How Long Does Vermouth Last?

How Long Does Vermouth Last?

Reader Evan asks (in a nutshell):  Does vermouth go bad?

Grab that bottle of vermouth that’s been sitting open in your liquor cabinet for a year and take a sip. Yeah, it goes bad. Real bad. Vermouth is basically just wine, after all.

But how long does it last after you open it? Conventional wisdom is all over the map, so I put the question to the experts at Noilly Prat. Their answer: After opening a bottle of vermouth it should be stored in the fridge, where it will keep for about three months.

Unopened, vermouth will last several years if kept at cellar temperature — but this will depend on the quality of the vermouth. Vermouth with screwcap should be stored upright; vermouth with a natural cork may be stored on its side.

There ya go. Here’s an idea: Replace your vermouth whenever you replace your fridge deodorizers.

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33 Comments

  1. Blair Frodelius on January 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I refrigerate all my vermouth, tequila, mezcal, port, sherry, and mixers. I also keep my vodka and gin in the freezer, just to have it icy cold when making martinis.

  2. Christopher Null on January 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Do you have room for food in there? BTW there is no need to keep higher-proof spirits like tequila refrigerated (they never go “bad”)… unless you just like to keep them cold.

  3. Edoc on January 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I’m (mostly) with Blair. I keep my gin and vodka in the freezer, so there’s no need to shake them in ice to make martinis. I keep lower proof liquers and cordials in the refrigerator (e.g. St. Germain and Cherry Heering).

    • Anonymous on November 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Traditionally, youre actually never supposed to shake martinis. They’re a stirred drink (all of the ingredients are booze, therefore – stir). Secondly, stirring the gin with ice helps to dilute the drink and incorporate it more with the other ingredients. (Yes, it is meant to be diluted just a tad). Dont freeze your gin or vodka please!!



  4. Blair Frodelius on January 22, 2009 at 6:53 am

    I own a small dorm sized fridge which is dedicated to cocktail ingredients. The only “food” items are cocktail onions, horseradish (for bloody marys), and any herbs (mint, borage, thyme, etc.)

    Also forgot to mention I keep things like X-Rated and Hpnotiq in there too. They tend to ferment once opened.

  5. Henderpete on April 15, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Unless you drink them straight, keeping vodka or gin in the freezer makes no sense. Stirred or shaken, a civilized martinis needs the water absorbed from the ice in the shaker and if the liquor is already at freezing temperatures you will not achieve the necessary dilution. I’ve found that one hundred stirs using room temperature gin is perfect for a 6 to 1 martini.

    I’m looking forward to the new Noilly Prat although I’ve been more than happy with the old formula for 50 years. Never tried the Lillet.

    • Bo on July 29, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      I never refrigerate vermouth. Never have I ever tasted a “spoiled” flavor. Negronis are my favorite drink and I can not tell a difference between day 1 of open and month 2 of being opened. Maybe because there are other additives in vermouth that prevent it from breaking down quickly and giving it that vinegar flavor as others wines have. Either way, I can tell you with certainty I could personally not tell the difference between a day old and 2 month old bottle of sweet vermouth. Yet I could totally tell when a wine has gone bad.



  6. Tim on September 25, 2009 at 8:56 am

    The new Noilly Prat is a sweet formula. I highly recommend Vya X-Dry for your martinis. Dolin Rouge is a good red.

  7. Anonymous on October 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    How long will an UN-OPENED bottle of Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth last. I know there probably isn’t any defining answer but I’d love some best guesses. Thanks

  8. Anonymous on March 2, 2010 at 3:36 am

    this small bottle of Martini Rossi Asti belongs to my 85yr old mum, she has had it in her fridge for years, yes, years. it has never been opened, but she has now remembered it and would like to drink it, will it still be safe for her to have, thanks

  9. Christopher Null on March 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Anon – It will almost certainly be safe but will probably not taste very good. Splurge on the 5 bucks for a new bottle for Mum.

  10. Bar Bill on February 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Perhaps you can answer my question. I have some decades-old bottles of Dubonnet blanc that were until recently unopened. It makes *awesome* martinis. It also tastes very little like new Dubonnet blanc. What gives?

    • Heather on October 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      How long can dubonnetbe saved prior to oopening



  11. DAVID on April 10, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I HAVE AN UNOPENED BOTTLE OF NOILLY PRAT VERMOUTH THAT HAS BEEN STORED IN A CABINET FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS AT AROUND 65F. IS IT STILL GOOD? IF I OPEN IT NOW WILL THE TASTE HAVE BEEN AFFECTED?

    • Christopher Null on April 10, 2015 at 8:51 am

      It will have almost certainly gone bad by now. I would open it just for kicks though, but prepare for the worst.



  12. Gracie on May 22, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I have a bottle of Martini and Rossi vermouthe from 1975 [inherited from a friend]; it has never been opened – is it still good to drink?

  13. Ver on September 22, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I HAVE A BOTTLE OF 1963 MARTINI AND ROSSI DRY VERMOUTH! IT IS UNOPENED AS FAR AS I CAN TELL (SOMEBODY MAY HAVE OPENED IT AT SOME POINT AND HAD A LITTLE SIP). CAN I DRINK IT? WILL IT BE GOOD/BAD/DEADLY? THANK YOU (SORRY ABOUT THE ALL CAPS MY CAPSLOCK BUTTON IS BROKEN)

    • Christopher Null on September 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Almost certainly completely undrinkable (though likely harmless).



  14. mary on January 27, 2016 at 9:48 am

    ha ha ha I have a bottle that is at least 50 years old. Thanks for giving me the courage to chuck it!

  15. NSH on July 13, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Hi !
    I have three bottles of unopened MARTINI AND ROSSI DRY VERMOUTH from an office bond -themed party two years ago. Any chance we can still use it?
    Thanks!

  16. Lady Barkeep on October 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Martini and Rossi is pretty cheap stuff, no matter the age of the bottle. It isn’t meant to age like a fine vintage port. Toss it if it’s been sitting around awhile and spring a few extra bones for a better quality vermouth – Noilly Prat, Vya, Dolin, just to name a few. Your Martinis and Manhattans will thank you.

  17. Margaret Schulz on January 24, 2019 at 10:28 am

    I have a bottle my mom gave me 20 years ago that has never been opened do you think it could still be good if [email protected]

    • Christopher Null on January 24, 2019 at 10:40 am

      I doubt it, but please give it a try and let us know!



  18. John O'Driscoll on March 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    I’ve just found a bottle of Martini Rosso in the back of a drinks cabinet in my late mother’s house. It’s the old fashioned label with the triumphant female figure seated amidst flags and medals. Reckon there’s about a third of the vermouth left. Just made myself a gin martini with a splash of it. Tastes absolutely lovely. Reckon that bottle’s well over twenty years old tho’ it has a barcode

  19. Kevin on May 20, 2019 at 5:29 am

    How long will dry Vermouth keep after opening. It will only be used in cooking

    • Christopher Null on May 20, 2019 at 7:52 am

      The same advice in this article applies whether you are drinking the wine or cooking with it.



  20. Chris on September 28, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Hmm. Yea dirty martinis are my go to. My bottle of noilly has been on the shelf for over a year, and is half full. Granted, when I mix with gin, I hardly use a splash, but last night having run out of beefeater, I mixed a straight up dry martini with vodka instead (using far more vermouth) and suffered no ill side effects. I’ve even sipped dry vermouth straight many times after just as long. So..?

    • Christopher Null on September 29, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      When vermouth goes bad it doesn’t kill you, it just tastes awful.



  21. Emily on October 1, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Our ancient bottle of Martini & Rossi Martini Extra Dry, Vermouth Vino, clearly states that it is “Not less than 30% proof spirit”. Having used the last drop in a risotto I’ve found it impossible to replace as the equivalent strength does not exist now, nor can I find anything on the internet about the recipe having changed.

  22. Martin on April 21, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    I have Martini Rosso stored for 10 years unopened, just wondering, is it still good to make some cocktail ?

    • Christopher Null on April 22, 2020 at 9:17 am

      The only way to know would be to taste it, but I would be skeptical it was any good.



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