Thursday, August 18, 2011

Superior Glass

Shrubs are immensely fun and rewarding to make, but I don't think I was quite prepared for how into this hobby I was getting until I realized how the amounts of drinking vinegar I was making was easily overmatching the amount of containers to put all of it in.

Initially, Sarah and I caught a few fun looking little 8 oz bottles on sale at Sur La Table, along with a good sized 38 oz swingtop bale jar. Perfect, I thought. Considering the previous shrub I made was in a bowl with a Tupperware lid, this was clearly a Jeffersonian leap for me(George, not Thomas). I felt like I was now taking this shrub business seriously. Then it came time to bottle.

I have some pieces of advice I'd like to give anyone who hasn't really bottled a homemade product: first, do not forget the headspace. In my inexperience, I neglected to take this into account, and poured way too much, way too fast as Sarah was holding the funnel and watching the valuable liquid gold starting to spew out of the neck of the bottle. Thinking quickly, we were able to get another container under it just in time to keep too much of the shrub out of the sink. Secondly, keep in mind that what may appear on paper as your liquid volume probably won't be by the time you are all finished. That fruit will continue to give off juice and you might just end up with more shrub than you initially figured for.

The point of this is that if you're going to do a large volume of shrub, you're going to need a lot of bottles and jars; in fact, you'll probably need way more than you think you do, so I would like to share with you where I get mine.

Specialty Bottle has a ridiculously wide array of glass products for nearly every conceivable purpose. From swingtop bottles in multiple sizes(I use these for bottling shrub) and swingtop bale jars(for making shrub), to vials, dropper bottles, and other fun items, these folks have it all. If that weren't enough, the prices are very reasonable, the customer service is fantastic, and as a bonus, they are based right here in Seattle, which means I get my gear really quickly. In fact, I just bought another swingtop bale jar bringing the total to four, and another host of 275 ml and 375 ml bottles. 

While you may be able to buy shrubbing gear at any number of places, I urge you to give Specialty Bottle a try. I'm glad I did.

[Full disclosure: I've received no special favors or incentives from Specialty Bottle. They really are just that great.]

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