Can I drink it?
March 28, 2018 12:13 PM   Subscribe

At last, only six years into my membership, I must engage in a MeFi rite of passage. Can I safely drink Bailey's Irish Cream, purchased probably March 2017, that expired in September 2017? For how much longer? If I do, will it be gross? It is opened, and was not refrigerated but was stored in a cabinet with no exposure to sunlight. Yes, I know that Bailey's would tell me the answer is no.
posted by capricorn to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hell no.

Cream is the key word.

Run. In fact, don't even pour it out. An alcoholic won't even drink it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Go for it. I never bother refrigerating my Baileys. If it was in an exceptionally hot cabinet, give it a sniff. Otherwise pour that gold on some Lucky Charms.
posted by Drosera at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2018 [22 favorites]

We have pretty old Baileys in my liquor cabinet -- ended up with several bottles a couple years back and we don't drink it that often. It has never tasted off or anything to me. Won't kill ya or anything as far as I know. I think the worst case is it tastes bad.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:20 PM on March 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Eh, the alcohol content is high enough that I'd drink it. If it tastes off, toss it, but otherwise bottoms up.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:20 PM on March 28, 2018 [10 favorites]

I’d drink it.
posted by Marinara at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

OK, so mayyybe I was exaggerating a little.

BUUUT I have curdled old bailies and it was a very disgusting surprise.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:22 PM on March 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

We had some expired Bailey's given to us a while back, and it was lumpy, like the cream had curdled. Having said that, I have no idea how the previous owner of the bottle had kept it. Generally speaking, I'd drink it if it was non-lumpy and smelled fine, especially if the expiry was in the past year.
posted by pipeski at 12:23 PM on March 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I didn't even know Baileys had an expiry date. Have a little sip, if it tastes fine, drink it
posted by KateViolet at 12:24 PM on March 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

Even if it's slightly off, it won't kill you. If it smells, tastes fine and isn't lumpy - cheers!
posted by Everydayville at 12:26 PM on March 28, 2018

Response by poster: For the people who are saying you would drink it assuming it smells okay and isn't curdled, would you still drink it in 2 years? 5 years? (Yeah, I don't drink much at home.)
posted by capricorn at 12:42 PM on March 28, 2018

Best answer: I'd drink it. Or I would aim to, that is.

Bailey's is a pretty simple substance to give the eye test on. Does it come out curdled? Does it smell off? If you mix a little of it into hot coffee, does it do that smooth pinwheel swirling thing it usually does or does it behave oddly?

It should not be difficult to check on whether it's still good. If it passes for now, I'd toss that puppy in the fridge to eke out a little more time form it. I'd also probably make a point of drinking it sooner than later.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:43 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If its texture and smell are okay it's okay. I have drunk Baileys that was YEARS out of date and it was fine. In fact, it never occurred to me that it would even have an expiration date.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:43 PM on March 28, 2018 [9 favorites]

I would drink this unless it was obviously weird when I poured it out, and I wouldn't expect it to be. Bailey's will curdle even when brand new if you mix it with the wrong stuff. Source: worked in a student bar, and people ordered some really gross mixed shots.
posted by spielzebub at 12:54 PM on March 28, 2018

From their website:

"Baileys Shelf Life

Baileys is the only cream liqueur that guarantees its taste for 2 years from the day it was made, opened or unopened, stored in the fridge or not, when stored away from direct sunlight at a temperature range of 0-25 degrees centigrade.

One of the keys to achieving this 2 year shelf-life is in our unique process of blending of fresh Irish cream with the spirits and the whiskey without the use of preservatives. The alcohol acts as a natural preservative for the product.

Under normal conditions of storage Baileys has a shelf-life of 24 months.

If you are concerned about a bottle of Baileys please check the Best Before End date on the bottle - all bottles carry a Best Before End date. This number is located on the bottom left hand side of the back label. We wouldn't recommend that you consume Baileys after this date, as you may not experience the great taste of Baileys at its best.

Example: Code 11 20XY would mean that we guarantee the product would taste perfect until November 20XY
(XY is the year 2 years from the date of manufacture)."
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:55 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have definitely, in the past, drunk Baileys that was well past (like, maybe years past?) it's alleged best-before date with no ill-effects (I mean, beyond the expected ones). I'm considerably less cavalier about eating/drinking questionably-aged things now than I used to be, but for this? I'd pour a shot, see if it looked like curdled and if not, happily polish off the rest.
posted by parm at 12:59 PM on March 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

it's not going to hurt you even if it is past its prime. The date on it is a "best by" date, like after that they can't guarantee it'll be nice to drink.

Pour a shot. Does it smell good and look like something you want to drink? Bottoms up.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:01 PM on March 28, 2018

(In the UK) there is a difference between "best before" and "use by", the former means it may not be at its best, the latter means do not use after. A few months after BB is nothing to be bothered about IMHO.

24 months is probably some EU legal limit, I have a jar of whole peppercorns for grinding, bought at the supermarket with a manufacture date of Apr 2016 and a BB of Mar 2018.
posted by epo at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2018

For the people who are saying you would drink it assuming it smells okay and isn't curdled, would you still drink it in 2 years? 5 years? (Yeah, I don't drink much at home.)

Bailey's is great in baked goods and other desserts.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:34 PM on March 28, 2018

would you still drink it in 2 years? 5 years?

I'd stick it in the fridge now, to help prolong the shelf life, and I probably would try to consume it in the next six months or so. And I'd definitely give it a sniff before indulging.
posted by halation at 1:54 PM on March 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Wait, Baileys goes bad? Who knew?

This prompted me to look for a date on the Baileys I used two weeks ago, because I know we’ve had it for a while. The date was July of 2015. It’s still fine, no refrigeration.

So to answer your question about using it years past the date...I just did.
posted by thejanna at 2:13 PM on March 28, 2018 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: am drinking the Bailey's. It is recognizably Bailey's. Thank you all!
posted by capricorn at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2018 [13 favorites]

It's a "best by" date-- there's no official date for cream going off, particularly mixed with booze; it's just a day after which Bailey's (or rather, International Distillers & Vintners, who makes the stuff) will say "tough luck, you waited too long," instead of "if it's bad before this date, it's our bad."

Never go by the date as if it's a rule; it's a guideline and a sort of implicit contract by those who make it and sell it. Always regard your senses and your knowledge of how rot works. Bacteria can't read dates.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:20 PM on March 28, 2018

Best before does not mean expires on. It just means they don’t guarantee consistency and flavor after that.
posted by zippy at 1:52 AM on March 29, 2018

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