Think twice before you toss your empty bottles into the recycling bin. You may save yourself a trip to the store and some cash if you rinse out the bottle and easily stash it away for future uses. Be mindful. A few bottles are wonderful: if they start manifesting into a collection simply to capture dust in the cupboards, then not so wonderful.
Celebrate the cycles of the seasons and bounty of your garden by snipping a few buds or herbs and pair them with your redeux bottles (favorite wine, tequila, or olive oil bottles are some examples.) Nothing like dining à deux with a centerpiece that you designed yourself.
Infuse your own vinegar or oils with your recycled bottles. I prefer a little kick in my vinegar so I add peppers to the vinegar. First pierce the peppers and dehydrate. Poke them into their new vessel with your favorite vinegar.
Since we make a whole lot of pancakes in our nest, I started making my own vanilla extract. First split the fresh vanilla bean or beans if you are concocting in a large bottle. Pour vodka or bourbon, either choice of grain alcohol work well, into an admired bottle that you couldn’t part with and add fresh slivered vanilla beans to the mix. After a few months, your brew will be ready. Since we usually use vanilla extract in baking, the alcohol cooks off and you are left with an amazing vanilla taste—not flavor.
Odd shaped bottles not only look chic, they can be practical with a votive candle and some rocks to set an auspicious mood.
Don’t forget about the matches–they need a look too!
One of my favorite bottles is a green organic beer bottle that I enjoyed with a friend at a café. I asked the waiter if I may take it home with me and now it functions as a water bottle when friends come over for some coffee. Always serve coffee with some water to rehydrate your guest.