It’s been a long AF week, but you finally made it to the club to unwind. When it’s time to dorime, the waiter shows up with a price list of alcoholic beverages. The prices choke, but you’re already here, so you proceed to spend an average civil servant’s monthly salary on one bottle of Azul. God, abeg. 

But here’s where it gets weird. Before you even leave the club, you start to feel funny. Your head is spinning, you can’t breathe well, and it escalates to you throwing up everywhere. While this might sound like a premature hangover, you might actually be suffering from alcohol poisoning.

How to Spot Fake Alcohol, According to a Connoisseur

We asked alcohol connoisseur, Ayodele Dada, for tips to help alcohol lovers and nightlife entrepreneurs avoid the latter, and he had these to share.

Expensive doesn’t equal quality

A reduced price will raise immediate red flags and counterfeit alcohol sellers know this. Expect them to sell that fake bottle at the same price as the original. However, it’s important not to let your guard down. This should actually propel you to do a deep check, since you’re spending a fortune. 

Look out for the seal/cork

Image: Vine Pair

If it’s broken, don’t drink it. If the cork pops off too easily and doesn’t snap when you twist to open it, it’s likely not the real deal.

Pay attention to the branding 

Just like Gucci becomes Bucci, Ferragamo becomes Ferragame or Adidas becomes Addadas in fashion, some fake bottles can be spotted by the name on them. Counterfeit alcohol dealers don’t care for brand-building, they want your money at the detriment of your health. So it’s important to check the carton, the bottle and the label closely. If it looks off in the slightest, it might be fake.

Take note of the stopper

How to Spot Fake Alcohol, According to a Connoisseur

Image: YouTube

If you’re keen on knowing on to spot fake alcohol, you should always pay attention to this. Most whisky and vodka bottles have stoppers to help you pour with caution. But if your drink stopper doesn’t work, then it’s fake. This isn’t even up for debate.

The dates are important too

How to Spot Fake Alcohol, According to a Connoisseur

People check expiry dates on drugs, snacks and more, but forget to do the same when it comes to alcohol. Always pay attention to manufacturing and expiry dates if you want to know how to spot fake alcohol. Some counterfeit vendors buy original bottles to repackage their fake alcohol. If the dates seem too far off, you most likely have a recycled bottle on your hands.

Ask for your drinks to be made in front of you

You shouldn’t be far away from the bartender when he’s mixing your cocktails or pouring your shots. Go an extra mile and politely ask to check their bottles for all of the items mentioned above. Chances are the club also missed these things during their quality control checks.

The difference is always in the taste

Alcohol lovers know how their favourite drinks taste because there’s a consistency that can’t be shaken off. Whisky has a unique taste that differs from brand to brand. Same as vodka, tequila and so on. If you catch a difference in the taste, no matter how minute, there’s a problem.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.