Does Kahlua Go Bad. How Long Does Kahula Last

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Kahlua is a popular coffee liqueur made of rum, coffee, and sugar. The shelf life of the Original blend of Kahlua is four years, though other variants have a shorter life. After this period, the drink's flavors start to decline. But, does Kahlua go bad? The drink does not go bad or become harmful once it hits the shelf life. 

What's the similarity between coffee and rum? Both can warm our veins on chilly days - and they are both versatile. Think of all the delicious desserts and drinks that you can make with them. For the lovers of both, the most precious liqueur is Kahlua, with rum and pure arabica coffee, along with sugar.

It can up your dessert and cocktail game, or you can drink it directly as a beverage. But does Kahlua go bad?

It’s not a pure spirit; it contains sugar and coffee. So, you can't expect it to last as long as a bottle of a base spirit that can last for several decades. Kahlua remains at its best for up to four years.

However, crossing the four-year mark doesn't mean that the drink will become unsafe and undrinkable. Kahlua stays in its best condition for up to four years, after which its taste of the drink starts to deteriorate. 

What is Kahlua? 

does Kahlua go bad

Kahlua is a liqueur that brings together the flavors of coffee and rum in a sweet, syrupy drink. Those who love to make desserts and cocktails at home love this liqueur because it can be added to all of these. Apart from the Original blend, which offers the classic flavor mix, there are several flavored variants, too.

The Kahlua flavored blends include the following:

  • Chili Chocolate
  • Nitro Cold Brew
  • Mint Mocha
  • Salted Caramel
  • Espresso Martini
  • Vanilla Liqueur
  • Especial Coffee

Besides rum, arabica coffee, and sugar, the other ingredients of the different blends are pretty much understandable from the names. 

On the other hand, Kahlua's Ready to Drink" menu contains the following:

  • Kahlúa with Milk
  • Vanilla White Russian
  • White Russian
  • Mudslide

While the standard alcohol content in Kahlua is 20%, some of the variants contain more alcohol and are less viscous.

These variants are also not as sweet as the original blend. Kahlua tastes brilliant all by itself or with a little ice, even if you don't put it in desserts or cocktails, or go for the flavored versions. 

But if you are ready to experiment and have fun, you can use it in tiramisu, or top off a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cheesecake with it.

You can also make Cold Brew Martini, Mudslide, Espresso Shake, Hot Tamale, and so many other mind-blowing cocktails using Kahlua as the primary flavoring agent in them.

Kahlua was first made in Mexico in 1936 as the brainchild of four friends who were determined to make coffee alcohol to kill the boredom of their day jobs. Over the years, Kahlua's popularity has grown and crossed Mexico's borders to reach the world.

Back in the 60s, there was a time when the company was run entirely by women - something that was rare and remarkable during that time in history. 

The process of making Kahlua, starting from growing the beans to the bottling of the final drink, is a time-consuming process of seven years!

The first cocktail to make Kahlua famous around the world was the B-52 shot cocktail, which was developed in Canada in 1977. There was no looking back after that.

Besides containing sugar and alcohol, this coffee liqueur has caffeine, which is evident from the fact that its main ingredient is coffee.

Kahlua has about 100 ml of caffeine in every liter. Considered as a fancy drink that's more on the expensive side, Kahlua can be a precious addition to your collection of liquors.

Does Kahlua Go Bad?

does kahlua go bad

Lovers of coffee and rum vouch for the layers of flavors in Kahlua. It is a coffee liqueur, with rum, sugar, and coffee. It's not just a delicious addition to cocktails and dessert.

You can also drink it straight for a sugary, syrupy flavor. Basically, it tastes like a really sweet alcoholic beverage with the richness of coffee.

From Baby Guinness to amaretto - Kahlua is single-handedly responsible for making them taste like heaven. If you're a mix of Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Kathryn Janeway, you'll probably love this drink with coffee and rum flirting heavily and arousing your olfactory senses. 

It's delicious but unique and is probably not designed to be served in a glass with a Chinese dinner or splashed on top of every dessert.

So you're probably worried about the bottle of Kahlua sitting in your wine cellar. Will the flavorful coffee-and-rum soon go bad or expire if left to sit, unused, for a long time?

Kahlua has a 20% alcohol content. So, it is assumed that Kahlua's alcoholic base can limit the growth of bacteria, mold, or other microorganisms.

Any drink with over 15% alcoholic content is capable of doing that. Kahlua also contains sugar that may attract certain yeasts, though it is also a good preservative. 

The shelf life of Kahlua is shorter than all base spirits. The Original Kahlua can stay good for four years, after which the drink's taste starts to decline.

The punch taste and aroma of coffee begins to fade, though you can still drink it. There is no fear of Kahlua expiring or getting spoiled after this period.

How Long Does Kahlua Last?

Kahlua, one of the most popular coffee liqueurs in the world since 1936, is not like other alcoholic drinks comprising just base spirit.

The Original blend of Kahlua contains rum, coffee, and sugar. You'll be surprised to learn that it takes seven years to manufacture this drink. But how long does Kahlua last?

Unlike some alcoholic drinks like wine, which get better with age, or distilled spirits like vodka, which can last for 10-20 years, the original blend of Kahlua offers its best taste for four years, while Kahlua Flavors lasts for two years. The brand also comes in the form of drink mixes, and these last for about a year. 

The flavored versions of Kahlua and the ready-to-drink Kahlua formulae contain additives that decrease the shelf life of the drink, compared to the original variant that contains nothing but rum, sugar, and coffee.

Over time, the impact of the alcohol and the flavors of Kahlua drinks start to degrade. 

The drink will not go bad after it reaches its shelf life, but with faded taste, aroma, and alcohol, you will not be able to enjoy it.

Clearly, a six-year-old bottle of Kahlua is not dangerous but is also not pleasurable to drink or put in your cocktails or desserts. This applies to both open and sealed bottles. 

You can use the table below to quickly see how long does Kahula last:

Kahula type


Original Kahula blend

4 years

Kahula flavors

2 years

Kahula drink mixes

1 year

How To Tell If Kahlua Has Gone Bad

As we mentioned earlier, Kahlua does not really go bad or toxic over time. It simply loses its beautiful and complex layers of aromas.

So, if you suspect that the Kahlua might have gone back, you can test the beverage by checking its smell. If it strongly smells of coffee, the drink is likely in good condition.

If you notice that the smell is not strong enough if there's no smell of coffee at all, the drink is probably too old. It will probably taste bland or off, too.

You may notice a pungent or sour smell, which is rare. This is due to the unlikely event of contamination, and the drink probably has bacteria or mold.  

If the beverage smells sour or putrid due to bacteria or mold, it isn't drinkable anymore. In addition to the odor, mold will also be visible to the bare eyes in the cap or bottle or on the beverage's surface.

So discard the bottle if you notice such visual signs, even though it's an improbable situation. 

When you've had a bottle of Kahlua for a long time, the drink will settle. That does not indicate that the drink has gone bad, but it does need to be mixed.

You can tip the tightly-sealed bottle of Kahlua upside down a couple of times. Make sure to do this gently. This will restore the texture and flavor of the drink.

Another problem that you may face when you have been storing a bottle of Kahlua for too long is the formation of sugar crystals at the mount of the bottle.

The crystals develop on the bottle's edge, and this is yet another sign that the beverage is not in its best condition. However, it is still safe to drink.

Apart from these, old Kahlua may also develop a strange appearance. It may become a little cloudy or have a sediment layer on the surface, though it does not indicate that the drink has gone bad.

It’s possible that the drink is old and has changed in texture and taste, but it’s still not unsafe for drinking.

You may also notice that the original color of the beverage has changed. It may not be a good idea to consume the drink if it has become discolored.

Old Kahlua that's not appropriate for drinking will also smell strange and pungent and taste completely off. In both cases, the drink may not be safe anymore. 

Best Way to Store Kahlua

You can store Kahlua in the same way as you do any other alcoholic drink. You need to ensure that the bottle is sealed, or the cap is replaced after you open it.

Make sure to clean the mouth and neck of the bottle and replace the clean cap. This will ensure that no contamination enters the bottle of Kahlua. 

There's no need to refrigerate Kahlua to keep it in good condition. You can, however, refrigerate it if you'd like to enjoy a glass of chilled coffee liqueur.

Whether opened or unopened, you need to keep your bottle of Kahlua away from heat and light as both can harm the quality of any liquor with sugar content. 

If you're not going to refrigerate your Kahlua bottle, keep it in the cool and dark part of your storage cabinet or wine cellar.

This will help to protect quality. The bottle of Kahlua is dark and doesn't let light in. Even if you have to change the bottle for some reason, make sure you pick a dark, opaque one. 

While refrigeration of the Kahlua bottle after opening it is not mandatory, your fridge can actually provide all the conditions required to store the liqueur safely.

It provides a dry and cool environment for the drink. Refrigerating will not only chill Kahlua and make it taste great. It will also maintain quality. 

In fact, if you are planning to use Kahlua on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to store the drink in the refrigerator. Indeed, refrigeration will not make any difference in the quality of Kahlua.

But keeping it refrigerated will take away the worries regarding proper storage. Plus, every glass will taste fabulous.

But is it a good idea to store Kahlua in the freezer? Firstly, there's no particular reason for you to keep Kahlua in the freezer.

Secondly, doing so isn't recommended, as the texture of Kahlua changes in a weird way. Its alcohol content prevents it from freezing completely, but it becomes thick and develops chunks.   

Kahlua stores well in the pantry and wine cellar, though you can also keep it in the refrigerator. No matter where you keep it, make sure to seal it properly.

This will not only keep out contaminants but will also prevent the alcohol content and the coffee flavor of the beverage from evaporating over time. 

What Drinks Do Kahlua Liquor Pairs With Best?

do kahula go bad

For those who have a home bar or love to have fun cooking, Kahlua is a great drink to add to the collection.

This rum-and-coffee drink is perfect as it is, and you can enjoy it chilled or with just a couple of ice cubes. Or, you can make it the base of hundreds of delicious cocktails. The possibility is endless! 

You'll find some incredible recipes in which Kahlua is paired with other liquors to create drinks that aren't just delicious but so powerful that the weak-hearted and the newbs must stay away from them! If you want to experiment on your own, here is a list of liquors and ingredients to pair with Kahlua -

  1. Try mixing Kahlua with dark rum.
  2. Pair it with white rum, and add cocoa cream and chocolate milk, topping it off with nutmeg.
  3. Mix it with eggs, cream, dark rum, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  
  4. Add it to a mix of rum, tequila, baileys, and coffee, and see the magic. 
  5. Create a stunning mix of Kahlua and white rum.
  6. Try creating a drink with Kahlua and vodka, and add a citrus touch to it.

So, you see, Kahlua pairs well with many other alcohols like vodka, rum, baileys, and more to make some stunning drinks. It can be a creamy drink or make an alcohol-infused extension of cold coffee.

You can even make brave choices and give the cocktails a fruity twist with anything from orange juice to cherries.

How to Consume Kahlua Safely

While delicious, Kahlua is also high in calorie-content because of sugar and alcohol. The flavored variants also contain lots of additives.

While it is hardly possible for Kahlua to harm you by going bad or causing allergic reactions all on its own, you also need to be careful about consuming it indiscriminately, especially if you are trying to cut down on the carb intake. Don't forget that it also contains caffeine. 

Too much calorie intake, along with a high amount of alcohol, can lead to weight gain and even lay the grounds for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, diabetes, liver conditions, and more, by increasing triglycerides in the blood.

The sugar content can lead to higher blood pressure, inflammation, and more. Too much caffeine can cause sleeplessness, dizziness, irregular heartbeats, and more.

So, while Kahlua is a delicious and versatile drink, you must try to control your temptation to have too much of it for short-term discomforts like sleeplessness or dizziness and keep the risks of health conditions at bay.

Keep an eye on the size of your serving and drink it responsibly to avoid problems.


Kahlua, a popular coffee liqueur in the world, presents its beautiful layers of tastes and aromas. The mix of rum and pure coffee creates a rich flavor that makes it a satisfying drink and decadent addition to desserts and cocktails.

But it's also true that this is not the kind of liqueur that you can drink every day or add to every kind of food. Kahlua should be used intelligently to get culinary and mixological delights.   

As a result, Kahlua often sits for a long time in the wine cellar, unused. You may worry about the drink going bad, but Kahlua remains in its prime condition for four years. Since it contains sugar and coffee, its shelf life is shorter than base spirits.

After this time, the drink does not really go bad or turn poisonous, even though the flavors start to deteriorate after this time. It remains drinkable but may taste totally off.  

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