Mulled wine vs mulled death
February 12, 2013 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I have a bottle of this glogg concentrate mix. Its been opened for a few weeks, at least. Its not alcoholic, but nothing on the bottle says it should be refrigerated after opening.

Ingredients are water, sugar, lemon juice form concentrate, grape juice from concentrate, citric acid, spices, natural flavor, caramel, grape skin extract, and sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid as preservatives.

I once had a bout of food poisoning from a couple sips of grape juice that had gone off, so I'm hesitant to even taste it. "If in doubt" and all that, which is what I'll do unless someone pipes up with, "Man, I drank one of those that had been open for months and was totally fine" or something similar.
posted by curious nu to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I realize there was not actually a question mark in there anywhere, so: safe to drink?
posted by curious nu at 6:54 PM on February 12, 2013

I tend towards "go for it" on these questions, but I'm going to bet you've got stuff growing in that mixture. Juice is not particularly stable after being opened.
posted by judith at 7:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

For $6, toss it!

Safe? Likely. Tasty? Hell no.

It's been exposed to air and unrefrigerated - toss it.

That said... What does one do with glogg concentrate??
posted by jbenben at 7:02 PM on February 12, 2013

It's mostly concentrated sugar syrup, with added lemon juice and acid? I can't imagine what would grow in that that would actually do you harm. I've got fruit syrups sitting around (admittedly in my fridge) for over a year that I'm still using with no problems. And many people I know don't keep jam in the fridge and eat it slowly over weeks or months after opening, and jam is basically the gelled version of what you have.

Jbenben - you add glogg concentrate to hot water to make a sort of non-alcoholic glogg-tasting drink, or you add it to wine for the alcoholic version.
posted by lollusc at 7:15 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pour a small amount into a cup, then sniff and taste it. You'll know if it's bad. (My guess would be it's fine).
posted by lathrop at 8:03 PM on February 12, 2013

It's just sugar syrup with a few flavorings in it, I had a bottle from Ikea open for months on my shelf and suffered no ill effects from drinking it. In fact, forgetting it was on the shelf for months after the holidays is how I discovered it makes a pretty tasty mixer for whisky.
posted by TungstenChef at 8:42 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

If it doesn't even say that it should be refrigerated after opening, you can be sure that the mix of preservatives in that bottle is strong enough to preserve a dead horse.

[I would keep this for years, probably decades, for all that sugar and this reason alone.]
posted by Namlit at 11:04 PM on February 12, 2013

I'm with lollusc: this is a sugar syrup with fruit and spices. It's basically a spiced-up version of the concentrate known in the UK as squash, which apparently is not well-known in the US. Fruit/sugar concentrates, both shop-bought and home-made, are common at least in the UK, New Zealand, and in Nordic countries. I've very seldom seen them refrigerated, even after opening: the high sugar content makes a good preservative. I've had unrefrigerated bottles sitting out a year past their sell-by date and consumed them with no ill effects.

I've never seen a shop-bought squash go off in any way. Very occasionally I've seen a home-made one go bad (usually because it's been made with less sugar). In this case, the failure mode has always been a big green/white raft of mould floating on top of the liquid -- hard to miss.
posted by pont at 12:24 AM on February 13, 2013

Come in to say what Pont said. Since living in the UK I have come to love squash in all of its myriad of flavors and have had bottles on the go for quite a while, certainly longer than a few weeks. If it has mold growing on it then pitch it, but otherwise the best test is to dilute it 1:5 with water and taste it. I bet it tastes like mulled wine and would be fine.
posted by koolkat at 1:39 AM on February 13, 2013

Hmm! I would've thought the high sugar would've been a breeding ground for bacteria and such. Why does it have the opposite effect?
posted by curious nu at 6:03 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

It depends on how much sugar is in the solution, as sugar itself is a desiccant, binding up available water (one of the reasons so much HFCS is used in processed foods). And it depends on how much any other preservatives are present.

In the glogg you've listed, the citric acid (lemon juice and powder), ascorbic acid, are all acting as preservatives. Depending on the resultant pH, that is reducing the amount of mold and bacteria that might grow. Add that sodium benzoate (to beat down fungus and bacteria), and the stability increases.

What I've found in making spiced and flavored syrups for bartending at home is that the range of syrups from 1:1 (1 parts sugar to 1 part water) to 3:1 without preservatives will go off (slightly visible strings/ropey-ness in the bottle, then floating spots of grey-green mold) within about four weeks even when refrigerated (although I often refrigerate in an unsealed bottle). Pushing to rock candy syrup at 4:1 is more stable against going bad but chances crystallization in the bottle. Adding even an ounce of vodka to a finished syrup (16oz) will give another two weeks or so of refrigerated shelf life.

But my best advice is to write a date on every bottle when you open it: vermouth, syrup, ketchup.

IamNOTa: food scientist.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 8:40 AM on February 13, 2013

Well, I emailed the company that makes it, and they said 14 days, refrigerated, after opening. It's... probably still fine, but I'll let this one go, and just do a better job at drinking it in the future.
posted by curious nu at 9:21 PM on February 25, 2013

« Older Help me remember this Lego knock-off brand circa...   |   All I got was his phone number-- how to thank him? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.