Does Baileys Go Off?

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Key Takeaways

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Shelf Life: We recommend consuming Baileys within 2 years of manufacture, as its quality declines over time.

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Storage Tips: Store Baileys in a cool, dark place; refrigeration can extend its freshness post-opening.

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Signs of Spoilage: Look for changes in smell, taste, and texture – these indicate the Baileys may have gone off.

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to take inventory of the drinks cupboard and ensure your supply is fit for purpose.

Stocking up on your favourite drinks just before Christmas is an annual tradition (at least in the UK!) and is one that is almost never forgotten.

In my household, one of the spirits that almost exclusively makes an appearance around the festive season is Baileys.

But, because of this seasonal exclusivity, we often have a few half bottles of baileys leftover from the previous year or even the year before that. We regularly found ourselves asking, “Does Baileys go off” or “is this baileys, okay to drink?”. It contains cream so surely baileys goes off right?

Well, we wanted answers.

So the team here at Cooked Best did some digging and wrote up our findings in this lovely article just for you!

What is Baileys?

Baileys Irish cream is an Irish Cream liqueur. It is an alcoholic liqueur flavoured with cream, cocoa and Irish whiskey.

To this day, Baileys is still produced in Ireland at a place called Nangor Road in Dublin itself.

The drink was invented by a man named Tom Jago in 1971. The motivation behind the creation of Baileys was the availability of alcohol from a nearby distillery and the desire to use up surplus cream from a dairy farm. Jago and his team wanted to introduce an alcoholic beverage to the international market that ‘didn’t taste punishing’.

Fun Fact: The first iteration of baileys actually contained Nesquik.

Baileys Irish Cream

What is Baileys Made From?

Baileys Irish cream is made from 6 known ingredients

  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Irish Whiskey
  • Cocoa Extra
  • Refined Vegetable Oil
  • Herbs & Spices

There are likely other ingredients included in the manufacturing process, but we don’t know what they are just yet.

Does Baileys go bad?

Back to the original point of this article: Does Baileys go bad?

The answer is yes, Baileys Irish Cream will eventually go bad. The reason for this is the liqueur contains milk, cream and perhaps other real dairy products that will eventually go bad. The alcohol added to the beverage will help keep the drink fresh for a while, but eventually, it will sour.

A bottle of baileys, both opened or unopened, refrigerated or not refrigerated, will last around 2 years before it starts to spoil.

Does Baileys go off

Is Expired Baileys ok to drink?

Would you drink Milk that has expired?

Would you use any cream that is long past its best before date?

The answer to all these questions is no. Expired Baileys is not ok to drink and could potentially make you ill. Yes, the alcohol will help keep the drink fresh, but eventually (after around 2 years), the dairy within the beverage will sour and go bad.

How can you tell if Baileys has gone bad?

If your bottle of Irish Cream has been opened, unscrew the cap and give it a smell. If this smell is sour or unpleasant, then it is very likely that your Irish cream has gone bad.

If your Irish cream doesn’t smell sour or give off an unpleasant aroma, then the next thing to do would be to pour some out and study the texture. If any form of coagulation has occurred, this indicates that the liquor has spoiled and it should not be consumed.

A good thing to know is that as Irish cream begins to spoil, it will start to turn darker in colour and often it will become much thicker than when it is at its best.

If you bottle of Irish cream is over 2 years old but been stored correctly and is sealed, then you are still going to have to carry out the above process just to make sure it’s fine to drink.

irish Cream martini

How Long does Baileys last/What is the shelf life?

A bottle of Baileys Irish cream will last around 2 years before it starts to spoil. It doesn’t matter if you have stored the liquor correctly, around the 2-year mark the dairy contained within the alcoholic beverage will start to turn and the drink should not be consumed.

How Long does Baileys last once open?

The general consensus is that after being opened, Irish cream will last around 6 months before it starts to go bad. Once opened, make sure to store in the fridge despite what the label says.

How to store Baileys? Proper Irish Cream Storage

Storage is important to ensure the freshness and quality of your Irish Cream.

Here are some tips on how to properly store Baileys Irish Cream:

  • Store away from direct sunlight
  • Store the bottle somewhere where the temperature does not fluctuate.
  • You should look to store your Baileys in a place where temperatures range between 0-25C.
  • Follow the manufacturers storage recommendations on the label of the bottle.
  • Once open, store in the fridge.
  • For the best taste, store your Irish cream in the fridge.
baileys milkshake

Do you need to refrigerate Baileys?

According to the label, no Baileys Irish cream does not need to be refrigerated either opened or unopened. However, if you want to achieve the best drinking experience, we’d recommend storing your bottle in the fridge overnight before you crack it open and enjoy your first mouthful.

FAQ's about Bailey's

What alcohol is in Baileys?

A bottle of baileys measuring 70cl contains a declared 17% alcohol. There are various flavours and combinations that might differ so be sure to check the label to find out what percentage of alcohol your Irish cream contains.

Can I freeze Baileys?

No, we would not recommend you freeze Baileys. If you freeze Irish cream liqueur, the combination of Irish whiskey, dairy and the other ingredients will suffer considerably both from the freezing process and the thawing process.

Can I mix baileys with milk?

You certainly can mix Baileys with milk. Baileys is often used in alcoholic milkshakes to give the beverage a rich, creamy flavour.

Where is baileys Irish cream made?

Baileys is produced in Ireland at a place called Nangor Road in Dublin itself.

How do you serve Baileys?

Baileys or any other brand of Irish cream liqueur is best-served ice cold and on the rocks. It is also often used as a mixer for martinis or as a way to add a boozy element to a hot chocolate or milkshake.

Can Baileys get you drunk?

A bottle of Baileys contains around 17% alcohol so yes, Baileys can indeed get you drunk.

Do you need to shake Baileys?

To ensure that all of the ingredients are completely combined, it’s advised that your shake your Irish cream each time you indulge.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!