Does Tonic Water Go Bad? All You Ever Wanted to Know About This Drink

Tonic Water Lifespan And Unknown Specifics

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Tonic Water

Tonic water is a widespread ingredient in many cocktails today. This fizzy liquid can be consumed both as it is and as a part of other drinks.

Its lifespan is quite extended but how long can we keep it safely?

And does tonic water go bad? Yes, an opened bottle of tonic water goes bad in 24 – 48 hours if kept in a pantry at 77°F temperatures. The lifespan of an unopened tonic, stored in a fridge, is about 1 year. An opened bottle of tonic water stored in a fridge at 40°F goes bad in 3-5 days.

Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

What Sort Of Drink It Is

Originally, tonic water was created for medical purposes. The first drinks consisted of water and quinine only, and its main use was to prevent malaria!

Back then, the beverage was so bitter that people started to add sugar and soda to it to make the liquid softer, and that’s how the tonic was invented.

Today, we have plenty of varieties of this soft beverage with different tastes. Modern tonic is mostly sweet with a significant pleasant bitterness.

Its major area of use is cocktails-making as a mixer.

How To Store Tonic Water?

Tonic is an irreplaceable part of many cocktails and no wonder that quite many people have a bottle or two of this beverage at home just in case.

Since it is a sort of carbonated liquid, this quinine beverage can be rather durable when the tank is unscrewed.

But how is it going with the unscrewed product? 

The main issue that people meet when storing this product is how to make it remain the same fizzy and bubbly as it was from the beginning.

What Sort Of Drink It Is
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Well, we can suggest several handy and checked steps that can help you out with that!

What is the Best Tonic Water for a Gin & Tonic?What is the Best Tonic Water for a Gin & Tonic?
  1. Always let the flask stay refrigerated if the plan is to stock if long
  2. In case the product will be used instantly, refrigeration is not required and stocking the drink in a pantry is enough
  3. Remove the flask from the hot objects
  4. Choose the dry and shady spot where you could stock the tank with the beverage
  5. Remember to tightly re-seal the flask each time after it is used

Such simple tips will allow preserving the drink and its potency longer even though refrigeration, for instance, doesn’t prolong its lifespan.

How Long Does Tonic Water Last?

How To Store Tonic Water
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

The most worrying issue regarding this soft beverage is the duration of its lifespan.

It is well known that this sort of liquid refreshment is quite durable but still, a best-by date can be found on every flask.

Many people get confused with that but in fact, it only shows until when the beverage will remain at its best quality.

What Is Tonic Water? / Bitter Lemon DrinkWhat Is Tonic Water? / Bitter Lemon Drink

Basically, such a drink can easily stay consumable for months and even longer, of course, if we store it correctly and according to the basic storage rules. Naturally, such long durability is possible only for the unscrewed flask!

The second it is unsealed, the time you can keep the beverage fizzy decreases significantly. If not refrigerated, the liquid refreshment will keep its frizziness for 24-48 hours. If we toss it to the fridge, we will extend this time to several more days. But anyway, sooner or later the opened tonic will lose its carbonation.

To see and compare different terms of storage, check this chart.

Pantry Fridge
Unopened Keep it for 12 months more past the expiry date Store for one year more after the expiry date
Opened One/two days Three to five days

Of course, when the drink loses its bubbles, it doesn’t mean it is spoiled but let’s agree, drinking the flat tonic is not quite the same as consuming it frizzy.

So how long does tonic water last? Tonic water in unopened bottles lasts for up to 12 months after the best-by date if kept in a pantry at 77°F and more than 1 year if kept in a fridge at 40°F. An opened bottle of tonic water lasts for 1-2 days in a pantry at 77°F and 3-5 days in a fridge at 40°F temperatures.

How To Tell If Tonic Water Is Bad?

The most common question people ask is whether tonic can go bad somehow.

Well, in fact, this drink is not the one that can spoil suddenly. Unless contaminating particles get inside the flask, the liquid refreshment will be harmless to consume. That is why it is so essential to always stock the tank tightly screwed!

Still, knowing the major symptoms of spoilage is a good thing. What are they?

How Long Does Tonic Water Last
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
  1. The off smell
  2. Any changes in color (e.g. color changes or yellowish tint)
  3. Watery texture

And for sure, when finding a flask of liquid refreshment that had been staying in the cabinet for God knows how many months, throw it away instantly.

You will hardly get food poisoning from consuming the old drink but it’s better to exclude any risks.

So does tonic water expire? Tonic water expires in 1 year in an unopened bottle and in 3-5 days in an open bottle if stored in a fridge at 40°F temperature. An opened bottle of tonic water expires in 1-2 days if you keep it in a pantry at temperatures higher than 77°F .

What to Do If Tonic Turned Flat

What if you noticed that your tonic is not bubbly any more? Well, if it is still ok and not spoiled, it could be possible to make use of it!

  1. Try to make use of it for cleaning different surfaces and windows since this liquid refreshment is a great natural cleaner
  2. If it’s still consumable, intake it for curing muscle cramps (even though the drink lost its fizziness)
  3. Some say that it’s good for watering plants to revive them
  4. Such a liquid refreshment can serve as a stain remover
How to Make Tonic WaterHow to Make Tonic Water

Naturally, if the product is off, it is better to throw it away.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is it OK to drink tonic water every day?

Since the original drink contains quinine, those who are sensitive to this element may have certain health issues e.g. blood disorders. But if you’re absolutely quinine-friendly, it’s ok to intake even three glasses a day.

⭐ Is too much tonic water bad for you?

Tonic has no health benefits except for certain sobering effect, so it can’t be harmful. However, since it contains sugar, its regular consumption may lead to excess calory intake.

⭐ Can tonic water make you sick?

Unless you’re too quinine-sensitive, this liquid refreshment can’t cause you any harm.

⭐ How do you keep tonic water fizzy?

The best option is to stock the tank tightly closed and unrefrigerated since cold makes the gas leave the bottle.

Some say that tonic drink is good for sobering after a hard party night, others make use of it when preparing cocktails, and some people find more exotic use for this drink! 

And can you drink too much tonic water? If you often drink too much tonic water, which contains sugar, it may lead to excessive calorie intake. People who are quinine sensitive should drink tonic water in small doses. You can drink too much tonic water, even 3 glasses of tonic water daily is OK.

No matter how you will be using it, remember that tonic will keep its fizziness and bubbles only if we follow the storage rules and provide the drink with the proper conditions.

And of course, remember to check the drink now and then to notice any changes in its quality and potency. Like that, it will be simpler to predict the moment when the drink will become flat.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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