such as 5+ years past the best by date, may start to degrade in quality and taste. But they do not pose safety concerns as long as the can remains intact and unopened.

So in summary, while Mott’s recommends using Clamato Caesar within 18 months for best quality, unopened cans have an extended shelf life of 2+ years when properly stored. Expiration is not a safety concern for unopened cans.

Shelf life of ingredients

To understand why properly stored, unopened Clamato Caesar has such a long shelf life, let’s look at the shelf life of its main ingredients:

Tomato juice: Can last 18-24 months when unopened. The acidic environment helps preserve it.

Clam juice: Lasts 2-5 years sealed when commercially canned. Again, the canning process gives it a long shelf life.

Vodka: Distilled spirits like vodka can remain intact for many decades when the bottle is unopened.

Spices and flavors: Also have an extended shelf life of 1-2 years in an unopened can.

So all the major ingredients can easily last 2+ years when sealed in a can, leading to the long shelf life of Clamato Caesar.

Manufacturer specifications

Mott’s, the manufacturer of Clamato Caesar, states their canned cocktails have a shelf life of approximately 18 months from the production date.

However, this seems to be a conservative best by estimate. Mott’s doesn’t provide an exact expiration date. As we’ve discussed, the ingredients can maintain quality well beyond 18 months when the can is unopened.

Many food manufacturers list best by dates that are shorter than the true shelf life. So while Mott’s uses 18 months, the Clamato Caesar remains good for at least 2 years, and usually much longer. Trust your senses if a can seems ok.

Proper storage

To achieve maximum shelf life of unopened Clamato Caesar, be sure to store cans properly:

Cool and dry place: Store at temperatures under 70°F and away from humidity for optimal freshness. Don’t leave cans in hot garages or damp basements.

Avoid sunlight: Keep cans away from direct sunlight, which can degrade quality over time. Store in a pantry or cupboard.

Stable temperatures: Avoid freezing and thawing cycles, which stress the can and contents. Stable room temperature is best.

With proper storage, unopened cans maintain peak quality for several years past the best by date. But high heat, moisture, and sunlight will shorten shelf life.

How to tell if unopened Clamato Caesar is bad?

Because unopened cans have such a long shelf life, it’s uncommon for them to actually spoil or become dangerous to consume. But occasionally very old cans that have been improperly stored can degrade. Here’s how to identify if an unopened can may have gone bad:

Rust and damage: If the can is heavily rusted or damaged, air and microbes may be able to contaminate the contents. Bulging or leaking cans should also be tossed.

Strong odor at opening: An intense, unpleasant chemical smell when first opening an older can is a red flag. Normal Clamato Caesar has a mild seafood and vegetable aroma.

Discoloration or textures: Severely faded color, separation of liquids, thick gelatinous texture, or visible mold are all signs of spoilage.

Fizz and bubbling: Excessive carbonation and release of gas when opening indicates fermentation and spoilage. Some fizz is normal, but vigorous bubbling is a sign of microbial growth.

Just tastes “off”: If the cocktail has an acidic, vinegary, or otherwise “off” flavor, it’s best to not drink it. Go by your senses.

Only very old, mishandled cans are likely to exhibit these traits. When kept in reasonable conditions, unopened Clamato Caesar remains good for several years past its best by date.

Does opened Mott’s Clamato Caesar expire?

Once opened, Mott’s Clamato Caesar has a more limited shelf life compared to unopened cans. Here is some guidance on how long it lasts after opening:

Refrigerator: 5-7 days
Freezer: 2-3 months

The volatile vodka ingredient causes opened Clamato Caesar to have a shorter shelf life compared to other tomato or vegetable juices. Refrigeration is essential for preservation once exposed to air.

Refrigerator shelf life

An opened can or bottled Clamato Caesar will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator. The chilly temperatures help slow spoilage reactions.

Keep the open container towards the back of the fridge where temperatures are coldest. Tightly seal or cap it between pours to prevent contamination.

Beyond 7 days, the vodka, tomato juice, and clam flavors start to notably degrade in quality and taste. The cocktail may taste flat or metallic.

For maximum freshness, consume opened Clamato Caesar within a week of refrigeration. Don’t leave it sitting in the back of the fridge for months.

Freezer shelf life

You can extend the shelf life of opened Clamato Caesar by freezing it. Frozen, it will maintain quality for 2-3 months.

To freeze:

– Pour opened Clamato Caesar into a freezer-safe container leaving 1⁄2 inch of headspace. Tightly seal.

– Label container with date and contents.

– Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Shake or stir well once thawed, as some separation may occur.

Freezing prevents spoilage reactions that would otherwise quickly degrade opened Clamato Caesar. Thawed, it should taste relatively fresh and retain its vodka punch.

How to tell if opened Clamato Caesar has expired

Check opened Clamato Caesar for the following signs of spoilage before drinking:

Sour odor: Fresh Clamato Caesar smells mildly of seafood and vegetables. A pungent, vinegary or acidic scent means it’s gone off.

Mold: Discard if fuzzy mold colonies have developed on the surface. They indicate advancing spoilage.

Separated layer: A layer of clearer liquid floating on top of thick sediment can indicate microbes growing.

Fizz and bubbling: Excess carbonation and release of gas bubbles signals fermentation and spoilage.

Change in color: Severe darkening, fading, or unnatural hues point to degradation.

Slimy texture: The cocktail should be smoothly uniform. Chunks, sliminess, or mushy texture are undesirable.

Use both your eyes and nose to determine if opened Clamato Caesar has expired before drinking it. When in doubt, throw it out.

Does Mott’s Clamato Caesar need to be refrigerated?

Mott’s Clamato Caesar only requires refrigeration after opening. When sealed in cans or bottles, it can be safely stored at room temperature like most shelf-stable foods.

Here are some fridge guidelines:

Unopened: Store cans or bottles in a cool, dry pantry. Refrigeration is not required.

After opening: Refrigerate opened container within 1 hour and use within 5-7 days. Keep refrigerated until finished.

After partial use: Tightly seal container and refrigerate immediately after using. Minimize air exposure.

Refrigerating unopened Clamato Caesar is not harmful, but simply unnecessary. Just be sure to refrigerate promptly after exposing the contents to air.

The chilly temperatures help slow deterioration of the volatile vodka and other ingredients. Refrigeration preserves quality and prevents spoilage after opening.

Does the can shape affect shelf life?

Mott’s Clamato Caesar comes in different can shapes such as slim cans, 12oz standard cans, 24oz cans, and even bag-in-box formats.

The package format does not make a significant difference in shelf life. What matters most is:

Air exposure: Unopened cans have longer life than opened containers.

Storage method: Refrigeration extends life after opening.

Can integrity: Dents, rust, or damage shortens preservation.

For example, a dented 24oz can will likely keep less time than an intact, pristine 12oz can. And an opened slim can should be refrigerated just like an opened standard can.

But assuming proper storage and handling, the different can shapes have negligible effect on shelf life compared to being sealed shut versus opened.

Does the Mott’s Clamato Caesar alcohol percentage matter?

Mott’s Clamato Caesar contains either 4% or 5% alcohol by volume depending on the variety. The higher alcohol version typically contains vodka, while the 4% version has no spirit alcohol.

The alcohol content has a small impact on shelf life:

Higher alcohol=shorter life: Alcohol contributes to faster deterioration compared to non-alcoholic mixes.

Refrigeration still required: Both 4% and 5% varieties should be refrigerated after opening.

Sealed cans have long life: Unopened cans have long shelf lives regardless of alcohol percentage.

So while the 5% alcohol Clamato Caesars may have a slightly shorter life after opening, both can still last 5-7 days refrigerated. And sealed cans of either variety will last for several years at room temperature.

For practical purposes, the alcohol difference doesn’t affect expiration enough to significantly change how you should store and use the products. Follow typical refrigeration guidelines after opening.

Does mixing alcohol with Clamato Caesar affect storage?

The standard Mott’s Clamato Caesar contains either 4% or 5% alcohol. Some consumers further mix in additional vodka, gin, or other spirits to make it stronger.

Adding more alcohol does shorten the cocktail’s shelf life. Here’s how enhanced alcohol impacts storage:

Shortened refrigerator life: May last only 2-3 days rather than 5-7 days when extra alcohol is added.

Stay refrigerated: Additional alcohol makes refrigeration even more critical after opening.

Sealed lifespan unchanged: No effect on unopened cans. Still has years-long shelf life.

Freeze for longer storage: Freezing extended storage time of heavily spiked Clamato Caesar to 2-3 months.

So feel free to spike standard Clamato Caesar. Just be sure to refrigerate it soon after opening and freeze any leftovers for longer storage. The extra alcohol will make it spoil faster.

9 tips to extend the shelf life

Here are 9 tips to maximize the freshness and shelf life of Mott’s Clamato Caesar:

1. Check the best by date – Look for the date stamped on the bottom of cans or near the nutrition label. For best quality, use within 18 months of production.

2. Store cans properly – Keep unopened cans and bottles away from heat, moisture, and sunlight in a cool, dry pantry. Improper storage shortens shelf life.

3. Refrigerate after opening – Keep opened container refrigerated and use within 5-7 days. This prevents volatility and deterioration.

4. Freeze extras – Freeze additional portions in airtight containers if you won’t finish within 7 days. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

5. Minimize air exposure – Keep lid sealed tightly between pours to block oxygen. Use smaller containers for quicker use.

6. Avoid temperature extremes – Don’t store cans or bottles anywhere that gets above 90°F or freezes. Stable moderate temperatures are ideal.

7. Prevent moisture – Check cans and bottle caps for rust or leakage that allows inside moisture to escape. Discard if damaged.

8. Keep away from direct light – Exposure to UV light can degrade color, flavors, and nutrients over time. Store in a dark pantry.

9. Don’t mix back in – Avoid adding back leftover cocktail to a freshly opened container, which introduces microbes.


Does Mott’s Clamato Caesar have an expiration date?

No exact expiration date is printed on the can, bottle, or packaging. Mott’s provides a best by date indicating when the product is optimally fresh. Unopened cans are still good for at least 2 years past that best by date when properly stored.

Can you drink Mott’s Clamato Caesar after the best by date?

Yes, you can safely consume unopened Mott’s Clamato Caesar for at least 2 years past the printed best by date, often longer. The best by date indicates peak freshness, not when the product becomes unsafe or hazardous to drink.

Does unopened Mott’s Clamato Caesar go bad?

Unopened cans or bottles do not easily go bad or spoil when stored properly in a cool, dry pantry. The shelf-stable cocktail can maintain quality for several years past the best by date if kept sealed. Opened containers spoil much faster.

Can Mott’s Clamato Caesar be frozen?

You can safely freeze opened Mott’s Clamato Caesar in airtight containers to extend its shelf life. It will maintain quality frozen for 2-3 months. Do not freeze unopened cans as they may rupture.

Is it necessary to refrigerate unopened Mott’s Clamato Caesar?

No, refrigeration is not needed for sealed, unopened product. Simply store cans and bottles in a normal pantry or cupboard away from heat and moisture. Refrigerate only after opening.


Mott’s Clamato Caesar is a shelf-stable product with an impressively long shelf life when properly stored. Unopened cans have a best by date but remain good for at least 2 years, often much longer. Once opened, Clamato Caesar requires refrigeration and lasts 5-7 days.

To maximize freshness, store unopened product in a cool, dry pantry and refrigerate opened containers. With proper storage, it’s unlikely for Mott’s Clamato Caesar to expire or go bad within a normal usage period. Rely on your senses to check for signs of spoilage.

Follow the best by date for peak quality. But don’t assume cans are unsafe just because they are a few years past the date stamped on the can. Mott’s Clamato Caesar can have an extended shelf life when handled properly at home.

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