09 Dec2012

Disarmingly simple. They look like emptied wine bottles that are being recycled. But in fact, they are oversized versions, done in clear glass, and perfect for water or other beverages, laid out casually on your dinner or picnic table. I love them. Spotted them at Crate & Barrel for about $19 each and bought two bottles to fill gaping spaces in our luggage on a recent trip to New England. The holidays mean increased entertaining, and increased entertaining means bringing out the pitchers, carafes and other crystal and glass… I was surprised to see they were made in Thailand, rather than Poland, where much of the reasonably priced glass at Crate & Barrel seems to be sourced, so part of the reason for obtaining them was to track down the manufacturer, and see if they send their products to the Philippines. They won’t take the place of our favorite water pitchers, here, but I think they will have a very interesting place in our casual meals whether at the holidays or lazing around the beach on a hot summer day. :)



  1. EbbaBlue says:

    What made it more prettier, is how you displayed them. My sister has a “monthly” delivery of this certain Italian wine, and she asked me if I wanted the beautiful empty bottles. She had accumulated more than a dozen, and I took them, but it was just in our cabinet, and my hubby said that I have to throw them away because we just don’t have space for it. … And I did, as much as I hate to, he was correct, I don’t have a thing of displaying them like you do. They were really nice, with a little curve on the bottle neck and with intricate letterings of some sort, and some flowering vine too, embossed like an embroidery. I think she still has this delivery, and if so, mayble I will ask just 2 bottles, and keep them..

    Dec 9, 2012 | 10:13 pm


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  3. Footloose says:

    Sure, those gaping voids in our luggage have to be efficiently filled. Made me laugh out like Santa.

    Some packaging are not meant to be thrown out. This makes me wonder whatever happened to the bottle of cognac (once it was emptied) that my brother-in-law received from his last employer. It came in a presentation box that was meant to impress and he only took it out when I made a visit and only when I showed up stag. Made me feel special since nobody is exempt from not only wanting to be loved but also wanting to be loved alone. It was tiny since it only contained 700 ml but I came across later on that they issued 3 l jeroboams of it (obviously intended for the HK market) which to me is positively gargantuan even in my pleasantest and most exorbitant dreams.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 12:07 am

  4. Isa says:

    I received a present today of these great scented organic liquid soaps that use coconut oil as a base and they were in recycled ginebra bottles! They look great! Square bottles, frosted and really neat looking! Now if only I drank ginebra …

    Dec 10, 2012 | 12:32 am

  5. Avid Thinker says:

    Yes, being disarmingly simple makes it elegant for me. Now I’m inspired to dust clean some of our old bottle wines so that I can use them this Christmas. :=)

    Dec 10, 2012 | 2:02 am

  6. Mimi says:

    Isa: we used to have a regular bote-dyaryo collector who would have dozens of ginebra bottles in his kariton. Maybe ask around to find out where they bring them to get cleaned and source from there?

    Dec 10, 2012 | 2:35 am

  7. PITS, MANILA says:

    there’s a ‘week-end market-meet’ in bangkok called CHATUCHAK, and if anybody is visiting thailand and happens to be in that area, one might ask about these bottles.
    funny how we purchase items just because we happen to love the packaging. i remember olive oil vessels …

    Dec 10, 2012 | 5:18 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Isa, those are from ritual, I purchased three bottles myself of the pomelo scented hand soap. They are very cleverly packaged.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 6:20 am

  9. betty q says:

    And when the Christmas rush is over and you find that you have time on your hands and empty clear wine bottles and jars coming out of your ears, turn them into works of art or even one of a kind hand painted bottles. I can just picture baby ZUBU hand painted on them….oh, didn’t even check archives first if you do already have them.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 7:18 am

  10. ami says:

    Reminds me of restaurants in Europe that serve their water from bottles and not pitchers.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 8:14 am

  11. Josephine says:

    Or recycle by squeezing small citrus into them (I used cumquats from our own bush, but calamansi would be better) then filling up with some sugar or honey or syrup and then the spirit of your choice, I used gin. Cork tightly and wait 1 year. (shake bottle every now and then) I’m currently serving the 2011 crop for the pre-festive season with real vanilla ice cream. The guests either love them, or…go home early.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 9:00 am

  12. betty q. says:

    Josephine…hmmmm…calamancello on the rocks!

    Dec 10, 2012 | 9:12 am

  13. Mom-Friday says:

    Pretty, pretty bottles!
    Lately, I’ve been buying Arizona bottled iced teas only for keeping the nice bottles, hehehe… :) May iced tea na, may bote pa! :p Oh I remember your lovely shaped pitcher with the hole for a handle!

    Dec 10, 2012 | 9:29 am

  14. betty q says:

    Kumquatcello or Gamgwatcello, Josephine!

    Dec 10, 2012 | 10:21 am

  15. Papa Ethan says:

    @Isa: I also love the square bottles of Ginebra San Miguel “cuatro cantos”. It has that quaint provincial charm. The clean, empty bottle can be used for myriad purposes. We use the ginebra as meat tenderizer (about a tablespoon for a kilo of beef) mixed into the marinade, and sometimes as a “final wash” when cleaning smelly, organ meats like tripe. A friend told me that she also uses ginebra in lieu of denatured alcohol for food warmers. Of course, the spirit also finds its way in an occasional home-made gin tonic! =)

    Dec 10, 2012 | 2:27 pm

  16. ConnieC says:

    I brought home cute little bottles ( yogurt containers) from a trip abroad and fitted them with pourers for olive oil and vinegar as salad dressing servers at the dinner table.
    From the aesthetic to the utilitarian, from the kitchen to the garden there are many creative ideas for recycled bottles and containers. In Amsterdam at a bed and breakfast they used inverted identical wine bottles half dug into the ground to line the walkway of a back garden.

    For more neat ideas:


    Dec 10, 2012 | 6:49 pm

  17. atbnorge says:

    I buy Voss sparkling water (800 ml) once in a while because I love the design of the bottle. So I painstakingly scratched off the label on some pieces and used them in my kitchen as liquid diswashing soap container. For olive oil and balsamic vinegar…anything and everything I could think of using the bottle.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 8:55 pm

  18. Isa says:

    Yes! The soaps were from ritual! I thought they were fabulous! And speaking of nice bottles, maybe I’m baduy but I was just at S&R today and they had a rack of Absolut vodka and they were in designer bottles. Very cute – I like the bottle for putting candles in at casual dinners.

    Dec 10, 2012 | 9:57 pm

  19. Footloose says:

    Deaccession is the fancy word for unloading no longer wanted accumulated stuff in which stage I am truly and well into the last few years. ConnieC’s mention of yogurt bottles reminded me though of what sorely tempted me to collect (and fill gaping voids with in my luggage, haha) in China, tiny rough ceramic yogurt jugs. They look like those earthenware pots they use for packaging herbes de Provence to make them look, well, earthly and also allow them to jack up the price a hundredfold of what essentially are worthless weeds.

    Just recently, I ran into this: http://www.lightpublic.com/lighting-articles/milkywave-1664-yogurt-pots-creativity-stunning-light-installation/

    Dec 11, 2012 | 4:07 am

  20. dianne says:

    oooh… i love all sorts of glass bottles. i buy them for no reason at all, maybe because i just like to look at them. but i bought this perfect-kind-of-blue bottle, which i think is supposed to be a vase, and put it on my office desk to remind me of the sea and white sand beaches. pretty kooky ;)

    Dec 11, 2012 | 8:06 am

  21. Lee says:

    @Footloose. Thank you for keeping me in mind during your deaccession two years ago. I am now back working in lovely Dustneyland cramped in a 10 by 20 foot room. This is definitely not a place for starting or keeping a collection but so far I have hoarded 7 lovely Cuban cigar boxes which I get for free from the PX and I am also starting a vintage collection through that evil site called Ebay. So far I got a Kodak Retinette, a Kodak Pony 135, and a Voigtlander Vito. Ebay is worse than cholesterol. Now let me check online for bottles…

    Dec 11, 2012 | 12:17 pm

  22. Footloose says:

    @Lee, You sound as though you are alluding to the first few lines of this:

    But I know exactly what you mean about ebay. I went on a bidding binge for vacuum coffee brewers and pre-Nazi German fountain pens a few years ago. Thankfully my interest waned after a few duds.

    Dec 11, 2012 | 2:54 pm

  23. farida says:

    Hi MM, this is out of topic. But am just getting ready to make ensaimadas so i went to a previous post. I just loved going through the comments and reading all the tips from Sister, bettyq and others. What gets me is that wood used to roll the dough. I am thinking of getting a dowel but how do one roll the dough with it and take the dowel out/off the dough. It would make my life easier as I am just not a good roller. I am thinking of making the ensaimadas to give as gifts this Christmas.
    Thank you.

    Dec 12, 2012 | 6:19 am

  24. Footloose says:

    To MM, I take the liberty of replying to Farida.

    I use a 3/8” dowel cut down to 30” length. Sanded it smooth and wiped it clean with a damp cloth.

    Scale the dough and allow the portions to rest (in the fridge) to lessen resistance when being flattened. You still have to roll out the dough with a rolling pin into an oval. Smear the flattened dough with softened butter. Pinch along the edge, lift a bit and stretch it out all around into a thin film taking care not to break holes in it. Smear some butter on the dowel too. Pick one end of the stretched out dough by slinging it over the dowel. Rotate the dowel to spool and stretch some more the film of dough around it. Free the rope of dough from the dowel by pulling the dowel out like a sword from its sheath.

    Here is how they do it in Spain with a seasonal soundtrack:
    Jump to 3:24 for rolling out the dough; 4:50 for stretching out. They use no dowel, this is a Filipino labor saver.

    Dec 12, 2012 | 9:40 am

  25. ConnieC says:

    Footloose: Thanks for the link . I watched the full 7 minutes of it in total amusement and fun with the guy who did not seem to pay attention to the size of the dough cuts and the whole process in a seemingly “whatever, however, whichever way” attitude.

    And yes, Farida, you do not need a dowel, unless you are a stickler to a very sexy looking ensaimada.

    On my first venture making ensaimaida, I just braided them and they looked nice after they came out of the oven. BettyQ would remember the photos I sent her in appreciation of the dozens of ensaimada molds she gifted me and to show they were put to good use.

    Here’s another link which makes the process seem effortless:

    Dec 12, 2012 | 8:20 pm

  26. betty q. says:

    Hey Fards…am currently in the East Coast and will be back home a few days before Christmas. Had I known you needed a tutorial on ensaymada 101, I would have given you one before I left. I am here in Toronto to give tutorials to my nephews who wanted to learn everything!!!….not an easy task but they are very quick learners! My nephew suggested I start a blog and went ahead with setting me up with WordPress but I am stumped as to what my first post should be….maybe a tutorial on ensaymada complete with tricks of the trade….

    Dec 13, 2012 | 3:56 am

  27. ConnieC says:

    Yes bettyQ looking forward to that blog!!!

    Dec 13, 2012 | 5:24 am

  28. Marketman says:

    Go bettyQ, go! Once you get started, there’s no turning back… :) Then maybe I can retire from blogging once and for all cause I have yours to read… :)

    Dec 13, 2012 | 3:45 pm

  29. hechoayer says:

    I collect red and sparkling wine and champagne bottles. I just put them in different places of our house, including our sala. But yeah, I think we should start using them this season to serve water!

    Dec 14, 2012 | 3:35 am

  30. Sister says:

    You do not need a dowel, wine bottle, or or any rolling pin to make ensaimada. Flattening out with the palms of your hands works well, too. Ultimately the stretching depends on lifting the edges of the dough with you fingers and pulling outwards. If you have patiently developed the gluten in the dough while kneading it will be very elastic.
    I have made ensaimada successfully in the least equipped kitchens. Even mixing and kneading does not require more than your hands. If there is no clean counter top simply wash and dry a cookie sheet and use the back of it to knead and roll out the dough.
    Merry Christmas to you all!

    Dec 15, 2012 | 2:35 am

  31. kristin says:

    love collecting bottles..especially blue ones! but then i also come to like Voss water bottles lately too :) …i used a lot of the blue ones lined around a flower bed near the pool, was amazing to look at…a striking pair to the lavender bush it corralled,and the blue pool water..

    Dec 17, 2012 | 6:33 am

  32. Melissa says:

    I’ve been surprised and delighted at the variety of glass jars (not bottles, I know, but perhaps they’re there) at Robinson’s department store at Galleria, of all places. Give it a shot.

    Dec 19, 2012 | 7:06 pm


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