Once upon a time, I thought Swing-Top (aka flip top, or bail, brace or E-Z Cap closure) bottles were just for beer. Then, I started fermenting my own Kombucha. If you're a fan of the fermented tea and still buying it by the bottle, my question is "why". It's so easy, fun and inexpensive to make right on your countertop. No special equipment needed - well, except for a few Swing-Top bottles, that is.
These bottles are dandy for keeping the fizz in my Kombucha, but then I began to find more and more uses for them!
The stopper is also known as the Quillfeldt stopper (after the inventor, Charles de Quillfeldt), and is generally used to contain carbonated beverages - like beer. The mouth of the bottle is sealed by a stopper, usually made of porcelain or plastic, fitted with a rubber gasket and held in place by a set of wires. This method of closure was the predominant way of sealing beer and mineral water until the invention of the crown cork (aka bottle cap that we know today).
Once I got the hang of opening them (sigh, my daughter had to show me how! LOL), I was set! They're simply brilliant. Here's a helpful video to teach you how to open and close them - without asking your kids.
Now, that we've got that taken care of, these bottles can help store darn near everything! One of the things I use the smaller ones (yes, there are multiple sizes, colors and shapes!) is for our plant-based coffee creamer. It saves me money! I was buying smaller cartons of the stuff - yikes, too expensive and the store couldn't keep it in stock thanks to the pandemic - so, after some careful label reading, I found that the Whole Foods 365 branded Oat Milk is the same thing! Now, I buy larger cartons of the oat milk and refill a smaller swing-top bottle for daily use! Duh!
One of the other beautiful benefits of a swing-top bottle is that they can be stored in the refrigerator on their sides! You could store them upside-down and they'd never leak a drop! This is a great way to better utilize space in your fridge.
I always store my 'Bucha' (slang for Kombucha) this way, leaving more room for taller items like wine bottles. Sadly, I've tried all manner of stoppers for wine bottles and they all leak. Since I prefer decent French wines, losing even a few drops is not a good thing - plus I have to clean up the spills.
I keep a number of extra swing-top bottles handy - both in the kitchen cupboard and on the 'overflow' shelf out in the garage.
You'll find any number of different size and shapes in swing-top bottles to fit your every need.
You're probably thinking "well, this is all fine, but how in the heck do you clean those bottles?" Yeah, that was my thought in the beginning. The answer? Simply use a bottle brush. I got one at the beer making supply place here in town and it works great. A drop or two of dish soap, hot water, shove the brush down in there and turn it all around, up and down, pull it out and rinse several times really well. Bang. Done.
Finally, where do you buy Swing-top bottles? Almost anywhere. Here in Reno, Nevada, I bought mine at The Reno Homebrewer on Fourth Street. I bought the cleaning brush and a great funnel there, too. If you have a home brew supply place in your town, give them a call.
Oh, and lest I forget, you'll need a funnel. Nothing particularly fancy. Any small-ish kitchen funnel will work to fill these swing-top bottles without spilling a drop. One last thing: when filling any of these bottles, I always set them in the sink, even if using a funnel. That means that whatever happens - like being startled by an imploding asteroid - I won't have a mess to clean up. Funnel link below.
If you don't have a brewing supply place nearby, then use my affiliate links here: