The Last Thing To Do Before Throwing Away Empty Wine Bottles

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Your windowsill is lined with empty wine bottles holding long-stemmed, long-dead roses. You've turned your empty wine bottles into candle holders — hours spent cross-legged on the floor meticulously dripping layer upon layer of different colored wax down the bottle's length, sustaining more than a few burn injuries along the way. (It's an art, okay?) If you're thirsty for another way to put those empties to good use, look no further. We've got you covered.

It might be tempting to rage quit and turn to the blue can, but give those wine bottles a second look: Rinse 'em out and use them for decanting homemade oils and vinegars. If you've never tried making a homemade vinaigrette before, maybe this is your cue to start.

Not only is this a thrifty money-saver, but it also means all your oils will have matching bottles and matching labels that you get to design yourself. (We're looking at you, aesthetic-appreciating foodies.) Paint a smear of chalkboard paint across the bottle and you could reuse them for storing different contents in style again and again. Never before have your vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil looked so good living together in perfect utilitarian harmony. Bonus points if you store your cutesy uniform lineup somewhere visible, like on an open shelf or neatly arranged on top of the fridge.

Nothing to wine about here

Cooking oils and vinegars are far from the only things you can decant in your repurposed wine bottles. These enclosed spaces are also perfect for preserving peppers; just slice up some habaneros or long Thai chiles, stick them in the bottle, then fill it with rice vinegar for a spicy, slightly pickled creation. You can use 'em for garnishing salads and cocktails or simply snacking on as-is.

You could also use those empty wine bottles for another mixology-related purpose: decanting homemade infused liquors. It's the ideal way to combine your love of sipping with your love of cooking. Plus, the more wine you drink, the more bottles you'll have to fill with new imaginative libations. To do it, pick a neutral spirit like vodka or gin and infuse it with the ingredients of your choice, such as rosemary, blueberries, rose petals, fresh cherry blossoms, macerated white peach slices, tomato and black peppercorns (great for Bloody Marys), dandelions, hibiscus, violets, orange peel, or anything else you can dream up. Get other foodies in on the fun and host a wine party, sending your guests home with empty bottles. Then, host another party the following weekend where everyone can show off the infused spirits they've made.

The only thing you'll need to purchase is a pack of bottle pourer spouts. A two-pack of stainless steel spouts runs for around $4.99 on Amazon, and they'll fit snugly in the mouth of a standard wine bottle.