Tag Archives: bottles

Glass Bottles with Stoppers

glass bottles with stoppers

Wares of Knutsford’s glass bottles range includes a number of decorative options glass bottles with stoppers. These are great for housing your home made drinks or cosmetics to be given as gifts, but can also be used around the home.

Sand art glass bottles with stoppers

Making sand art bottles is one of those charming, retro style hobbies, a bit like quilting, that’s seeing a return to popularity. Their use can be just ornamental but they can also form attractive souvenirs of days out at the beach or holidays. Pretty sand art bottles are easy enough to make, even for children – all you need is a selection of transparent glass bottles and sand in colours of your choice.

Make sure your bottle is clean and completely dry. You can use a plastic funnel or make your own by rolling a sheet of paper into a cone and taping it to hold the shape.

Insert your funnel into the bottle neck and use a teaspoon to add your sand gradually. If the sand clogs in the funnel, jiggle it gently and use the handle of the teaspoon to loosen it if necessary. Build up your layer of sand bit by bit.

When you think you have enough for your first layer, you can start making your stripes flat or diagonal. For horizontal stripes just tap your bottle gently on the table top to make sure the sand sits flat within it and move on, carefully, to your next layer. For diagonal stripes, tilt the bottle to one side and tap it so the sand lies diagonally across it. Keep the bottle at this angle while you add further layers, aiming the funnel at the empty corner.

Keep adding your layers to the top of the bottle, avoiding too much movement of the bottle or the colours could start to mix and ruin your neat layers. Insert the bottle top, using a little hot glue to secure if you prefer.

Coloured water in glass bottles with stoppers

In a similar style, you can fill your bottles with coloured water and use them for simple but effective decoration – a row of three in different but toning colours looks neat. Simply choose some pretty bottles and fill to the level of your choice with tap water. You can use food colouring or a special dye used by florists to colour the water in vases, added a drop at a time until you reach a hue you are pleased with. Make sure the stopper is secure to avoid accidents!

Share and Enjoy


Glass Bottles for Cordials

cordial bottles

Summer has finally arrived and with it picnics, barbecues and outdoor drinking and dining of all kinds. Wares of Knutsford’s range includes a variety of bottles for cordial, lemonade, punch and summery cocktails galore


Swing top cordial bottles

While cordial bottles can be found in various styles, the swing top bottle is appropriately traditional in this case. The Wares of Knutsford range includes a number of different shapes and sizes of swing top bottles, and even different colours. Stoppers are in ceramic or resin and the bottles can be bought singly or in packs.

Take a look at the rest of Wares of Knutsford’s bottle range, which includes various decorative and practical options in glass and plastic and with lids including cork stoppers and screw caps.

Summer cordial bottles

A wonderfully refreshing alternative to hot tea in summer

  • 6 teabags
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 10 sprigs fresh mint
  • 300ml orange juice (ideally freshly squeezed)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Pour 1.2 litres of boiling water over the teabags, sugar and mint springs and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a jug and leave to cool, then stir in the orange and lime juices. Keep in a sealed bottle in the fridge and serve over plenty of ice cubes with slices of orange and lime and some more fresh mint to garnish.

Lemon, vanilla and elderflower cordial

A light, floral flavoured concentrate that makes a refreshing drink when diluted with water 1 to 5, but can also be used to make creamy desserts such as fool or syllabub.

  • 1kg caster sugar
  • 2 lemons, halved and with a strip of peel reserved (unwaxed, organic fruits are best here)
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • 1 tablespoon powdered citric acid or vitamin C
  • 30-40 elderflowers, rinsed

Put the sugar, lemons, vanilla pod and the citric acid or vitamin C powder into a large saucepan with 2 litres of water. Slowly bring to the boil and keep boiling rapidly to reduce the liquid by about half before removing the pan from the heat.

Put the elderflowers into the pan and stir through, then allow the mixture to cool completely. Strain the cordial through a sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin cloth into a clean saucepan. Stir in the vanilla seeds. Add a strip of lemon peel and the vanilla pod to your bottle then fill to the top with the cordial and store in the fridge.

Share and Enjoy


Glass Bottles for Storing Juice

glass juice bottles

There are lots of different ways to use seasonal fruit and vegetables, from making jams and chutneys to preserving them in oil or even turning them into wine. One of the simplest and most enjoyable options is to make fresh juices. Not only does this provide you with a healthy drink packed full of vitamins but allows you to taste produce at its very freshest.

Using glass juice bottles

Making fresh juice is a simple process that can be carried out in a number of ways. Special presses can be used for squeezing juice from citrus fruits such as oranges and limes. Some of these are motorised to make the task even easier. Fruit and vegetables can be pulped in a food mixer or blender to create refreshing drinks. Alternatively opt for a juicing machine which extracts all the juice, separating it from the fibrous husks, skins and seeds. Once you have created your juice, storing it correctly is very important. Fresh juices can quickly become discoloured from exposure to air, so decanting them into a glass juice bottle to keep in the fridge is a great option. Glass juice bottles for storing juice that can be tightly sealed with a twist-off lid are ideal to ensure the quality, flavour and appearance of your juice remain in optimum condition.

Recipes for your glass juice bottles

Juicing is a great way to make the most of a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable. Plain apple or orange juices are fresh and simple but there are lots of other options to try. Soft berries such as blackberries, blueberries or raspberries make refreshing juices packed with anti-oxidants. Mango or pineapple have a lovely exotic tropical flavour, especially with a twist of lime juice for extra zing. Apples form the basis for many juices as they have a lovely sweet flavour. Adding banana will give your juice a thicker texture and make it more like a smoothie, particularly if you also add a scoop of natural yoghurt. You can also make some fantastic juices from vegetables. Carrot, cucumber and celery is a popular option, whilst using fresh raw beetroot will give your juice an earthy sweetness. Peppers, spinach, and even fresh ginger can all be included for an extra boost of health and flavour.

Making juices from fruit and vegetables is a lovely way to make the most of the very best seasonal produce. Using bottles for storing juice will keep your drinks fresh and help them to last longer.

Share and Enjoy


Small Blue Glass Bottles

small blue glass bottles

Glass bottles are available in a huge choice of colours and styles with blue being among the most popular. Pale blue bottles have a fresh, pretty feel whilst darker blue glass is perfect for when you want to make a bold statement.

Using small blue glass bottles in aromatherapy

Small blue glass bottles have long been associated with medicines and healthcare products, with dark glass vials traditionally used by apothecaries and pharmacists for the storing of custom-blended tinctures. This idea is still popular today and this type of small blue bottle is frequently used for essential oils. Aromatherapy is the practice of using these highly concentrated plant oils to improve health and wellness. For example, lavender oil is regarded as having a relaxing, calming effect whilst eucalyptus can be beneficial for clearing congestion if you are suffering from a cold. The oils are extremely potent in their distilled form and so are usually either diluted in water, for example in the bath, or blended with carriers oils such as almond for a less concentrated effect. Storing these oils in dark bottles prevents them losing concentration due to exposure to sunlight. Small 10ml bottles are ideal for the individual oils themselves, whilst larger 50ml bottles are extremely useful for storing mixtures or oils that have already been blended with carrier oils.

Other uses for small blue glass bottles

These appealing bottles can also be used for a number of other purposes around the home. Rectangular blue bottles with corks resemble old-fashioned pharmacy flasks and make unusual containers for bath salts or bubble bath. They look fabulous on a shelf or windowsill and will complement many bathroom colour schemes perfectly. Larger blue glass bottles are also extremely useful in the kitchen. Fill them with oil and vinegar and keep on the dining table as eye-catching condiment containers. Kilner clip top bottles have a charming vintage feel and make lovely presentation bottles for homemade cordials or lemonade. Alternatively use them as stylish water bottles when hosting a dinner party. Smaller versions make pretty wedding favours and add a quirky touch to a retro-themed wedding.

From shimmering pale turquoise to the deepest dramatic cobalt, blue glass bottles are an attractive addition to your home. Whether you are looking for a small blue bottle for your essential oils or larger ones for other beauty products, you are sure to find the right bottles at Wares.

Share and Enjoy


Medicine Bottle Suppliers

empty medicine bottles

Wares of Knutsford originally became known as sellers of jam jars and other preserving equipment. Since then their range has expanded and they are now as popular as kitchenware, traditional household goods and medicine bottle suppliers.

Uses for empty medicine bottles

The Wares range includes sizes from miniature 5ml bottles up to 1l, in clear, green and traditional amber glass. They are topped by Bakelite screw lids, plastic screw tops and glass dropper tops. Customers have used them for a number of aromatherapy or pharmaceutical products, particularly to house their home made endeavours.

There are various pack sizes of empty medicine bottles available, from three bottles up to bulk buy packs of 36. These are particularly good value when you work out that Wares of Knutsford operates a flat delivery charge for any size of order.

Filling empty medicine bottles

Elderberries are packed with wonderful ingredients that make an excellent winter cough syrup. Elderberry trees grow wild quite often and the fruit ripens in late summer to autumn. Although more traditionally used in wine making, this syrup is easy to make and doesn’t require huge quantities of berries.

Each 250ml of berry juice will take:

5 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
5 peppercorns
1 slice fresh ginger
1 star anise
50ml runny honey

Destalk the elderberries – this is easier with a fork than your hands.

Add them to a heavy based saucepan and add enough water to cover all berries. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes so that the berries are soft, then mash with a fork or potato masher to release the maximum amount of juice. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Strain the berry juice through a clean muslin cloth, pushing the remaining pulp down to make sure all the juice is extracted. You may want to strain the juice a second time for a finer consistency.

Add the honey and spices to the juice and return to the saucepan, then simmer for about 15 minutes more. Set aside to cool. Strain out the spices.

Once completely cool, pour the syrup through a funnel into sterilised amber glass bottles – the darker glass will help to preserve the syrup.

The sealed syrup can be kept in a refrigerator for up to three months and take a teaspoon every three hours if you are suffering with a cold or the flu. Alternatively, use as a cordial and dilute with water every day as a preventative measure.

Share and Enjoy


Handmade Mothers Day Gifts

mothers day gifts

Mothering Sunday comes around on March 30th this year, so don’t get caught out and turn up with a rather limp bunch of flowers that, to everyone’s embarrassment, were obviously a last minute petrol station forecourt purchase. Personalised mothers day gifts don’t have to be a big production but will be highly prized by the grateful recipient. Wares of Knutsford has some great material for coming up with your own personalised Mothers Day gifts.

Culinary themed handmade Mothers Day gifts

Start with one of Wares of Knutsford’s 750ml triple bottle in one sets. Three 250ml bottles are shaped to stack perfectly on top of each other, topped with corks. How you fill yours will depend how well you know your audience, but it’s fair to assume that busy mothers might appreciate a triple stack of colourful, flavoured vodkas to wind down with at the end of the day. If that seems inappropriate, how about some flavoured cooking oils or homemade bubble bath and other cosmetics?

Flavoured vodka recipes for handmade Mothers Day gifts

Cranberry vodka

  • 250g cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1litre of vodka
  • 175g caster sugar

Prick each cranberry with a pin to burst the skin and allow flavour to infuse. Load the cranberries with the sugar into a large, sterilised jar with an airtight lid. Fill the jar with vodka to the top and allow to infuse in a cool, dark place, giving the jar a quick shake every day. After two weeks, strain the contents and pour through a funnel into one segment of your triple bottle and seal.

Christmas pudding vodka

  • 600g mixed dried fruit – raisins, currants and sultanas
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons allspice
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • Finely grated zest of two oranges and two lemons
  • 1.5 litres of vodka

Add the fruit, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, citrus zests and vodka to a large bowl or jar. Cover the top as tightly as you can and allow to infuse in the fridge for three days, stirring daily. Strain the contents through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into one segment of your triple bottle.

Spiced orange vodka

  • Finely grated zest of six oranges
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 litre of vodka
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods

Add all the ingredients to a large, sterilised, lidded glass jar and shake well to combine. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking every day, for one week or until the sugar has fully dissolved. Strain and decant into your last bottle segment.

Share and Enjoy


Stylish Empty Drinks Bottles

empty drinks bottles

It may be the budget choice but a bottle of Liebfraumilch hardly screams style and sophistication at a dinner party. However drinks bottle suppliers have been catching on, coming up with a selection of delectably presented versions of pretty standard drinks that will look great in any glass fronted cabinet or taking centre stage on a retro bar cart. Consider the bottles used for Dodd’s Gin, Crystal Head Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin or Don Julio Blanco, for example. See also Gin Mare, St Germain elderflower liqueur, Chambord Raspberry Liquor or Reyka Vodka.

You may not be able to stretch to the cost of some of these but you can add a bit of class to your own drinks provisions by decanting your more average spirits or liqueurs into attractive bottles.

Empty drinks bottles from Wares of Knutsford

The Wares range of empty drinks bottles incorporates both plastic and glass bottles in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Brightly coloured versions are ideal for making soft drinks look more appealing to non-drinkers or children, while there are classic shapes of beer, cider and wine bottles that can be used to house home brewed efforts or to disguise a less than illustriously labelled original. Consider adding a neatly designed label to rival professional drinks bottle suppliers.

Bottles are available singly or in value for money packs, and Wares of Knutsford’s delivery charge is the same no matter how many you order, allowing you to take advantage of economies of scale. Delivery is swift and all bottles are carefully packed to make sure they arrive safely.

Home made lemonade for empty drinks bottles

Give your crisp, sweet homemade refreshments a nostalgic, retro air by presenting them in swing stopper bottles. It’s easy and homely but with a natural sophistication to it. The key to home made lemonade is in the sugar syrup.

To make six servings:

  • 1 cup each of water and sugar
  • Juice of six lemons
  • 4 cups of cold water

To make the sugar syrup, add the one cup of sugar and one cup of water to a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring regularly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool.

Mix the sugar syrup, lemon juice and cold water together until thoroughly combined and serve in a tall jug with plenty of ice and a few slices of lemon.

Increase or reduce the quantities of lemon or sugar to taste if you prefer a sweeter or sharper drink. Furthermore, try using cold, sparkling water instead of plain for a fizzy version or add the juice of a handful of raspberries to make pink lemonade.

Share and Enjoy


Crafters Pack Glass Bottles with Corks

small bottles with corks

Wares of Knutsford has recently introduced a new range of value for money starter packs for crafters. These feature 18 bottles – six each of three different shapes and sizes of mini bottles with corks or other caps.

Crafters Starter Pack 2 – 18 small bottles with corks

This second starter pack includes three elegant styles of small bottles with corks. There are six Gladstone bottles in 50ml size, six 40ml Esmeralda bottles and six 100ml Ravello bottles, all stopped with tapered corks. Our customers have come up with an amazing variety of cooking, crafting and cosmetic uses for these bottles.

Remember that Wares of Knutsford’s delivery charge is the same for any quantity of order, so it makes sense to buy in bulk. Our huge range of bottles and jars includes sizes, shapes and colours for any purpose, available singly or in value for money bulk packs.

Making your own bath oil for small bottles with corks

These tall, slim bottles are a great shape for oils and the mini bottles with corks are ideal to present as gifts, with a ribbon and pretty labelling. By making your own bath oil you can avoid potentially irritating chemicals and perfumes for a really nourishing and moisturising soak.

  • 225ml honey
  • 450ml milk
  • 16 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 115ml oil – baby oil, almond or even olive oil will be suitable

Add the honey, milk, sea salt and bicarbonate of soda to large bowl and mix well to combine. Fill the bottles to halfway with this mixture and then top up with the oil. Shake well before use.

Alternatively, if you prefer mountains of bubbles in your bath, a few basic ingredients will build a frothy white foam and a restful night full of sweet dreams.

  • 6 drops lavender oil
  • 3 drops patchouli oil
  • 1 litre distilled water
  • 100ml liquid Castile soap (or one bar, grated)
  • 100ml glycerine liquid

Add the water, Castile soap and glycerine to a large bowl and stir well to combine. Stir in the essential oils and pour into the mini bottles with corks through a funnel.

If you are suffering from nasal congestion thanks to winter weather, you can follow the same method but substitute the lavender and patchouli oils for six drops of eucalyptus oil and three drops each of spearmint and peppermint oil for an easy breathing bath treat.

Share and Enjoy


Serving Water for Dinner Guests

swing top bottles

If you’re arranging a gathering for the festive season, it’s not only the food menu that needs attention – a good host doesn’t leave guests with empty glasses! Even if a cocktail party is not specified, it’s only polite and considerate to offer a range of alcoholic and soft drinks to your guests.

Soft drinks in swing top bottles

There are a number of reasons why dinner party guests may want to stick to soft drinks, and some may prefer not to draw attention to the fact. To assuage any delicate sensibilities and to make your job as host a bit more relaxed, consider providing a selection of swing top bottles for guests to help themselves. Consider providing at least cola, lemonade or tonic water and maybe some kind of cordial for guests to serve themselves as they please. Wares of Knutsford sells a range of swing top bottles in various sizes and in both clear or coloured glass, which could be helpful to distinguish between drinks. Alternatively a small plaque hung around the neck of each bottle will help guests find what they are looking for and looks more attractive than a sticky label.

Water in swing top bottles

The one drink that’s possibly even more important than wine at a party is water. It’s useful not only for designated drivers, pregnant guests and possible choking incidents but also to dilute stronger drinks. Go for chilled bottled or filtered water rather than tap water, and think about supplying some carbonated water too. Make sure you lay the table with attractive water glasses and swing top bottles alongside the wine glasses.

Alcoholic drinks

Pre dinner drinks should include the usual roster of whisky, gin, vodka and beer, but when it comes to a drink to accompany food it has to be the traditional wine. Choose carefully as the correct wine can enhance and complement your food, while a poor wine leaves a bad taste both literally and figuratively.

It may be a somewhat dated rule, but it makes sense to stick to the traditional rule of white wine with fish, seafood and chicken and red wine with beef or lamb. However making sure the individual flavours complement each other is more important, so consider what you are cooking. As an example, go for something quite sweet to offset spicy food, and something full bodied and spicy with game. If you’re not sure what works best with your menu, visit a good wine shop with details of the food you are serving and ask for their recommendations.

Share and Enjoy


Homemade Fruit Liquers

liqueur bottles

Homemade fruit liqueurs offer an interesting twist on using seasonal ingredients. If you’ve had enough of jamming and pickling, liqueurs are a more adult alternative. Here is a selection of recipes making the best of the current season’s crop. Homemade liqueurs also make fantastic, colourful wedding favours in miniature liqueur bottles.

For all the recipes you will need a few pieces of basic equipment:

  • A selection of clean muslin cloths
  • A funnel
  • Wide necked, 2 litre screw top jars, sterilised
  • A range of large and miniature liqueur bottles, sterilised
  • A needle

Strawberry Gin

You will need as many strawberries as it takes to fill a two litre jar, carefully washed and dried. Give each berry a few pricks with a needle as you put it into the jar. Once the jar is full of strawberries, fill up to about a third with caster sugar then fill the rest of the jar to the top with gin. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for at least three months. When you are ready to use the liqueur, open the jar and strain the mixture using a clean muslin cloth, through a funnel into your liqueur bottles.

Plum Brandy

You will need about 1lb of sugar and 2lb of plums, washed and stalks removed. If you freeze the plums first, it makes straining easier later on. Place the plums into a large jar, alternating with layers of sugar. Fill the jar to the top with brandy and seal it well. Store the jar in a dark place at room temperature and give it a good shake every day to help the sugar dissolve. After three months, strain the liqueur through a muslin cloth into liqueur bottles and return to storage for another month before using.

Blueberry Vodka Liqueur

Wash 500g of blueberries and prick the skin of each with a needle. Place the fruit into a jar and add 100g caster sugar, one clove and the zest of a lemon. Fill the jar to the top with vodka and seal. Leave in a cool, dark place, shaking every day for the first two weeks to help the sugar dissolve. After 4-6 months, strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and pour through a funnel into bottles.

Sterilising your liqueur bottles

Always sterilise your jars and bottles before using to avoid potentially dangerous contamination. Put the bottles and jars in the oven on a low temperature for about 15 minutes, put them into a pan of boiling water on the stove for five minutes or run them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle.

Share and Enjoy


How to Make Vinaigrette

how to make vinaigrette

Without the aid of a bit of vinaigrette, summer’s salads are simply leaves. Dressing a salad turns it from something rather dreary into a thing of awesome depth and sophistication and there’s no end to the flavours you can incorporate. Furthermore, it’s so simple! Here are a couple of ideas of how to make vinaigrette to make your salads come alive.

How to Make Vinaigrette – Basic French Dressing Recipe

The concept of how to make vinaigrette in its most basic form has undergone a lot of adulteration over the years. A popular bone of contention is the ratio of oil to vinegar. The 3:1 in this recipe can easily be adjusted to 2:1 for those who prefer a more acidic tang.

  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Add the salt, Dijon and honey to a screw top jar and stir together well to form a paste. Add the vinegar and keep stirring to combine. Add the oil last, then screw the lid on tightly and shake like mad until the mixture emulsifies. The vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to use it but will separate and need to be re-shaken to serve.

How to Make Vinaigrette – Mango Vinaigrette Recipe

This elegant, fruity dressing works particularly well with a spinach leaf and avocado salad, paired with a seared steak.

  • ½ a ripe mango, peeled, stoned and roughly chopped
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whizz up the mango, lime juice and honey in a hand blender until they form a smooth paste. Add the oil and whizz again for a few seconds. Season well and whizz again, then serve immediately.

How to Make Vinaigrette – The Rules

There are a few basic rules to remember when dressing your salad that will keep it crispy and delicious rather than limp and pathetic. Always make sure your salad leaves are dry or the dressing will simply slide off. The idea is to give a light coating to the leaves rather than drown them, so use sparingly. Pour a little of the vinaigrette into the base of the bowl first, then add the leaves followed by a little more dressing, before tossing carefully together. This seems to give better coverage than pouring alone. Don’t dress the leaves in advance or they’ll wilt. Add your vinaigrette in the last moments before serving.

Share and Enjoy


Olive Oil Bottles

olive oil bottles

Infusing herbs into bottles for olive oil is an age old tradition, used as a simple salad dressing, to jazz up plain pasta or simply to be dipped into with chunky bread. It is easy and rewarding to make at home for even the novice cook and makes a great gift.

There are a few basic rules to follow for the best results. Start with a good quality olive oil and always use fresh herbs rather than dried – organic or ideally from your own garden are best, both to obtain the best flavour and avoid chemical taints. Wash and dry your herbs carefully before using.

Choose your olive oil bottles carefully. You’ll need a good seal for safety and preservation, while more decorative shapes can be appropriate if the olive oil bottles will be on display or given as gifts. Wares of Knutsford’s range includes round, square and elegantly shaped bottles in a variety of sizes, with a selection of cork, aluminium or bakelite tops. Always sterilise your bottles before use!

Maximising flavour in olive oil bottles

Put your herbs on a wooden board and crush gently to bruise the leaves before putting them in the olive oil bottles. This allows the oils in the herbs to release their flavours into the oil. You can also add fresh spices, which should be lightly toasted then crushed with a pestle and mortar before using. Thin slices of fruits such as lemons or bold chilli peppers both look decorative and add a marvellous depth of flavour.

After adding your chosen flavouring elements, fill the bottles to the top with olive oil, seal well and store in a cool, dark place to allow the flavours to infuse for about two weeks. You can taste the oil occasionally to see how it’s doing. If you prefer a subtler taste you’ll probably prefer to strain out the solid elements and re-bottle the oil once you’ve reached the required depth of flavour, however many people like to see the ingredients in the oil for the decorative effect they lend.

Rosemary olive oil bottles

One of the simplest but most effective flavour combinations. Add half a cup of virgin olive oil and 3 fresh sprigs of rosemary to a small pan and cook gently for about five minutes, until a thermometer reads 80ºC – do not allow to boil. Allow to cool to room temperature then decant into a bottle and seal. The oil will keep for up to one month.

Share and Enjoy


Vinaigrette Bottles

vinaigrette bottles

The different shapes and styles of bottles for vinaigrette, oil, sauces, liqueurs and other products may seem to be guided simply by personal preference, but in fact there are also practical considerations at play. Commercial enterprises will want to consider storage, packaging and how to make their vinaigrette bottles stand out from the competition, while those buying for personal use may be more interested in decorative effects.

Choice of colour will depend on the contents and storage conditions – light can degrade the quality of oils and some other ingredients, so green glass can be preferable for preservation purposes. However it can also be a shame to obscure attractive contents such as the gentle greeny gold glow of good quality olive oil and elements such as fresh herbs inside.

Bottle style guide

In Europe there are common names given to particular shapes or styles of bottle. The following classic styles are available from Wares of Knutsford:

Marasca vinaigrette bottles

The Marasca is a very practical bottle shape, tall and square with a round neck and the most traditional shape for oils. The compact, regular footprint allows for convenient storage while the straight sides make for neat label application. They make ideal oil or vinaigrette bottles but can also be used for all kinds of syrups or liqueurs and are available with screw or spout tops in clear or green glass. Sizes range from 125ml to 1 litre.

Bellolio bottle

This is a more decorative version of the Marasca, tapering slightly towards the bottom and with gently rounded edges. It is ideal for gifts or wedding favours and comes with a cork stopper, in clear glass in 250ml size.

Dorica vinaigrette bottles

Dorica is an elegant shape for bottles for vinaigrette – tall, slim and round with a distinctly formed shoulder. The simple silhouette looks modern and can be used for sauces, liqueurs or juices in addition to the more traditional oils and dressings. Sizes range from 100ml to 750ml in clear or green glass, with screw tops.

Taverna oil bottle

This romantic, rustic bottle is curvy with a useful handle. It comes with a cork top in clear glass and two different sizes. These are the classic “restaurant table” vinaigrette bottles.

Vintage oil bottles

What this shape lacks in Latin flair it makes up for in practical application, with a slightly wider but shorter neck. It comes in clear glass with a screw, twist or cork top and three different sizes. Useful for sauces and thicker liquids.

Share and Enjoy


Flower Power!

elderflower champagne

The elder or sambucus nigra is an ancient, flowering shrub native to Europe. Its low maintenance growth habits and numerous household uses make it a common sight in gardens along with prolific wild growth in hedgerows, woodlands and wastelands. For decorative purposes look for dramatic variants such as ‘Black Lace’ with its deep purple foliage and pale pink flowers, or go for the more traditional green varieties with their finely flavoured white flower heads.

Those frothy flowers not only look pretty, they also make great cordial and summer drinks and have useful medicinal properties, great for colds, flu and sore throats with an anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal and anti-viral action. The hollow stems of the branches are also useful for getting a fire going.

Nature’s medicine

Elderflower has been used as a medicine since Roman times, when ancient herbalists saw it as a kind of ‘cure all’. All of the plant is useful, with the roots boasting diuretic properties and the leaves used to make a cold and flu fighting tea or, similar to arnica, to make creams to treat bruises and soft tissue injuries.

These days the plant is prized for its flowers rather than roots or leaves. Modern herbalists recommend drinking elderflower tea in spring to guard against hay fever later in the summer.

Summer coolers: elderflower champagne and cordial

Elderflower heads produce drinks with a delicate, citrusy flavour that make ideal summer refreshments. Elderflower champagne is a more adult alternative to the traditional cordial and adds that fashionable retro touch to summer picnics or events and it’s wonderfully easy to make at home!

Elderflower champagne

  • 10 elderflower heads
  • 2 litres boiling water
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 2 litres cold water
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For elderflower champagne plunder the elder bushes before midday to get the flowers at their best. Shake the heads to dislodge any insects.

Take the boiling water off the heat, add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Add the cold water, lemon juice, vinegar and elderflower heads, stir gently and leave to cool.

Cover the mixture with a clean cloth and leave in a cool, dark place to ferment. At this stage you can add half a teaspoon of wine yeast to speed up the process by a couple of days, or you can sit back and allow nature to do her thing.

A week later, strain the mixture through a clean, muslin cloth and funnel into sterilised plastic or glass bottles. Seal the bottles and leave for a week before drinking, opening the bottles regularly to allow any fermentation gases in the elderflower champagne to be released – exploding glass bottles make a terrible mess!

Share and Enjoy


Homemade Tomato Sauce

sauce bottles

Banish Your Shop Bought Tomato Sauce Bottles

Of all the time and labour saving convenience foods available in the supermarket, tomato sauces are probably the most unnecessary. Making your own is so simple, fresh, sweet and delicious that once you’ve tried it you’ll never want to buy canned or bottled versions again.

Make your own sauce: pizza and pasta

  • 1-1.5kg ripe plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.

Add the tomatoes and half of the basil, then season. Simmer gently, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1-1½ hours or until the liquid has reduced and the tomatoes reach a thick, jammy consistency. This sauce freezes, so works well made in large batches or it can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator if stored in sauce bottles or jars, sealed tightly.

Make your own sauce: ketchup

  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ¼ fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 dessertspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • Sea salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1kg fresh, ripe tomatoes of any kind, skinned and chopped
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 70g soft brown sugar

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and add the onion, fennel, celery, ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander and cloves. Season and cook gently for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally, then add the tomatoes and 350ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until at least half of the liquid has evaporated.

Make Ready for Your Sauce Bottles

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the basil leaves and then blend the sauce until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in a food processor. Push the mixture through a sieve a couple of times to make sure the sauce is completely smooth and then add it to a clean pan with the vinegar and sugar. Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens to about the consistency of ketchup. Taste and season accordingly. Pour into sterilised sauce bottles, seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place for up to six months. Once your sauce bottles are opened, refrigerate.

Share and Enjoy


Starting out in Aromatherapy

essential oil bottles

As the modern world increasingly rejects processed and highly chemical products it embraces the natural and complementary alternatives. Aromatherapy is one of the best known holistic therapies and offers a diverse selection of career opportunities. Whether you are dabbling as a hobby or starting out in your own aromatherapy business, you’ll need a certain amount of kit, most important of which are your essential oil bottles.

A range of essential oil bottles

When it comes to essential oils, quality is the key. This really is a case of you get what you pay for, with cheaper versions lacking in the active ingredients that make the discipline so effective. This not only exposes practitioners to potential dangers from impure, non-therapeutic grade products but dilutes the image of aromatherapy as whole, with disappointed recipients branding it ineffective and its practitioners as charlatans.

Once you have identified a high quality supplier, you will need a range of essential oils, a selection of carrier oils and a collection of aromatherapy bottles and bowls for mixing and dispensing. Alternatively, you could try extracting your own oil to be sure of its purity, for which you’ll need a still and a healthy supply of raw material.

The most important oils to form the basis of any aromatherapist’s kit include, arguably, lavender, tea tree, camomile, lemon, geranium, eucalyptus, rosemary, frankincense, peppermint, rose and black pepper. From this starter collection you can mix up endless combinations to treat almost any condition or circumstance, with the help of carrier oils. Sweet almond and grapeseed are probably the most commonly used.

Once you are happy and confident in both the quality and your use of the oils you can start to expand your collection to encompass more unusual and exotic aromas but the basic collection is an affordable way to get started. Wares of Knutsford offer supplies, including essential oil bottles, with no minimum order and low cost, fast delivery to help you keep to your budget.

Handling advice for essential oil bottles

They may be used for their therapeutic properties but essential oils are powerful substances. Rubbers and plastic can degrade through contact and even glass is not impervious, while most oils shouldn’t be exposed to skin undiluted. Therefore you need to make sure you buy specific essential oil bottles designed for their storage. You’ll need a selection of screw top and dropper top bottles in different sizes and if you don’t have a cool, dark place to store your potions it would be best to go for dark coloured glass to protect the contents. A few larger, plastic press cap bottles are ideal for mixing with carrier oils and dispensing in manageable quantities.

Share and Enjoy


Swing Top Bottles

swingtop bottles

With this month’s seasonal ingredients featuring a number of options ideal for making delicious cordials, now is a good time to stock up on a selection of glass bottles to store and present your cordial endeavours.

Choosing glass swingtop bottles from Wares of Knutsford

Like jams and chutneys, cordials don’t tend to be made in small quantities so it makes sense to bulk buy a set of suitable bottles to benefit from quantity discounts. Wares charge the same delivery price no matter how much you buy, for even better economies of scale. There are glass swingtop bottles available in various different shapes and sizes, either plain or decorated. You can also choose from ceramic or resin type stoppers, but the slightly more expensive ceramic stoppers are most popular at the moment for their traditional look.

Recipes for Your Swingtop Bottles

These cordials make a great and grown up alternative to alcoholic drinks for designated drivers attending a party or simply to accompany a picnic on a sunny day.

Raspberry cordial

  • 500g fresh raspberries
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a large, heavy bottomed pan and heat on low for 10 minutes, mashing the fruit gently as it cooks until the mixture becomes smooth and syrupy. Push the contents of the pan through a sieve into another clean pan.

Remove the seeds and pulp from the sieve and mix with 300ml of water then push through the sieve again to get out every last bit of flavour. Stir the sieved liquid well and boil for one minute. Pour the cordial into sterilised glass swingtop bottles and seal. The cordial can be stored in a cool, dark place for a few months and should be kept in the fridge once opened. Deliciously refreshing served with soda on ice.

Apple, elderflower & mint sparkle

  • 75ml elderflower cordial
  • 1 litre cloudy apple juice
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

Pour the ingredients into a couple of glass swingtop bottles and store in the fridge. Serve in glasses half filled with ice and topped up with sparkling water.

Citrus peach cooler

  • Juice of lemons
  • Juice of limes
  • Peach nectar
  • Cloudy lemonade

Store the peach nectar, lemon and lime juice in swing top bottles in equal measure. To serve, pour into glasses half filled with ice, topped up with lemonade and garnished with thin slices of lemon and lime, strawberries and a few sprigs of fresh mint.

Share and Enjoy


Using Bottles with Corks

bottles with corks

Wine snobs would have you believe that glass bottles with corks are an essential part of the wine making process. While the ever increasing array of good quality screw tops wines currently on the market rather thumbs its nose to that idea, there is still a sound logic behind the concept of cork topped bottles.

Why do winemakers always use glass bottles with corks?

This has been the standard method for sealing and storing wine for nearly three hundred years, although the concept began as far back as 500BC. Cork is a natural product with quite remarkable properties. It is light and can float, thanks to a cellular composition that also endows it with an elasticity and ability to compress that are ideal to seal bottles of wine. A good cork will seal a bottle for up to thirty years but is relatively easy to remove.

The wine industry has struggled to come up with a satisfactory replacement for a natural cork. Plastic corks seal well but, lacking cork’s natural elasticity, become impossible to remove. Those that can be removed in return don’t provide a satisfactory seal to permit the wine’s natural ageing process to occur. Screw caps seal well enough, but there is an argument that suggests that cork allows just the correct amount of air to permeate the bottle to facilitate ageing, which doesn’t happen with a perfect screw cap seal.

Ultimately, popping the cork has become a ritual. People like the sound and enjoy the process and clever marketing on the part of the wine and cork industries has given alternative bottle closures a possible undeserved downmarket reputation.

Making your own wine in bottles with corks

Although humans have been making and drinking wine for a very long time now, some of the intricate chemistry of the process is still misunderstood, so when making your wine it’s probably best to stick to the traditional glass bottles with corks. Wares of Knutsford sell glass bottles with corks in a variety of sizes and shapes and which are useful for all sorts of endeavours.

You’ll find making vodka, vinegar or cider, for example, involves many of the same processes as wine making and that glass bottles with corks provide not only the ideal sealing and storage solution for them, but also allow you to present the product attractively as a gift or a favour on special occasions such as weddings. The bottles are also available in surprisingly economical bargain packs, as wine making and similar pursuits tend not to be practical in small quantities.

Share and Enjoy


Wedding Favour Jars

wedding favours

Wedding Favours are given to guests by the bride and groom as a memento of their special day. The ever competitive wedding industry means event organisers have had to come up with ever more creative and original ideas for wedding favours. However, sometimes the simple ideas are the best, so keep your wedding elegant and intimate with a selection of favours with the personal touch. A selection of pretty jars and bottles can be filled with homemade drinks, sweets, jewellery or various other items and can be adapted to the interests of your various guests.

Homemade wedding favours

Busy brides may find themselves too short of time to knock up delicious homemade treats when there’s a wedding to organise, but sloe gin is quaintly old fashioned and works best when made well in advance. Its warming flavour suits a winter wedding best.

  • 450g sloes
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 litre of gin

Prick each sloe with a clean needle a couple of times and place the lot in a large, sealable container. Add the sugar and pour over the gin. Seal the container and shake well to mix the contents. Keep in a cool, dark place and shake every couple of days for the first week, then once a week for another two months. Decant the gin through a muslin cloth into pretty glass jars decorated with a label to mark the event.

In summer, elderflower cordial has a similar rustic, traditional reputation as sloe gin.

  • 20 elderflower heads, shaken to remove insects
  • 1.8kg caster sugar
  • 1.2 litres of water
  • 2 lemons, unwaxed
  • 75g citric acid

Make a sugar syrup by gently heating the sugar and water together until the sugar is fully dissolved. Zest and slice the lemons and add to a bowl with the elderflowers. Add the boiling sugar syrup to the bowl, add the citric acid and stir well. Cover the top with a cloth and set aside for 24 hours at room temperature. Strain the cordial through a muslin cloth and decant, again, into pretty, labelled bottles.

Wedding favours for kids

Sweets treats always go down well with children, but if you are clever you’ll avoid the sugar rush and keep the little darlings occupied while the adults have some fun by filling your jars with a selection of toys as their wedding favours. Marbles, lego, beads, small coloured pencils, stickers or trading cards work well placed in jars. First of all the children can collect their goodies up to take home at the end of an event and second everyone can see what they have and arrange trades as it suits them.

Share and Enjoy


Elderflower Champagne in Swing Top Bottles

swing top bottles

Make the most of nature’s bounty by collecting the abundant elderflowers laying a frothy white carpet throughout the countryside in May. Collect the blooms in warm, dry weather and check carefully for insects before using. Elderflowers can be used in a number of recipes but their sharp, tangy flavour is ideal for refreshing summer drinks.

Swing top bottles of home made elderflower champagne

To make about 6 litres

  • 4 litres of hot water
  • 700g sugar
  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 15 fully blooming elderflower heads
  • Pinch of dried yeast, if necessary

You will need a large, very clean container such as a new bucket. Add the hot water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then add cold water until the total volume reaches 6 litres.

Gently stir in the juice and zest of the lemons, vinegar and elderflower heads. Cover the container with a clean muslin cloth and put it in a cool, well ventilated spot to ferment for a couple of days. At this point take a peek. The brew should be starting to foam and be obviously fermenting. If it seems to need a helping hand, add the yeast.

Allow to continue fermenting for another four days, still under the muslin cloth. Line a sieve with a fresh piece of muslin to strain the liquid through before decanting into sterilised swing top bottles. Once sealed, allow the champagne to ferment for another week and store in a cool, dry place for up to six months. The champagne should be served very cold.

If you like the citrusy flavour of elderflower but prefer a non-alcoholic drink, this cordial is a delicious alternative:

Elderflower cordial in swing top bottles

To make 2 litres

  • 25 fully blooming elderflower heads
  • 3 unwaxed lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1kg sugar

In a large, clean bowl pour 1.5 litres of boiling water over the elderflowers and the zest of the oranges and lemon. Cover and leave to infuse overnight.

Line a sieve with a fresh piece of muslin to strain the liquid through into a saucepan, along with the orange and lemon juice and the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves then simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour the syrup through a funnel into sterilised swing top bottles then seal, leave to cool and refrigerate. Serve with cold still or sparkling water and plenty of ice.

Share and Enjoy