Sticky Outside of Liqueur Bottle

We have a bottle of elderflower liqueur, similar to St. Germain’s, and the outside is incredibly sticky. It wasn’t sticky when I bought it, and I’ve actually washed the outside once and it’s still sticky.

We haven’t spilled any on the outside of the bottle - I mean, maybe a drop or two, but the bottle is sticky ALL OVER.

We’ve kept it corked / closed when not in use.

Is the liqueur somehow climbing out of the bottle and evaporating, leaving sugar behind?

Could the alcohol in the liqueur maybe have dissolved some of the label adhesive?

IIRC, the bottle is kind of ornate- could it be that there was some in the crevices after washing that’s migrated outward?

No - I mean, it could’ve, but the bottle is sticky above (and below) the label, so the dissolved glue would’ve had to move up the bottle.

And it isn’t an ornate bottle - it’s a poor man’s St. Germain’s, so it’s just in a standard smooth bottle.

Is it a bottle that’s colored glass? Is it possible there’s a color applied to the outside that has gotten sticky? Has the bottle been stored in other than cool and dry conditions?

Just a guess.

The bottle is clear, and has only been stored in reasonably cool and dry conditions. Worth noting that this isn’t happening with any of the other liquor bottles in the same cabinet - it’s this bottle and this bottle only. I suspect it has something to do with it being a sugary liqueur, as opposed to the rums, vodkas, and gins that otherwise occupy the cabinet, but I’m convinced we haven’t spilled to the extent that the bottle is sticky.

Has the bottle always been stored in a normal, upright position? Unless you’ve got liquid helium in there, I don’t see how it’s possible for the liquid to migrate up the bottle to the opening, regardless of how well it’s corked.

How do you know nothing spilled on the bottle?

This is like a lateral thinking puzzle! My guess is that an octopus from a nearby aquarium squeezes out of his cage every night and goes in search of shrimps, and on his route passes through your kitchen and brushes against the elderflower liqueur bottle. But he returns to his cage by morning so no one’s any the wiser.

The bottle has always been stored upright (well, at least since it entered my possession after buying it at the liquor store). I know nothing spilled on it because, well, it’s in the liquor cabinet and nothing has been spilled in the liquor cabinet.

It does sound like a lateral thinking puzzle.

I will go wash the bottle again with water so it isn’t sticky and report back if I notice it being sticky again.

As a serious suggestion, is it possible the soap eliminates the stickiness only temporarily (by coating it with soap film) but then that soap film evaporates, leaving the sticky surface exposed again?

Wait, never mind, you said you’ll wash it with water.

Are you sure it’s sticky from the liqueur and not something else that got on it?

Maybe try cleaning it with something else (cheap vodka or something similar)?

My guess would be that the cork/seal isn’t 100% and that a tiny bit of liqueur evaporated and then condensed into a few drops that ran down the outside of the bottle.

I’ve had a possibly related experience with a plastic bottle of “natural” plant-oil based insecticide that developed mysterious stickiness/drops on the outside of the bottle.

The right idea but a waste of vodka. Wipe the bottle down with solvent such as paint thinner or rubbing alcohol.

Cheap vodka has the benefit of being easily available (many people are still having problems finding rubbing alcohol) and non-toxic, so better for being near something which will be imbibed.

Another possibility would be to just put the liqueur in another bottle.

Could it be cooking oil? Some surfaces seem to attract it more that others.

I’d mark the outside of the bottle when you put it away to see if any significant volume goes missing.

I’m going to wager that this is it - there’s some evaporation from a not-tight seal that then condenses. Looking closer, I can see droplets on the “label” nearest the neck. Also, the bottle does not have a screw-top, but rather a cork attached to a plastic top - more of a “stopper” than anything, and I bet it’s not a tight seal.

And to another comment, I am slowly moving the liqueur from its current container into a new container, but I get a headache if I try to move too much of it at a time.

Anything that will evaporate from the liqueur (water, alcohol, volatile aromatic compounds) probably isn’t going to be sticky once it condenses.

My money would be on imperfect pouring leaving a small drip on the rim, and this running/spreading down the bottle, possibly slowly.

Something like that makes sense. So does some kind of coating which has turned sticky over time. Or someone else has been in the liquor cabinet that the OP does not know about.

I’d put my money on some getting on the label and not being completely rinsed out, and then migrating from the wet/damp label onto the rest of the bottle.

In the liquor cabinet, close to the bottle, is there a stick?