Does opened schnapps go bad?

Schnapps is a popular liquor that is often enjoyed in shots or mixed drinks. It has a smooth, sweet flavor that makes it a go-to spirit for many. But what happens once a bottle of schnapps is opened? Will it still taste good, or does opened schnapps go bad?

What is schnapps?

Schnapps is a type of liquor that originated in Germany. It is made from fermented fruit, grains, or potatoes and is flavored with various herbs, spices, or fruit flavors. The word “schnapps” comes from the German word “Schnaps,” which means “mouthful” or “gulp.”

Some common flavors of schnapps include:

  • Peach
  • Peppermint
  • Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Root beer
  • Butterscotch
  • Blackberry

Schnapps usually ranges between 15% to 60% alcohol by volume (ABV). The smooth sweetness helps balance out the alcohol taste, making it very easy to drink.

Does schnapps go bad once opened?

The good news is that properly stored, unopened schnapps has an indefinite shelf life. However, schnapps that has been opened will eventually go bad.

Once exposed to oxygen, the flavors and aroma of the schnapps will start to deteriorate. Over time, the alcohol can also start to evaporate. An opened bottle of schnapps will typically last about 1-2 years before the tastes and smells start to fade.

Signs that opened schnapps has gone bad

Here are some signs that your opened bottle of schnapps is past its prime:

  • Faded color – The vibrant color of the schnapps will start to dull and fade.
  • Flat taste – The flavors will become muted, and the sweetness will diminish.
  • Weak or watery – As the alcohol evaporates, the schnapps will start to lose its kick and may taste more watery.
  • Sour odor – Instead of smelling sweet and vibrant, the aromas will turn sour or rancid.
  • Cloudiness – The liqueur may start to look hazy or cloudy instead of clear.
  • Growth of particles – You may see small bits floating in the schnapps.

If you notice any of these changes in a bottle that has been opened for a while, it’s a sign that the schnapps has oxidized and gone bad.

How to store opened schnapps

To help maximize the shelf life of opened schnapps, be sure to store it properly. Here are some tips for storing schnapps after opening:

  • Keep it cool – Store opened schnapps in a cool, dark place like a refrigerator or wine cellar around 55°F.
  • Seal tightly – Always reseal the bottle with the cap tightly to limit oxygen exposure.
  • Store upright – Keep the bottle upright instead of on its side to minimize oxidation.
  • Use quickly – Try to finish opened bottles of schnapps within 1-2 years.
  • Don’t store in extreme heat or light – Keep it away from hot spots like above the stove or in direct sunlight.

How long does peach schnapps last after opening?

Peach schnapps has a shelf life of about 1-2 years after opening. The sweet peach flavors will start to fade and oxidize after that time. Make sure to refrigerate opened peach schnapps and consume within a couple of years for the best taste.

How long does peppermint schnapps last after opening?

The minty flavors of peppermint schnapps will remain for 1-2 years after opening. Refrigeration is key to maintaining the fresh, cool mint flavors. Peppermint schnapps may last a month or two longer than fruit flavored varieties since mint flavors are less delicate.

How to tell if opened schnapps has truly gone bad

If you are unsure if an opened, aging bottle of schnapps has gone bad or just faded a bit, there’s a quick test you can do:

Take a small sip – Sample a tiny sip of the schnapps. If it immediately tastes foul, bitter, sour or chemical-like, it has definitely gone bad.

Watch for burning sensation – A burning feeling when sampling old schnapps can indicate spoilage and high levels of harsh acids.

No fizz – Flat or still schnapps that has lost its fizz and bubbles is past its prime.

Chunky texture – Chunks, particles or a thick, curdled texture are also signs of spoilage.

Compare to new bottle – If you have a newer, sealed bottle try sampling side-by-side. The differences between a fresh and off bottle will be very apparent.

Can you get sick from spoiled schnapps?

Drinking spoiled schnapps that contains microbes or bacterial growth can cause illness. Consuming schnapps past its prime puts you at risk for health issues like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fever

Severe reactions are more common if dangerous mold growth is present versus general oxidation. If you think the schnapps may be very old or contaminated, it’s safest to avoid drinking it.

Can expired schnapps make you blind?

No, consuming spoiled schnapps cannot cause blindness. This is a common myth, but there is no truth to it. However, very old schnapps may contain higher levels of methanol due to degradation of the liquor over time. Drinking high quantities of methanol can damage the optic nerves and cause vision impairment.

So while expired schnapps won’t directly lead to blindness after casual drinking, large amounts of very old schnapps with high methanol content could potentially impact vision. But this would be a very rare occurrence.

How to properly dispose of bad schnapps

If you determine your opened schnapps has truly expired, it’s best to safely dispose of it. Here are some tips for disposal:

  • Pour it down the drain with plenty of running water.
  • Consult local hazardous waste management – some accept household food and beverage disposal.
  • Absorb in cat litter or coffee grounds before throwing away.
  • Mix with vinegar to accelerate breakdown before pouring down drain.
  • Use it for cooking/flambeing recipes that require liquor for flavor.

Be sure to dispose of very old schnapps properly. Never dump large volumes directly into landfills. And do not attempt to make homemade schnapps or liquor from it, as this can be unsafe.


Like any liquor, schnapps will eventually go bad after opening. Properly stored schnapps will last around 1-2 years before the flavor and aroma really start to deteriorate. Keep opened bottles refrigerated and tightly sealed. If you notice faded color, sour smells, flat flavor, or a burning sensation, the schnapps has likely expired. Although drinking a small amount of oxidized schnapps likely won’t make you sick, it’s best to dispose of past-its-prime liquor properly.

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