Can I leave pourers on my liquor bottles long term?
August 16, 2006 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Can I leave pourers on my liquor bottles long term?

I am in the process of setting up a home bar, and having those plastic or stainless steel pourers on the liquor bottles is very appealing. I am worried, however, because we do not drink a lot, and some of those bottles will be sitting in the cabinet for months at a time without being used. Will the alcohol slowly evaporate using pourers on the bottles? What about the ones with the ball bearings in them - do they actually seal off the bottle when it is upright? I would hate to buy a bunch of these to put on the liquer bottles, only to find out months later that everything is ruined.

On a similar note, is there any reason I should/should not go with the ones with the ball bearings in them? I know they help to measure out the alcohol, but considering they cost a lot more, if that is the only benefit I think I might pass.
posted by markblasco to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I personally would not leave the pourers on. I worked in a bar once where our bottles with pourers were invaded by fruit flies. The bar was so dark that I didn't notice until a customer came back with a speckled martini. The flies go for sweet so I don't know if all liquor would have the same problem.
posted by Constant Reader at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2006

I don't know about the ones with ball bearings, but with the regular ones, fruitflies can get through the spout and into the bottle. This is especially a problem with liqueurs. I suppose you could keep a little piece of aluminum foil or something over the spout to avoid this.
posted by staggernation at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2006

First off, skip the ones with the ball bearings and learn to count your pouring mentally. The plastic ones work just fine, and proper use of a slow pourer is a skill you can take anywhere.

As for leaving the pourers in long-term, I've left them in bottles for months on end with no evident ill effect. Obviously, I'm only talking about clear liquors here, not anything with a lifespan, but as long as things don't get too dusty you should have no problem.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2006

I didn't think about the fruit fly issue. I suppose that's just not a problem in my house. YMMV.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2006

My father once bought a bottle of port so that he'd have something to drink at a party I was throwing. He put a pour spout on it.

Two weeks later, my girlfriend discovered that the bottle was damn-near overflowing with bugs.

So, +1 on fruitflies. Get pour spouts with caps.
posted by Netzapper at 11:39 AM on August 16, 2006

Get pour spouts with caps.

posted by muddgirl at 11:43 AM on August 16, 2006

Fruit flies are a problem everywhere, but you can keep them out of your bottles by covering the pour spouts with little dixie cups when not in use. Fruit flies are blind and navigate by smell. The dixie cups keep the sugary vapors from attracting the little buggers. Note that the sweeter the booze, the more at risk it is. Sloe Gin is a lot more likely to be infested than unflavored vodka.

But if you don't drink often, your booze will dry up and/or the spouts will become so sticky as to be unappetizing. The spouts are mainly for bars to control their pours (uniform flow rates) and to speed up service (not having to unscrew every bottle when mixing drinks for customers). They don't really have a purpose at home.
posted by mds35 at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2006

A bar I frequented in college put golf tees in the pour spouts to prevent fruit flies. This might also prevent evaporation somewhat.
posted by penchant at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2006

Also, you might be surprised where fruit flies can suddenly become a problem. It has nothing to do with keeping an overall clean house.
posted by penchant at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2006

No way is this an option.

Sorry to sound extreme. Every bar cleans the pourers and caps the bottles every night (and if they don't it's a public health hazard, yes I know the plastic wrap option but that's just a bad idea). Alchohol kills bacteria? Not when it's encrusted and the alchohol has evaporated, leaving a sticky bed for insects and things invisible to the eye to feed on.

I always take the aluminum covers completely off the necks of wine bottles as well. Same problem when the wine collects in the collar.

Aside from the health hazard, it's going to affect the taste to have whatever's left in the pourers pouring into your new drinks. Also, liquor isn't really supposed to sit around forever, it deteriorates. It's only supposed to last once opened, for a couple months at most.

And yea, use the counting method, it's fun, and I use it for cooking as well (pouring olive oil).
posted by scazza at 1:02 PM on August 16, 2006

Oh and they do have a purpose at home if you're using the counting method. I have a really hard time making drinks at parties and at home without a pourer. I have to mimic the flow which generally does not work.
posted by scazza at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2006

Alcohol kills bacteria at greater than 70% concentration. Anything less than that will only maim or taunt.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2006

I had a bottle of Jack get cloudy, with some sort of moldish clumps floating in it, because it was left with the pourer on for about a month in a cupboard.
posted by nomisxid at 1:52 PM on August 16, 2006

There's a bar that cleans the pourers and caps the bottles every night? Seriously? I've never seen one, not close. Most bars I know don't even rinse them out between bottles.

You can get pourers with little screens in them which, if they don't keep the fruit flies out, will at least keep them in when you pour.

I've stored bottles for months if not years with pourers in them. As long as you stick to the clear and sturdy liquors, nothing sweet or fruity or subtle, you're fine storing them that way.
posted by bink at 1:59 PM on August 16, 2006

Every bar cleans the pourers and caps the bottles every night

Haha, none of the half dozen or so pubs I've worked in.

If you don't drink a lot, I'd avoid them because of the insect problems some people point to above . . . . you can always have them on hand and throw them on before a scheduled party.
posted by jamesonandwater at 2:27 PM on August 16, 2006

Not on liquers like kahlua or baileys or anything with high sugar content. Can't see a problem with vodka, gin, bourbon, etc.
posted by vito90 at 4:13 PM on August 16, 2006

Response by poster: OK, so what about going with pourers that have lids to keep the fruit flies out - is there any difference between doing this and using the caps that come with the bottles (I am not talking about the pouring aspect, but simply the lifespan of the liquor)?
posted by markblasco at 5:18 PM on August 16, 2006

I have plastic pourers with little caps. They seem OK. If the caps weren't there, I'd probably not leave them in.
posted by pompomtom at 5:23 PM on August 16, 2006

Best answer: Leave the pourers on distilled, non-fortified liquors, that is, whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, etc. Neither evaporation nor contamination will occur except under special circumstances, and these are the liquors you'll be using more of, anyways. Don't leave them on non-distilled sweet or fruit flavored things. The pourers with caps would be OK in most cases for these, but since you'll be using less of them, you might attract ants or flies, or you might just get crustiness clogging them up.

You didn't mention this, but make sure you store everything in a cool area out of direct sunlight, no matter how they're capped.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:49 PM on August 16, 2006

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