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Should bitters be kept in the fridge? What about vermouth?
You always see these items out on the gantry at bars. But they are probably going through them a lot faster than I am.
Is there a "threshold" alcohol content under which a beverage should be kept in the fridge if you plan to keep it open longer than a few days? Wine only keeps a day or two before it goes off (even with the air vacuumed out), but spirits can keep for months or years.
I'm fairly new to home cocktail making.
Vermouth is basically wine -- very short shelf life. I immediately pour half the bottle into a smaller, airtight container in effort to preserve. Bitters are supposed to have a long open shelf life, so I leave them on the bar.
Vermouth does not last long, but the fridge may help. Bitters should be fine left out. I refrigerate mine, but I do not mix drinks with them. I use them for heart burn and indigestion. They work great. Even cure hiccups.
Vermouth should be refrigerated after opening to make it last longer. Vermouth is not just basically wine. It is fortified with alcohol, so it will keep for while. My experience with Vya sweet brand vermouth is in the fridge, it really will not go bad as in spoiled. It just loses some of it's freshness and flavor. Use within 2 months for best flavor, but I've tasted a bottle after a year and still not bad.
Also, IMHO, sweet vermouth seems to be more stable than dry.
Thanks guys. That explains why my Manhattans never tasted as good as they did on the first day.
Bitters for heartburn? Please tell me about that. How do you take them? I'm always fully stocked with Pepsid Complete, but I'd prefer to find a gentler, more natural remedy.
I don't know about the bitters for heartburn but a shot glass full of lemon juice and several drops of bitters will cure the hiccups like he said.
The Angostura label recommends two tablespoons to treat a variety of stomach ailments. I've found that it works pretty well to combat gas and bloating. Herbal liqueurs like Jagermeister, Unicom, or other digestifs work about as well.
Bitters were first made for a tonic. I have seen them reffered to a stomach bitters.Lately I use stirrings blood orange, about 2 ounces with about 2 tablespoons of fees whiskey barrel aged bitters. Mix and throw it back. It works alost instantly. Best thing, which I am out of is cynara, made with artichoke. Eat a heavy meal, pour about 4 oz and drink, it will cure any stomach pain.
Around 35-40 proof is the borderline, but I don't think there is a hard rule. As proof increases, the chances and rate of spoilage decrease, but I don't believe there is a magic thresehold at any level.
Most liqueurs will be just fine at room temperature for quite a while, regardless of alcohol content. They may get a little funkier as months turn into years but they won't really spoil.
To echo everyone else's advice, buy small bottles of vermouth, use a vacuvin or something similar, and keep them in the fridge. You can squeeze a couple weeks out of a bottle of sweet vermouth without noticeable deterioration. Dry vermouth is much more delicate and doesn't stay fresh for very long at all, unfortunately.
Bitters also have a higher alcohol content than vermouth. Angostura clocks in at 45% ABV. I've never noticed anything off with bitters that have been open for a year or more. I refrigerate vermouth as soon as I open it and try and buy a half bottle if I can.
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