For as long as I can remember, we had oil and vinegar cruets in my parents homes. As a kid, these ranged from cheap glass to 1940â€™s pressed glass to heavy lead crystal for special occasions. They usually had glass stoppers on top that you could use to regulate the flow of oil or vinegar or soy sauce if you also had that at the table. The glass stoppers inevitably broke well before the bottle did so there were endless sets of cruets with no tops. Once I set up my own home, I was always on the lookout for cruets and in the 1990â€™s New York scene, these were not an easy item to find. Seems they had gone out of styleâ€¦ but I still used tons of oil and vinegar at the tableâ€¦ on salads, added to my soups or lentils/beans, etc. Nevertheless, the hunt for the perfect set of cruets was an eternal one. That is, of course until the Italian restaurant habit of dipping your bread pieces into olive oil and balsamic vinegar became all the rage.
Suddenly, oil and vinegar were back in vogue. And lots of new cruets started appearing. These â€œtwo-in-oneâ€ bottles became more available and I have since acquired several of them. Essentially, the vinegar stays in the smaller compartment that is suspended in the middle of the larger bottle. It has its own pouring spout. The oil is contained in the larger part of the bottle and likewise has its own pouring spout. The rough volume is about 1 part vinegar to 3 or 4 parts oilâ€¦just right for a salad dressing. The cruet in front was a Christmas gift from a cousin of my wife that lives in Italy. It has a fancy compartment with a grape design that holds the vinegarâ€¦amazing how they get those glass grapes into the bottleâ€¦ I put some nice red wine vinegar into that bottle. The more modern and sleek bottle in the back holds some good balsamic vinegar. Instead of glass stoppers, they use corks so while more practical, you still have to be careful as the bottles themselves are still rather delicate and breakable. But I like them…so practical, useful and “eye candy” all at the same time.