If you’ve been to a friend’s house and noticed their cocktail bar’s healthy supply of bitters, it may give you ideas about stocking your own supply. Of course, the key to any worthwhile purchase for consumption is whether or not it is stored correctly. It may have been out on the bar at your friend’s house, but the question is, “Do Bitters Need to Be Refrigerated?”
Generally, because bitters are created using natural flavorings alongside very strong alcoholic spirits, they do not need to be refrigerated. This is known as being “shelf-stable,” thanks to the alcoholic content preserving and sterilizing the organic components. Instead, store bitters in a dry, cool area.
In this article, you will find everything you need to know about whether or not bitters need to be refrigerated. With that information, it should be easy to store your bitters without having to worry about whether or not you and your friends can get sick after using it in your drinks. Let’s get started!
The question of whether or not bitters need to be refrigerated usually comes from a lifetime of keeping all consumable goods, like food and drink, safely stored out of extreme temperatures. This is a great rule of thumb, especially considering how bitters are made. They are, as previously mentioned, a very strong type of alcohol spirit. They are usually infused with flavorings that come from plants, like various types of fruit and spices, herbs, and even roots. In fact, bark and the leaves of trees are even used in bitters! It makes great flavoring for drinks.
With so much organic product, however, it is easy to see why many think bitters should be refrigerated. However, this is not necessary. Bitters do not need the extra-cold conditions of a refrigerator to last a long time, and are much better off stored in a cool, dry area like a cupboard.
This may be a little bit surprising to you, so let’s explain a little more in-depth about why bitters don’t need to be refrigerated.
Why Bitters Don’t Need Refrigeration
Bitters do not need refrigeration, despite their large amount of organic ingredients, due to one simple component: alcohol!
Alcohol is a natural preservative. According to the official Conserve O Gram Museum publishment, alcoholic spirits like the kind found in bitters have been used throughout history to actually annihilate bacteria and kill of mold infections in food and ingredients alike.
What this means is that, even though the usual safeguard against bacteria is keeping food in conditions that are either too cold or too hot for growth, it is not a safeguard that bitters need.
The alcoholic content in bitters fights off any damaging factors. The only thing you need to worry about is keeping it away from the light and oxidation that can spoil the bitters’ ability to defend themselves!
How Long Bitters Last After Opening
Bitters are one of the food and beverage world’s greatest eternals; that is to say, they can last on a shelf without expiring for literal generations! In fact, the only thing you’d need to worry about changing after a whole decade in a bottle of bitters is a bit of the flavor.
With all of that said, the indefinite shelf life of bitters only counts if you haven’t opened them. Once they are opened and exposed to the air, a bottle of bitters can last for five years. After five years, they do not technically become undrinkable, but their flavor profile changes.
The Best Way to Store Bitters
Now that we know refrigeration is not the best way to store bitters, the question becomes: “how should we store bitters?”
The best way to store bitters is on a shelf in a dark place, like a pantry or cupboard. This prevents light from speeding up the change in bitters’ flavor profile.
On our website you can also find other articles that may be of interest to you like Do B12 Shots Need To Be Refrigerated?, Do Biscuits Need To Be Refrigerated? and Do Apple Turnovers Need To Be Refrigerated
To sum everything that we have learned up, you certainly do not need to refrigerate bitters. Bitters are made up of several different organic compounds, leading some to believe that those same compounds should be protected from bacteria growth by being stored in a refrigerated temperature.
However, as we discussed, bitters have more alcoholic content than they do organic material. This strong alcohol keeps the bitters safe from the dangers of time and bacteria growth, leaving no need for refrigeration. In conclusion, bitters do not need to be refrigerated, but kept in a dry, cool place. With that settled, you’re free to enjoy your drinks!