Should You Refrigerate Whiskey? (Ideal Storage Temperature)

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Many people aren’t sure how to store their whiskey for optimal, long-lasting taste. There are a lot of different ways to store your whiskey and there are a few key elements to keep in mind when deciding on what’s best for you and your bottles.

Most will say that you should not refrigerate or store whiskey in the freezer because it could dramatically change the flavor. Let’s take a look at some of the important factors when it comes to refrigerating your whiskey and proper storage.

Table of Contents

What happens when you refrigerate whiskey?

A common misconception is that storing your whiskey at a colder temperature will help it last longer. In reality, refrigerating your whiskey will actually dull some of the notes and flavors over time if it is kept too cold. Refrigerating your whiskey is not going to make it taste “bad” in a traditional sense, but it can compromise the flavors of a nice whiskey.

If you have a particularly coveted bottle, you’ll want to avoid keeping it in a place that is too cold to make sure you’re getting the full potential with each drink. Whiskey is best served at room temperature, so refrigerating it will also mean that you’ll need to let it come back down to a more neutral temperature before pouring a glass which can add unnecessary time and waiting.

Can you freeze whiskey?

We’ve all been guilty of storing an old bottle of liquor at the back of the freezer for a little too long. As many know, distilled alcohol won’t actually freeze as a liquid when stored in the freezer. Many whiskey connoisseurs, however, find that freezing your whiskey will numb the flavors in a similar way that refrigerating it does.

Ice cold whiskey from the freezer is not something we recommend and you will end up losing a lot of the amazing notes that make a bottle great over time. While the freezer won’t ruin your whiskey, it will compromise the taste enough to make you pass on another glass. It’s best to avoid freezing your whiskey and go for other storage options if you can.

If you’re a fan of cold whiskey, the best scenario is to enjoy your whiskey over ice.

How should whiskey be stored?

Whiskey is best stored in a cool (not cold) dark place. Typically whiskey is stored just below room temperature with an emphasis to not let it get too hot. Just like whiskey is not optimal at cold temperatures, hot whiskey can make it lose some of its punch as well.

The ideal temperature range for whiskey storage is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the storage area. Whiskey should not be stored too close to any heat source as it will make it warm up faster, and this will cause issues with some of the flavor notes and aromas.

If you’re storing whiskey in a kitchen, you’ll want to keep various heat sources in mind to make sure they are not too close. Dark cupboards or liquor cabinets are great choices for storing your whiskey and keeping it cool.

Whiskey in an opened vs. unopened bottle

Similar to wine, opening a bottle of whiskey will mean the deterioration of flavor and aromas over time. You should ideally keep your whiskey sealed tightly and away from light and heat to maintain the best flavor. If you’re hoping to share a casual glass with friends, consider a bottle that’s already open to not compromise multiple bottles at once.

If sealed correctly, an opened whiskey bottle will last many years without losing much flavor.

Bottles that are unopened do not risk any loss of flavor as they are still considered to be fully intact. It’s important to note that whiskey does not age like wine does as the flavor of an unopened bottle will remain the same if you keep it closed and wait to open it. Unopened bottles can essentially last forever if stored correctly. Both unopened and opened bottles should be stored similarly in a cool, dark environment that is not too humid.

Check out our article Does Whiskey Get Better in an Unopened Bottle?

Whiskey storage in a decanter

Decanting your whiskey is a great way to display your favorite spirits. Decanters can be beautiful additions to your whiskey collection and add a lot of character. It’s important to note that decanters do not actually add any longevity to your whiskey. They are essentially just different vessels for storage and hold the same purpose as the original bottle it came in once opened.

Decanters are typically best stored upright to help prevent any leakage of liquid or evaporation that may occur over time. You’ll still want to follow the same rules of storage and be sure to enjoy your whiskey soon after it’s been transferred into a decanter for the best taste.

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Whiskey storage in a flask

Flasks are great for taking a quick pour when you’re on the move. They allow you to take your favorite whiskey with you and enjoy it anywhere. Flasks should be kept in a cool, dark place and are best stored upright as to not leak or spill over time.

Whiskey that is poured into flasks typically doesn’t last as long as that which is left unopened, but it can still make for a tasty drink if you’re on the go. Be sure to buy a flask with high-quality metals, as certain types of steel can leave your whiskey tasting like metal and can ruin the experience.

Flasks should not be used for long-term storage and are best for short term use. If you want to learn more about whiskey storage in a flask, check out the article Does Whiskey in a Flask Go Bad?

Final Round

Whiskey drinking is an experience that should not be taken lightly. Whiskey is best stored and enjoyed when kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark place to avoid any problems with quality or taste. It’s best to pay close attention to the rules above so you can enjoy all the amazing flavors that make whiskey so great.

The best way to preserve the flavor of your whiskey is through proper storage and aging techniques to ensure you get the most out of every pour or glass.