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How Long Does Tonic Water Last? Can It Go Bad?

How Long Does Tonic Water Last? Can It Go Bad?

Does anyone know what tonic water is? How about gin tonic? Does it ring a bell? It may sound familiar to you too. And, I’m pretty sure you know some famous brands of tonic water out there as it is known that tonic water is a refreshing beverage.

Tonic water, alternatively known as Indian tonic water, is a carbonated beverage that contains an alkaloid called quinine. The bark of the Cinchona or Quinquina tree is the one that produces this alkaloid. Quinine is responsible for tonic water’s unique bitter and astringent taste.

But did you know? According to history, quinine was used as medicine to cure malaria. People get it from the Chinchona tree. Tonic water started the Andes region, particularly with the Peruvian Incas. They pulverize the Cinchona bark to produce to turn it into a medicinal tea. This Cinchona tea is prepared with cold or hot water and gives it to people suffering from malaria symptoms such as chills and fever. Also, it is often consumed as a thirst quencher or as a relief for an upset stomach.

Knowing the tonic water is carbonated, some people drink this as a healthy substitute for soft drinks. Also, some people drink tonic water as a substitute for plain water too. And now, it is popularly used as well as a flavoring for foods and beverages in Europe. And, many enjoy using tonic water by mixing it with vodka, gin, or with other spirits and serving it as a fancy cocktail. The drink called gin tonic is one of the famous cocktails that use tonic water for more happy hours of booze.

Tonic water comes in different tastes, and they are now commercially produced sweet with some hint of pleasant bitter flavor. As a carbonated beverage, it is sold in cans or bottles.

In this article, we will give you a closer look at the storage, shelf life, and spoilage of tonic water. Let us see how long you can keep it safe.

How To Store Tonic Water

It is a fact that it is hard to replace tonic water as part of many cocktail recipes. That’s why some people would prefer to buy more to keep as a back up at home so that they can use it whenever they have the immediate need.

Your challenge in storing tonic water is to retain its fizzy and bubbly characteristics. So, this is what you have to do to keep your tonic water properly:

1. Find a cool and dark place where you can keep your tonic water. Your food pantry or kitchen cabinet will be a perfect place for your tonic water.
2. Whether in the pantry or in the refrigerator, both storage areas, you can keep your unopened can or bottle of tonic water for long-term storage purposes. However, you do not have to refrigerate your unopened tonic water just in case you need it immediately, though. The pantry would be a practical option to save some space for your refrigerator for other foods that badly require refrigeration.
3. As for opened bottles of tonic water, put them in the fridge and make sure to close the lid after every use so that it will not lose its fizz and flavor. Or, when you already have opened a can of tonic water, you will have to decanter it in a bottle with a cap or in an airtight container.
4. Make sure to keep your tonic water away from any sources of heat and light so that its quality will not be compromised and goes bad quickly.
5. Always make sure to reseal the bottle after using it to avoid oxidation, resulting in an alteration of its taste.

Following these simple tips will help preserve and prolong the potency and shelf life of your tonic water.

Can I freeze tonic water?

Well, there is no need to freeze tonic water. Apparently, freezing this fizzy drink will only ruin the flavor. Your tonic water will become flat-tasting once you have it thawed. So, just refrigerate your tonic water and consume everything as soon as possible once you have opened it.

Can tonic water go bad?

Unfortunately, tonic water cannot live forever like water. Yes, tonic water has a limited shelf life, but it can actually last for a long time as long as it is still unopened. But once you have already opened the seal, it must be consumed within a day or two, or else you won’t get to enjoy its bubbly characteristic. The longer it stays open, the weaker its potency gets.

It is common for tonic water to lose its fizziness at some point. Take note that just because it has already lost its bubbly soda effect, it doesn’t mean that it has already gone bad. However, it will be honestly boring if you’ll just have flat-tasting tonic water. You would agree that experience would be entirely different. It will be your call on how you want to do with it. See the suggested tips on how to deal with flat-tasting tonic water later on this page.

How long does tonic water last?

You should be concerned about the shelf life of your tonic water. It usually comes with a best-by date. So make sure to check on that.

This refreshing beverage can last for several months as long as it is still unopened. It can’t even last longer than that, assuming that it is stored in the best condition. Apparently, it can even last up to one year inside the pantry. On the other hand, there were claims that some people find tonic water still consumable after 3 to five years after the best-by date. Let’s take it that they have kept these tonic water for a long time under the ideal storage conditions.

Once you have already opened your tonic water, that will be the beginning of its fizziness to decrease. Under unrefrigerated conditions, your tonic water can keep its fizziness within 1 to 2 days.

If you have it refrigerated, it can extend to several more days or three to five days, to be a little more specific. Take note that as days pass, the more your tonic water loses its bubbly and fizzy characteristics.

What if it is already expired? If you happen to store tonic water that has passed its date, you might use it as long as it doesn’t show any suspicious signs of spoilage.

How to tell if tonic water has gone bad?

The good thing about tonic water, it does not spoil immediately as long as it is still unopened unless it gets contaminated with specific food hazards. If you want to make sure if it is still for consumption, Here are the signs of tonic water that has already gone bad:

1. Bulging container. If you see that it has already bulged, that’s a potential sign that it may not be safe for consumption anymore. Throw it away.
2. Smells off. If your tonic water releases an unpleasant smell, just toss it away.
3. Discoloration. Tonic water should look clear as water. But if it has turned light yellow, just toss it away for your safety.
4. The texture is watery. This means that it has lost its carbonation and has become flat and watery. This is the same case with other soda drinks too.
5. The can is leaked or rusted. Before opening a can of tonic water, inspect for any signs of rusting and leakage as these compromise the quality of your tonic water.

If your tonic water has been sitting in storage for who knows how long, there’s a saying that when you are in doubt, it is better to throw it away.

What if tonic water is not bubbly anymore?

Typically, you may prefer to dispose of the tonic water that has already passed its prime. If your tonic water has turned flat or not bubbly anymore, you may still use it as long as it does not present any signs of spoilage.

And, if you are the type of person who hates wasting food and prefers to do some alternatives to make it useful, here are a few ways you do with flat-tasting tonic water:

1. You can use that as a cleaner for different surfaces and window
2. It can be used for muscle cramps remedy as long as it is still safe for consumption
3. Many suggest that you can try to revive your plants with this tonic water
4. Use it as a stain remover.


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