How long does Baileys last?
I’ve received this question many times, in many forms. How long can will the bottle stay fresh while it’s still sealed? How long will it keep after it’s opened? Does it need to be refrigerated?
Finally I am taking the time to answer your many questions and comments about Baileys and other cream liqueurs, with advice directly from the distillers themselves.
While I received a surprising variety in the responses, the rough consensus on cream liqueurs is that they’re good for about 2 years unopened, and about 6 months after opening. Open bottles should be refrigerated.
This however is not always the case — especially for the biggest brand of the bunch — so here’s the full rundown on shelf life (sealed and opened) from most of the major cream liqueur offerings (and all the minors I could track down) on the market.
Baileys Irish Cream – Baileys oddly did not respond to repeated requests for this information, but the brand’s website has all the details (though the page has since been removed): Baileys is guaranteed for a shelf life of 2 years from the day it is bottled — whether it is opened or unopened, refrigerated or not. You will find this date on the bottom left side of the back label. Per Baileys: “Code 11 20XY would mean that we guarantee the product would taste perfect until November20XY (XY is the year 2 years from the date of manufacture).”
Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur – Kerrygold has a shelf life of 2 years, whether it is refrigerated or not. After opening, it is good for 6 months, but stored away from direct sunlight at a temperature between 32 and 77° F.
Merrys Irish Cream Liqueur – Merrys cites a sealed shelf life of 18 months from the date of production, refrigerated or not. After opening, it lasts 6 months, refrigerated.
Five Farms Irish Cream – The company says Five Farms is good for a shelf life of 3 years unopened, then 6 months after opening if refrigerated.
Sugarlands Sippin’ Cream Liqueurs – Sugarlands did not offer an unopened shelf life, but said its products were good for 6 months after opening, best if refrigerated.
Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream – The product’s shelf life is 2 years, and it should be enjoyed within 6 months after opening. The product should be stored between 32 and 77 degrees (so, refrigeration is not necessary).
Mozart Cream Liqueurs – Per the importer, Mozart’s cream-based products have a shelf life of 5 years unopened, and 5 months after opening if refrigerated.
Tequila Rose Strawberry Cream Liqueur – The shelf life is 3 years unopened, then 6 months after opening, refrigerated.
RumChata and Tippy Cow Cream Liqueurs – Both have a shelf life of 2 years unopened, at room temperature. An opened bottle will start to lose flavor after about 12 months, but refrigeration is not necessary.
Nooku Bourbon Cream – No specific shelf life is provided before opening; the company says it is “shelf stable.” Beyond that, the product lasts 3 years after opening. Refrigeration is not required.
Bom Bom Liqueurs – These liqueurs specify the same shelf life as Baileys: 2 years, unopened or opened, refrigerated or not.
SomruS Indian Cream Liqueur – The unopened shelf life is 2 years and about 1 year after opening. No refrigeration is required before or after opening.
Kahlua – I asked Kahlua just to add a point of comparison, even though Kahlua contains no dairy or cream products and effectively does not spoil. It’s conventional wisdom that the flavor in Kahlua and other coffee liqueurs begins to fade after 4 years (opened or not).
Kirkland Signature Traditional Holiday Eggnog Liqueur – Adding this after a reader asked, and received a response from Costco. The shelf life of the liqueur is 1 year from production. Opened bottles should be kept refrigerated.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream – Another addition based on a reader query: “For optimum shelf life of high solid products such as cream-based products, storage conditions should be dry, away from direct sunlight and in a temperature controlled environment between 50 degrees F and 77 degrees F. Once opened, they should be refrigerated and can last for several years. You’ll usually get the best flavor by drinking within 6 to 9 months of opening, longer if refrigerated.”
Wayne Gretzky Cream Whiskey – The shelf life of this product is “around” two years unopened, and 9 months opened. Refrigeration is not required but is recommended to maximize shelf life.
Hey there, cream liqueur producers! Not on this list? Email us with your particulars and we’ll add you!
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