Nothing says winter like drinking warm, yummy beverages like mulled wine, white Russians and hot toddies. If your family is anything like mine, you might indulge in coffees with a kick on Christmas morning, usually involving Baileys or Kahlua. This is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and take full advantage of your days off! Kahlua is a coffee liqueur consisting of rum, sugar and Arabica coffee, and it is featured in many delicious holiday drinks. If you find yourself in the mood for a white Russian or Espresso martini, you might first want to check how long your Kahlua has been around, because this tasty coffee liqueur does eventually expire.
When Does Kahlua Expire?
While liquors like rum and vodka have long shelf lives and will last for decades, many flavored liqueurs and cordials will expire after a few years. The shelf life of Kahlua is four years after its production date, so after this time it should be thrown out. If you drink Kahlua often, this probably won't be an issue for you, since your bottle will be gone long before it goes bad. Although Kahlua doesn't technically expire for four years, it is recommended to drink Kahlua long before its expiration date for optimal flavor.
Some Kahlua lovers keep a bottle in the fridge to have chilled, ready-to-drink Kahlua whenever it strikes their fancy. However, you can store Kahlua in any cool, dark place as long as the bottle is fully sealed. Keeping the bottle tightly sealed is the best way to retain its delicious coffee flavor, and this also keeps it from oxidizing in the air, which would decrease its alcohol content. It should be kept out of heat and direct sunlight, so storing your bottle in a cool place like a liquor cabinet is your best bet.
One sign of old Kahlua that is soon to expire is a weak flavor and smell. Good Kahlua will have a strong scent of coffee beans and rum, so if you can't detect this from opening it, it may be time to throw your old bottle out. You can also check for mold or a sour odor, although this is unlikely unless your Kahlua has been exposed to heat.
If you observe any sugar crystals on the outside of your bottle, this is another signal that your Kahlua is on it's way out, but at this point it is still safe to drink. If your Kahlua has settled and separated a bit, this is fine and doesn't indicate spoilage- you can simply shake the bottle gently or mix it up before using. An unopened bottle expires at the same time an opened bottle of Kahlua does, so don't hold back on whipping up a tasty coffee liqueur cocktail after buying it!
How to Enjoy Kahlua
Kahlua is from Veracruz, Mexico, but it is highly popular throughout the United States. This tasty liqueur can be enjoyed on its own or in a cocktail. Some beloved Kahlua cocktails are the white Russian, black Russian, Kahlua mudslide and Espresso martini. Kahlua mixes well with amaretto, a sweet Italian liqueur, but vodka is also a delicious base spirit for a Kahlua cocktail.
If you're one to only pull out the Kahlua once in a blue moon, you might want to check that it hasn't expired before making that fancy drink. Or better yet, treat yourself to more tasty Kahlua cocktails so you never have to!
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