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

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Is it possible for tonic water to become bad? How can you tell whether tonic water has gone bad, and how should tonic water be stored?

So, what exactly is tonic water?

The bitter flavor of tonic water is due to an element known as quinine. Quinine, obtained from the bark of the Chichona Tree, originally gained fame as a malaria treatment.

Tonic Water

Gin’s favorite companion was once used to treat one of history’s most heinous illnesses!

Quinine was also used to effectively lower fevers.

The quantity of quinine in tonic water now is substantially lower than when it was used to combat malaria. Sweeteners are sometimes added to tonic water to offset the quinine’s harshness.

Tonic water differs from sparkling water or seltzer water. Sparkling water is merely normal carbonated water. Seltzer water is mineral-infused carbonated water. Quinine is only found in tonic water.

Is it possible for tonic water to spoil?

Tonic water does expire. However, it has a very long shelf life. Unopened tonic water may be kept for approximately a year beyond its expiration date, whereas opened tonic water can be kept for about a week. Tonic water may survive an extraordinarily long period, even years, if properly preserved and unopened.

How Long Is Tonic Water Good For?

The label tonic water has a date. It’s usually the best-by date, which tells you how long the product should be at peak quality.

Of course, an unopened tonic water bottle will be safe to drink and sparkle for considerably longer. You may safely expect that the beverage will keep for at least a few months after the expiration date on the package, if not longer.

The bottle can last for years if the seal is entirely intact. A brief web search yields a slew of anecdotes of people who opened tonic water 3-5 years over its best-by date and found it to be perfectly OK.

When you open the bottle, everything changes dramatically. The tonic water will keep at room temperature for a day, maybe two. If you put it in the fridge, it will last a few days.

And by “good,” I mean it will keep its flavor and the bubbliness you desire.

It will lose its carbonation and turn flat and watery after a few days, much like a soda. It will still be safe to consume, but without one of its most crucial attributes, you will most likely dismiss it. In other words, it won’t work in a gin and tonic (even with grenadine) or any other cocktail, for that matter.

Tonic (Unopened)Best By + 1 yearBest By + 1 year
Tonic (Opened)1 – 2 days3 – 5 days

How Long Will Tonic Water Keep Outside?

When unopened and properly stored, tonic water can last 6-12 months from the “Best By” date. Because it is sealed, the air is kept out of the bottle, allowing it to keep its taste and carbonation for an extended period. Tonic water is safe to drink even after the “Best By” date.

When opened, tonic water only lasts a few days and should not be left out. Bottles of tonic water that have been opened will last 1-2 days before becoming flat and losing flavor. While it is still safe to drink, the flavor is awful, and most people discard it.

How Long Will Tonic Water Last In The Fridge?

If unopened, tonic water will keep in the fridge for 9-12 months beyond the Best By date. Tonic water lasts the same length, whether stored in the fridge or outdoors.

When opened, storing tonic water in the refrigerator will keep it fresh for 3-5 days. It has a short shelf life because the trapped carbon dioxide escapes and converts into air bubbles. The cold weather will slow this procedure, but it will most likely be completed within the first five days.

How Long Can You Keep Tonic Water in the Freezer?

Tonic water will be safe to consume for 9-12 months if stored in the refrigerator.

It is not recommended, however, to store sealed tonic water in the freezer. Freezing tonic water causes it to swell in the bottle, potentially causing it to rupture. When frozen tonic water is thawed, it loses its carbonation and flavor. Tonic water should be kept in the refrigerator.

To summarize, unopened tonic water may be stored in a dry, dark area for a long period. Once opened, its quality swiftly degrades, losing flavor and carbonation.

How can you tell if your tonic water has gone bad?

Tonic water generally does not go bad, making it safe to eat. It would be OK for a while unless the pollutants found their way into the bottle.

If the bottle appears to be ancient, the tonic is likely still excellent. Or else, because we humans have the finest senses, one may quickly detect if the quality has deteriorated by utilizing one’s sense of smell. If it smells bad, it’s not a good indicator.

You may also examine it using a magnifying glass. Take a glass, pour tonic water into it, and check whether the color changes. If it has become yellow, it is time to replace the bottle of tonic water.

If the fragrance and appearance are satisfactory, you may proceed to taste it to choose whether to keep or reject it. The product cannot be ingested if the bottle has a split, is misshaped, or the seal has broken.

If the container has rusted or you’ve discovered a sign indicating a leak, it’s obvious that the quality of the tonic water has been affected.

What about the bottle that has been opened and refrigerated?

Storing the tonic water in the fridge helps it retain its great flavor for a few more days, ensuring that the bubbly nature remains. However, it loses its bubbly quality with time because it cannot be closed so securely.

So, when making a gin or cocktail, try a taste before combining; otherwise, it will be wasted, and you will feel bad. If the flavor isn’t to your liking, the only choice is to toss it.

What happens when tonic water expires?

Everything changes the instant radically you blow open the bottle.

The tonic water will keep at room temperature for a day or two, maybe longer. If you store it in the fridge, it will last a few days.

Furthermore, when I say “great,” I mean that it will keep its flavor and the bubbliness you prefer.

After a few days, it will lose its carbonation and become flat and watery in appearance, just like soda.

It will still be safe to ingest, but you will most likely discard it because it lacks one of its most important properties.

This implies that gin, tonics (even when spiked with grenadine), and other mixed cocktails will not taste as wonderful as they should.

How to Store Unopened Tonic Water Properly

Tonic water that has not been opened can be stored at room temperature in the pantry.

Unopened tonic water will stay at ambient temperature for the same time as it will remain refrigerated.

When you want a tonic water cocktail, it’s best to have your tonic water cooled ahead of time.

When keeping unopened tonic water at room temperature, store it somewhere dark, dry, and resistant to temperature variations. A closed pantry or cellar are excellent choices.

Proper Open Tonic Water Storage Tips

Tonic water that has been opened must be refrigerated. When refrigerated, tonic water can survive approximately a week, but it must be destroyed within a day when left out at room temperature.

Before refrigerating your tonic water, make sure it is firmly sealed. The longer the carbonation remains, the better the seal.

Pour out your tonic when it has lost its fizz.

Is it possible to freeze tonic water?

Tonic water may be frozen as long as adequate space between the mouth and the bottle. When water freezes, it expands, and a full bottle of tonic water may burst.

Tonic water will lose flavor and carbonation when thawed. Hence it is not recommended to freeze tonic water. Instead, if the tonic water has already been opened, store it in a cabinet or the refrigerator.

What Should You Do If Your Tonic Goes Flat?

What if you realize your tonic is no longer bubbly? So, if it’s still in good condition and hasn’t been spoiled, you might be able to utilize it!

  • Because this liquid refreshment is an excellent natural cleaner, try using it to clean various surfaces and windows.
  • If it’s still edible, use it to treat muscular cramps (even though the drink lost its fizziness)
  • Some think it’s beneficial to revive plants by watering them.
  • This type of liquid refreshment can be used to remove stains.

If the product is faulty, it is best to discard it.


Tonic water is a delightful drink that may be used in place of ordinary water. However, it will not last forever! Remember these storage methods to optimize your supply and avoid waste.


Editorial Staff

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