Collectible Liquor Bottles (1900-Now)

While there are occasions where there are few things more relaxing than a shot of whiskey or tequila, liquor-bottle collecting can sometimes be just as relaxing. With a variety of shapes and sizes available, you can find a bottle that matches the decor of your liquor cabinet. You may also be able to find vintage liquor decanter options to use as seasonal decorations throughout the year.

What types of glass liquor bottles are available?

With so many brands and types of whiskey, there are many shapes and sizes of antique glass and crystal decanters available. For special occasions, some brands have different shapes for the same type of drink. Some examples of the types include:

  • Shaped - Special shapes for tequila or whiskey bottles may include skulls, aliens, animals, or holiday-themed crystal specials shaped as Santa or the Grinch.
  • Miniature - These small, antique glass bottles may have been designed to provide a single shot for medicinal reasons or a small nip you could hide at work.
  • Full size - A full-size antique liquor decanter may have been passed down in the family. You can use these to store your own liquor or simply display the empty decanter on its own.
  • Flasks - For much of the 1800s, figured flasks were the main type of glass decanter used. They usually have figures and logos etched on the flask itself and are sought-after by collectors.
What types of decanter stoppers are there?

You can find a variety of stopper styles, from cork to synthetic stoppers to screw caps. Each type offers benefits for different types of liquor. Common styles include:

  • Natural cork - One of the more vintage plugs, it provides a solid seal for virtually any glass decanter.
  • Screw cap - This method prevents air from leaking into a glass or crystal bottle, preserving the flavor.
  • Synthetic cork - The synthetic cork allows the alcohol to breathe, potentially preserving its flavor.
When were some of these vintage liquor decanters produced?

Many collectible tequila and other vintage liquor bottles were produced immediately before or after the Prohibition period. These prized antique bottles will often have "for medical use only" embossed on them. You may find some of the highly regarded tequila vintage bottles that were made before 1919. Those bottles were typically hand-blown and individually crafted. Mass-produced liquor decanters and bottles didn't become available until after Prohibition, so early creations tend to be greatly desired as collectibles. You may find some vintage bottles embossed with the words "not for re-sale," because exempted bottles for medicine were not allowed to be resold.