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Does Baileys Go Bad? How Long Is Baileys Good For?

It might be that time of the year (or decade) for you to take a look at your liquor cabinet and check to see what’s past its expiration date.

You may have found an old Baileys bottle and wondered, “does Baileys go bad?”

The quick answer:

You have a bit over two years with your Baileys. Then it’s time to pop open a new bottle! As long as you store this Irish alcohol between 34 and 77-degrees Fahrenheit, your bottle will be safe to drink.

However, after you open your Baileys, we recommend refrigerating it just to be safe. Refrigerated Baileys is much safer and less likely to spoil quickly. It will last around 6 months before going bad.

While spirits don’t expire, some liqueurs are perishable. Keep reading to find out whether you should pay attention to that Baileys expiration date or not.

What Is Baileys?

Baileys is an Irish cream liqueur created by a team working for Gilbey’s in 1971. It’s the first Irish cream liqueur ever made available for purchase.

However, there are many other cream liqueurs, and most of the information here applies to them.

baileys irish cream

Baileys has a 17% alcohol volume, resulting from a mixture of Irish whiskey and Irish cream. However, the exact formula is a well-guarded secret. We do know that they use cocoa extract, sugar, and a variety of herbs alongside the whiskey and cream.

Out of everything inside the bottle, the cream is the only thing you need to worry about if you’re asking, “does Baileys go bad?”

Does Baileys Need to Be Refrigerated?

baileys refrigerated

Unopened, Baileys does not need to be refrigerated.

The alcohol content keeps the cream from turning sour and curdling, meaning it’s perfectly safe to drink even if it hasn’t been refrigerated.

Once you open the bottle, though, it’s recommended to store it in a refrigerator.

Although air isn’t enough to turn it bad, temperatures above 77-degrees Fahrenheit can curdle the cream.

Consistently storing Baileys in a hot space will definitely turn it bad and is very unsafe to consume. However, the company says that as long as you keep the opened bottle in a cool place, it should be fine to drink after it’s opened.

How Long Is Baileys Good For?

According to Diageo, the company that owns the distribution rights to Baileys, guarantees all its Irish Cream products have a shelf life of two years [1] from the day they’re bottled.

If the product curdles before two years have passed, then you can get a replacement.

Your Baileys bottle may last longer than two years. As long as it’s in proper temperatures, your bottle may have weeks or even months of safe use after expiring.

It’s best to give it a look before downing a shot or two, but you should be good if it’s only expired recently.

How to Tell If Baileys Has Gone Bad?

Since the cream is the only thing in Baileys that can go bad, the telltale sign that your bottle is ready for the garbage is if the liquid is curdled [2].

Curdling occurs when the cream thickens, forming white clumps along the surface and inside the liquid. It can taste sour and often smells bad as well.

Your Baileys will curdle eventually, but it becomes more and more likely after your bottle hits the two-year expiration date. While you might have some time after that, it’s best to chuck it out and buy a new bottle, just to be safe.

However, the Baileys cream also curdles when it comes into contact with weak acids. If lemon juice or wine accidentally gets into your Baileys cocktail, you’ll quickly notice curds forming.

It can be gross, but freshly curdled cream isn’t as unsafe as curdling from expired Baileys. There’s even a shot called the cement mixer that involves lemon juice poured into a shot of Baileys!

Is Expired Baileys Okay to Drink?

To be honest, expired-anything is usually okay [3] to consume after the expiration date. ‘Best buy’ dates don’t necessarily indicate an item’s safety or even freshness.

However, dairy products are a little bit more fickle. After the expiration date, dairy products tend to go bad quicker than other products. It all depends on what’s going on in your fridge and what’s in the bottle.

While it’s hard to tell exactly when your Baileys will be unsafe to drink, the look and smell tests are reasonably accurate.

If your bottle is expired, open it up and pour out a glass. If you see any curdles forming or floating in the liquid, then you shouldn’t drink it.

How to Store Baileys?

Like most liquors, it doesn’t matter if you keep Baileys in a refrigerator or dry storage.

store baileys

Baileys’ manufacturer recommends you store it in temperatures under 77-degrees and above 34-degrees Fahrenheit but has no preference for where.

If you’re using Baileys in a hot setting like an outdoor bar in summer, you need to check your bottles daily.

Anything above 77-degrees is going to make the Baileys curdle much quicker. Anything below 34-degrees will freeze and shatter the glass bottle, so keep that in mind as well.

However, no matter where you store your Baileys bottle, it’s essential to stand it upright at all times, avoiding direct sunlight.

Unless you absolutely love Baileys or run a bar, the chances are that your bottle is going to sit for a little while. If it expires and starts to curdle, an upside-down bottle causes the curds to clump together at the neck, which can cause a nasty smell and mess if it’s opened incorrectly.  

What About Other Baileys and Cream Liqueurs?

While the original Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur is the company’s most popular offering, Gilbey’s and Diageo have several other cream-based liqueurs available.

In almost all cases, all of the information we’ve outlined here applies to those drinks as well.

However, it’s essential to check the specific ingredients in each bottle before making any assumptions. These types of drinks sometimes have fruits that make them more perishable than standard Baileys.

FAQs About Baileys

How to make Irish coffee with baileys?

Irish coffee is a delightful way to warm up on a cold winter day. The recipe for Irish coffee usually includes sugar, strong black coffee, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Here is a video guide to make Irish coffee with baileys:

Does baileys Irish cream go bad?

Yes it will. The Irish cream can last for 2 years after its manufacturing date if it’s properly stored. Once you open it, you’d better store it in refrigerator and drink it within 6 months.

Does baileys go bad if not refrigerated?

Yes! Baileys contains milk, cream and other real dairy products which will eventually go bad. You’d better store it in a refrigerator.

How much alcohol in baileys?

With an ABV percentage below 17%, this beverage won’t harm anyone’s inhibitions but will provide plenty of enjoyment in its own right!

A delicious mix of sweet and milky flavors with notes that are both chocolatey on the finish, Baileys Irish Cream has just enough alcoholic kick for you.


Hopefully, we’ve answered your question of, “does Baileys go bad?”

As always, if there is anything else you would like to know or if we can help in any other way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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