Art, Food

All That Fits In A Bottle

A hand-painted glass bottle.
A hand-painted glass bottle.
The "Nippon Maru," inside a bottle.
The “Nippon Maru,” inside a bottle.

Glass bottles are remarkably versatile articles. For the better part of their lives, they serve as receptacles for every conceivable liquid there is, from mead to mercury. In an afterlife, once emptied of their contents, they’re still useful.

While the exteriors present the artistic with a smooth texture to paint on, the interiors provide the dexterous with a clever environment to create miniature art. Lilliputian models of sailing ships, ocean liners, vehicles, landscapes, and buildings can be made to fit within the confines of a whiskey bottle or a light bulb.

What’s even more puzzling is that it’s not just inanimate objects that can be bottled, but also those that are animate, such as a whole fruit.

I’m intrigued by the concept of inserting full-grown fruits inside bottles. An eau-de-vie, manufactured by the Oregon-based Clear Creek Distillery, has an entire pear immersed in a bottle of pear brandy. The pear that stands on its head at the bottom of the bottle is neither a mythical pear, nor is it made of brass, plastic, wood, or rubber. It’s a real pear.

Its counterpart in the East is the “umeshu,” a fruit liqueur of the “ume” fruit (mistakenly called a plum), produced by leading Japanese winemaker Choya.

But how do the distillers get the fruits to travel through the neck of the bottle and settle on its floor? The reality behind this seemingly magical occurrence is complex.

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