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Practical yet Attractive Uses for narrow-necked glass bottles?
December 5, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I have a few old glass bottles which I've cleaned, de-labeled, and given airtight cork tops. They're attractive bottles, about 750ml each with narrow tops, and I'd like a practical way to show them off ideally in the kitchen. I already used one to infuse olive oil and other to hold my dried dried beans rather than leaving them tied up in the pantry. What else can do with them?
posted by The Whelk to Home & Garden (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can get a plastic drink pourer for one for dishwashing liquid. It'll get clogged up and make you annoyed when you do dishes and have to wait for soap to slowly trickle out, but it's pretty so I keep using it. I must really like that bottle.
posted by artychoke at 1:46 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vinegars?
posted by Night_owl at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2012


liquers, of course. Homemade limoncello, infused vodkas, etc.
posted by peachfuzz at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can store frying oil in them; I re-use canola oil a few times before disposing of it, and it goes from clearish-yellow to a lovely amber hue before it's time to switch to new oil.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2012


I put a drink pourer in one and keep my olive oil in it. Very handy and easy to use.
posted by raisingsand at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grains: rice, millet, couscous, quinoa, etc. I have that stuff spilling out of bags all over my cabinets at any given time.
posted by something something at 1:50 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Came to say infused vodkas. We have friends who are fiends about this, and they are SO yummy!

We grow herbs in our garden and I gave her a bunch of savory herbs. She infused them in vodka, and it was awesome in bloody marys.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:50 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rice? Quinoa? Sugar? Flour?

If you have any Mardi Gras beads from trips to New Orleans, they look nice stuffed in these types glass bottles. My fiance did this once.
posted by radioamy at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2012


Bottles of lychee and hot pepper-infused vodkas taste great and look pretty.
posted by griphus at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I generally use those guys to hold a couple roses or modern-looking branches.
posted by zoomorphic at 1:57 PM on December 5, 2012


Maple syrup?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2012


Infused skittle vodka.
posted by elizardbits at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Re: the dishwashing liquid... pretty, but potentially dangerous if you're going to be grabbing glass with slippery soapy hands.
posted by carmicha at 2:08 PM on December 5, 2012


Just to add: once you add something to those bottles, I recommend getting some small led lights to make those bottles shine. The light doesn't need to be super bright as long as the lights are placed under the bottles. The real challenge is finding a nice way to hide the power cord.
posted by Revort at 2:11 PM on December 5, 2012


If they're colored and maybe a bit frosted, in terms of transparency, shove a string of white christmas lights in there and power it up.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:11 PM on December 5, 2012


Make your own elderflower cordial, or something similar.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:12 PM on December 5, 2012


Are you feeling crafty? If so, this is a question that is crying out for pinterest. What those people can do with glass containers will blow your mind. Here are their results for upcycling glass bottles and jars. Here are some other good craft ideas. I've also seen people dye jars a bunch of different colors and display them, which I think looks really pretty. Here is a tutorial.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:16 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instead of building traditional shipbottles you should do tiny dioramas of scenes from teen wofl.
posted by elizardbits at 2:24 PM on December 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


not in the kitchen but... mouthwash
posted by pyro979 at 2:40 PM on December 5, 2012


You could go super creepy and bottle weird stuff like teeth or LEGO figurine heads and place them nonchalantly around your kitchen like they're not filled with weird stuff at all just to see what people do.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:56 PM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


I use glass bottles for:

- storing grains (rice, cornmeal, oatmeal, wheatberries, couscous --- everything but flour) and beans and smaller pasta.
- storing other dry goods: chocolate chips, nuts, dried peppers, etc. It's easier to pour them out of a bottle into a measuring cup than from a crumpled package.
- storing and serving infused liquors (I tend to do the actual infusing in wide-necked jars, for the ease of removing the infusion ingredients)
- dish soap, w/ a liquor spout. It will clog less if you thin down the soap in the bottle with some water, which makes it pour more smoothly.
- chilling and serving water, homemade punch, lemonade, or premixed cocktails at parties.
- similarly, when I have dinner guests, I like to put out a bottle or two of chilled water. I usually have a wine or champagne bottle of water stashed in the fridge, chilling.
- storing simple syrup, ginger syrup, fruit syrups, and so on. One of my Christmas presents this year will be bottles of homemade chocolate syrup along with a bundle of straws and a recipe for making chocolate milk.
- mixing and storing homemade salad dressing
- homemade bath salts and body scrub

I also keep some craft supplies in glass bottles, which looks pretty and makes it easy to see what I have on hand: buttons, beads, glitter.

I often make dry mixes for homemade baked goods ahead of time so I can throw in an egg and some butter and have [cornbread/beer bread/coffeecake] in minutes without having to measure everything out. Those store nicely in a clean bottles, and you can use a Sharpie to write directly on the glass. (When you want to reuse the bottle, the Sharpie ink will scrub off with a sponge and dish soap.) Note down what it is, what you need to add, and the baking temp & time [example: "corn bread: add 1 egg, 1 c. milk, 2 TBS melted butter; 425F ~20 min"], and you won't even have to pull out the recipe.

One year for Christmas, I saved all my Scrumpy bottles (which look just like big beer bottles) and packaged the dry mix for this beer bread [self-link] in them. I printed up instruction labels, attached 'em to the Scrumpy bottles, and packed each big beer bottle of beer-bread mix in a bag with a small bottle of beer to add to the mix. The recipient just needed to add butter or oil. It was a big hit!

This winter, I'm going to fill a wine bottle with ice-melt salt for our front porch. There's a big bucket in the (locked) shared hallway, but sometimes I just need to sprinkle a handful on our steps and I don't want to dig out a key to do it. In our tiny front hall, a small wine bottle will be a lot handier than a big bag or bucket of salt.
posted by Elsa at 2:58 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can get a plastic drink pourer for one for dishwashing liquid. It'll get clogged up and make you annoyed when you do dishes and have to wait for soap to slowly trickle out, but it's pretty so I keep using it. I must really like that bottle.

Like Elsa says, thin the soap with water!

I suggest buying some gorgeous peppercorns, ostensibly to refill your pepper grinder but also because they are gorgeous.
posted by kate blank at 3:33 PM on December 5, 2012


Re: the dishwashing liquid... pretty, but potentially dangerous if you're going to be grabbing glass with slippery soapy hands.
posted by carmicha at 4:08 PM on December 5
[+] [!]

At first I thought, "That's true! I'm doing a really dangerous thing! And I'm someone who's too dumb to have figured out to water down the dishwashing liquid!" (Good idea! Thanks!). But then I realized that I'm already washing glass and sharp knives, so the extra bottle isn't going to add too much danger.
posted by artychoke at 3:48 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have simple syrup in one of mine
posted by couchdive at 4:42 PM on December 5, 2012


At first I thought, "That's true! I'm doing a really dangerous thing! [...] But then I realized that I'm already washing glass and sharp knives, so the extra bottle isn't going to add too much danger.

Yeah, I'm the droppin'-est person you're going to talk to today, but having slippery soap on a slippery glass bottle wasn't a problem for me. I drop actual glasses and plates much more often than I drop the glass soap bottle. For that matter, I drop the plastic soap bottle more often*. I'm not sure I ever dropped the glass soap bottle.

*Full disclosure: I don't use a glass soap bottle right now, mostly because my husband doesn't dig it and not at all because it was inconvenient or dangerous in my experience.
posted by Elsa at 5:01 PM on December 5, 2012


Hummingbird Feeder. Just did this a couple of weeks ago with slightly smaller bottle and I've got lots of regular visitors.
posted by islander at 5:34 PM on December 5, 2012


Depending on what you like about them and on just how much work you want to put into them, I recently saw the results of this done to Grey Goose vodka bottles, and I thought they were fantastic, both aesthetically and functionally.

It bugs the crap out of me that the instructable refers to the "crystal structure" of glass, when glass is by its very definition the opposite kind of solid from crystalline, but oh well.
posted by solotoro at 6:32 AM on December 6, 2012


Get those water absorbing colored beads (I don't know what they are really called). I got mine from the dollar store. You just add water and they expand and look pretty, and come in different colors. Not really useful like some of the food suggestions above, but if you just want decoration, and something that the light can come through, it looks great.
posted by photoexplorer at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2012


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