As the Christmas season approaches, shoppers across the country will be stocking up on their festive booze, with a potential £2.2bn to be spent on alcohol in supermarkets¹.
Following a +150% increase in interest for ‘how to store spirits’ last month², Edinburgh whisky brand Tri Carragh shares top tips on how shoppers and gift receivers can take care of their spirit collection correctly, as well as a downloadable ‘dos and don’ts’ guide to alcohol storage:
- Keep it cool
Over the past month, Google searches for the term ‘how to keep drinks cold’ have increased by +25%³, reinforcing that maintaining the correct temperature of a spirit is paramount. Spirit expert Ryan McCaffery at Tri Carragh comments: “Store your spirits in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations. While some spirits like vodka and gin are more suited to refrigeration, whisky and rum prefer a slightly higher storage temperature to retain their unique characteristics.”
- Seal tightly
Oxygen can be detrimental to the quality of spirits. With this in mind, Tri Carragh say making sure the bottle caps or corks are securely fastened to prevent air from entering is vital. If you’ve enjoyed a portion of your spirit, consider transferring it to a smaller bottle, such as a decanter, to minimise the air-to-liquid ratio in the original bottle.
- Upright or lying down?
Understanding the optimal position for storage is key. With an average of 390 searches a month for the term ‘alcohol storage’⁴, it’s clear that this is viewed as an essential factor in maintaining spirit quality. Scotch expert Ryan highlights that whisky and rum are best stored upright to avoid cork deterioration. At the same time, wines and some liqueurs benefit from lying down to moisten the cork. Vodka and gin can be stored in either position.
- Avoid strong odours
Spirits, especially whisky, are highly susceptible to absorbing odours from their surroundings. Storing them away from strong-smelling substances such as spices, cleaning products, and perfumes to preserve their flavours is ideal. Scotch specialist Ryan highlights that spirits, particularly whisky, are sensitive to odours due to their porous nature.
- Think about humidity
Maintaining moderate humidity levels in your storage area is important. Spirits can be sensitive to extreme dryness, which can cause corks to dry out and allow air to seep in. Tri Carragh suggest using a humidity monitor to keep conditions ideal – this will alert you through a notification that humidity levels are too high.
In the past month, Google searches for the term ‘what temperature does alcohol evaporate?’ have seen a +450% increase⁵, potentially down to the unpredictable weather in the UK.
- Rotate collection
If you’re a spirit enthusiast with an extensive collection, periodically rotating your bottles is recommended. This prevents sediment from settling and helps maintain consistent quality.
Ryan adds: “As you prepare for a season of festivities and gift-giving, remember that the care you take in storing your spirits can make all the difference. With a surge in home entertaining and an increase in the gifting of alcohol sets, these tips will ensure that you or the person you’re treating will preserve the quality of flavour of the chosen spirit the best you can.
“If you’re gifting a special spirit to a loved one this festive season, it might be a nice idea to write a small note on how to care for that specific spirit correctly as part of the present – this shows that you’ve been extra thoughtful with your gift!”
To learn more about how to store whisky and other spirits correctly, as well as access to a downloadable ‘dos and don’ts of alcohol storage’ guide, please visit: https://www.tricarragh.com/how-to-store-whisky/