Can Malibu Rum Go Bad? - Can It Go Bad? (2024)

Summertime calls for colorful, fruity, and “fun” alcoholic beverages. And Malibu rum is definitely one of them, enjoyed most often in drinks, ranging from easy ones like Malibu tonic to classics such as Pina colada.

But what if the summertime is over and you still have a bottle or two of Malibu in storage? Can you just leave them where they are until you’re back in the mood for some sweet and colorful drinks?

Or perhaps you’re new to Malibu, and you’re wondering if you need to refrigerate it after opening. After all, it’s a fruity drink, so such a requirement shouldn’t come as a surprise. Plus knowing how long it keeps quality once opened would be useful too.

If you have any questions related to going bad, storage, or shelf life of the liqueur, this article is here to help. And to start things off on the right foot, let’s talk about spoilage.

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Can Malibu Rum Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

First off, Malibu rum is technically a liqueur ([WIKI1]), although it’s sometimes called a flavored rum. While the naming conventions aren’t that important, you should know that Malibu has an alcohol by volume (ABV) value of 21%, while most rums are around 40% (80 proof) ([WIKI2]). But even though it contains quite a lot of fruity flavoring, this ABV value is good enough to keep the drink safe for consumption for years.

When it comes to whether or not Malibu rum can go bad, there isn’t one straight answer. Theoretically, if you’d leave the bottle unsealed for a few years, and made sure some bacteria got inside, it’d probably spoil.

But in practical terms, an unopened bottle shouldn’t go off in years if you store it properly. The liqueur should stay pretty much the same for a very long time, so unless your Malibu is 10 years old, don’t hesitate to open that bottle and check out its contents.

Of course, the taste of a Malibu that sat in storage for 5 years probably won’t be as good as the taste of a fresh one. That’s because this alcoholic beverage is flavored and doesn’t have such a high percentage of alcohol that it will basically stay the same forever (like vodka or whiskey).

So far we talked about unopened Malibu, let’s now cover what happens when you unseal the bottle for the first time. Long story short, opened Malibu rum probably won’t ever spoil if you take good care of it. But that doesn’t mean it will keep its quality for as long as “pure” rum does.

Having said that, if the flavored drink changes color, or starts to smell off, throw it out. Same thing if it tastes wrong. Chances of that happening are minuscule, but you never know.

Let’s sum things up. Malibu rum will last years unopened, but once you open the bottle, the quality starts to degrade more rapidly. And at some point, you will probably discard the leftovers for quality reasons. So the big question is how long until the quality is bad enough for you to get rid of it?

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How Long Does Malibu Rum Last After Opening?

Unfortunately, there isn’t one straightforward answer to that question.

The producer says that the Malibu’s shelf life after opening is one year ([MRD]). But as you know producers pretty much always give safe recommendations when it comes to such topics. So chances are you will be able to keep it around and be happy about its quality for even longer.

As you can imagine, there isn’t one set-in-stone period. Everyone is different, and it’s up to your taste buds if you find that liqueur good enough for drinking or not.

But if you have the bottle opened for longer than a year, it’s a good idea to give the Malibu rum a taste before you mix up some drinks. You know, so you won’t ruin the rest of the ingredients with a liqueur that doesn’t quite hit the spot.

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Last but not least, if you’re feeling that your Malibu isn’t at its peak anymore, not all is lost. You can still try making some drinks with it, but choose recipes that involve other strong flavors that overpower the Malibu. Like for example pineapple juice or orange juice.

With such a mix you should enjoy the subtle kick that the liqueur adds without feeling that it’s past its prime. Or you can discard that old bottle, it’s up to you really.

Knowing all of that, it’s time to talk a bit about storage of Malibu, so you know what to do to keep that open bottle in good quality for as long as possible.

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How To Store Malibu Rum?

Storing unopened Malibu is no different than storing other alcoholic drinks. In short, keep it in a cool place away from sunlight and heat sources. A pantry or a dark cupboard in the kitchen is perfect.

Of course, you can put it into the fridge, especially if you’re planning on opening it later that day, and want to have it chilled.

Once you open the bottle, remember to always keep it sealed tightly when not in use.

When it comes to whether or not you should refrigerate the rum-based liqueur, it’s up to you. Keeping it chilled after opening isn’t required, but it may help retain the taste for longer.

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If you expect it to stay around for a few months, refrigeration would be a smart thing to do, but it’s by no means necessary. If it remains in a cool place, it should keep its quality reasonably well too.

One thing that most alcohols don’t like is heat, so if you happen to store the bottle in a warm place, the quality of the liqueur will drop faster than expected.

To finish things off, I’ll leave you with one final tip. It works for spirits, and it could help your Malibu too.

If the bottle is less than half-full, transfer the liquid into a smaller one, preferably one that will be almost full. The less air is in the bottle, the slower the flavor degradation process. Of course, implementing this only makes sense if you expect to keep that Malibu around for a few months at least. Otherwise, the profits will be close to none, and definitely not worth the trouble.

In a Nutshell

  • Malibu rum lasts years while unopened; keeps quality for about a year after opening
  • Malibu doesn’t require refrigeration, even after opening, but if you expect to store an open bottle for a long time, keeping it in the fridge might help with preserving the taste
  • if the liqueur doesn’t taste as good as it used to, try drinks with strong-flavored ingredients that will mask the subpar flavor


As an enthusiast with demonstrable expertise in alcoholic beverages and their storage, I can provide insights into the various aspects of Malibu rum based on the article you provided and my background knowledge.

1. Malibu Rum as a Liqueur vs. Flavored Rum:

  • The article rightly mentions that Malibu rum is technically a liqueur, although colloquially, it's often referred to as a flavored rum. The distinction between liqueurs and rums lies primarily in their sweetness and alcohol content.
  • Liqueurs are typically sweetened spirits that have been flavored with fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, or nuts. They usually have lower alcohol content compared to pure spirits. Malibu, with an ABV of 21%, sits on the lower end of the alcohol scale for rums, which typically range around 40% ABV.

2. Shelf Life and Spoilage:

  • The article correctly states that while Malibu rum can technically "go bad," it's not as straightforward as with some other beverages. Factors like proper storage play a significant role in its longevity.
  • When unopened and stored correctly, Malibu can last for years without significant degradation. However, once opened, its quality starts to diminish more rapidly due to the flavoring components and lower alcohol content.
  • Signs of spoilage in an opened bottle include changes in color, an off-putting smell, or a taste that doesn't align with its original flavor profile.

3. Shelf Life After Opening:

  • The producer recommends consuming Malibu within a year of opening. Still, as the article suggests, this is a conservative estimate, and many people might find the quality acceptable beyond that timeframe.
  • It's essential to rely on sensory evaluations (smell and taste) to determine if an opened bottle of Malibu is still suitable for consumption.

4. Storage Recommendations:

  • Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the quality of Malibu rum. Like many spirits, it should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • While refrigeration is not mandatory for Malibu, it can help preserve the flavor if you plan to keep an opened bottle for an extended period. The cooler temperature slows down the oxidation process and helps retain the drink's fruity flavors.
  • Transferring the contents of an opened bottle to a smaller container when it's less than half full is a practical tip to reduce oxidation. Less air in the bottle means less interaction with the liquid, potentially preserving its quality for a longer time.

5. Mixing and Enjoyment:

  • If you find that an older bottle of Malibu doesn't taste as vibrant as a fresh one, consider mixing it with ingredients that have strong flavors like pineapple juice or orange juice. This way, you can still enjoy the drink without the diminished taste being too noticeable.

In Conclusion: Malibu rum is a delightful, fruity liqueur that can be enjoyed in various co*cktails and drinks. While it has a decent shelf life, both unopened and opened, proper storage practices and sensory evaluations are essential to ensure you're getting the best experience out of your bottle. Whether you're a seasoned Malibu enthusiast or new to the drink, understanding these aspects can enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of this tropical favorite.

Can Malibu Rum Go Bad? - Can It Go Bad? (2024)


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