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Bottles/Test Tubes for Sending Liquid Samples?

I need to figure out how to send small samples of liquid through the mail. Maybe a couple of sips of four different drinks. Needs to be in glass (which I'd pad well) or very non-reactive plastic, and must seal extremely securely.

Any suggestions?

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    1. re: alanbarnes

      Well, that's wholesale...wonder where they retail stuff like that....

      I was really hoping there'd be a simple suggestion in a place like CVS, but that may be unrealistic....

      1. re: Jim Leff

        For retail, your best bet is a local lab/medical supply house. Not exactly walk-in friendly, but if you have a part number from Fisher or another supply house they'll be able to track it down for you. Better yet, make friends with a chemist...

    2. Reuse bottles. The small liquor bottles that airline booze comes in. Shampoo samples, etc. Extracts or other liquid food products. They don't leak.
      I've gotten 4 oz bottles from the pharmacy. They had smaller ones too. But then we deal with an old fashioned pharmacy.
      A travel supply store that sells the TSA-approved bottles for travel.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        I assume that Jeff is asking in reference to this thread:


        So he would need unused glassware suitable for shipping to an importer/distributor.

        If there is anyone on the board that is in the wine/spirits importing buisiness, they could possibly lend a hand??

        EDIT: Maybe similar request on the wine or spirits boards or a heads up post pointing to this thread may help.

      2. I hate to tell you, but there may be some legal issues shipping that "liquid" across interstate/international borders --- or even through the mail, for that matter.

        quick and dirty way to find out what you need to know, talk to fedx or ups shipping customer service. may keep you out of some hot water..... (then of course, use them for the shipping).

        plus, do not use plastic that is non-food-grade. i would not recommend any plastic except the kind that holds alcoholic products (ahem....). glass obviously is preferable, but presents a couple more problems -- fragility and weight.....

        4 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          Here in NYC (and everywhere else?) the postal clerk's mandated standard question is "Does this package contain anything fragile, liquid, or perishable?" If you answer yes, I assume they won't let you mail it.

          1. re: bob192

            Guys, thanks for the legal advice and guesswork as to the service I'm using and the contents of my package.

            But, really, I'm just asking a simple question. Thanks.

          2. re: alkapal

            Good point alkapal (and sorry to take your post OT Jim)...but back in the day when i was more naive , an intended recipient of a local bottle of wine got their knuckles severely rapped by the PS when i'd sent it through the mail. I lived in fear for days that the authorities would show up on my doorstep !! lol (actually i kinda did).

            Back on topic.....how about those Tupperware Midgets?
            I use these to transport dressings and other liquids back and forth to work, and they also have the measurements on the side, they seal very well. You can find them easily on e-bay too.

            I'd go for any kind of plastic container, and for extra security, put inside a ziploc bag.

            For glass, go for a screw top spice container with a good seal. You can find those at any dollar store.

            1. re: im_nomad

              re: Tupperware Midgets, I'm not sure how reactive the plastic is

              Screw top spice container with a good seal is indeed a good fallback option. Thanks! Would like something a bit better sealing, ideally, and a bit smaller, to boot.

          3. Any packaging store (including several online--I recommend www.uline.com personally) will sell multiple sizes of food-grade plastic jars. Many shipping companies will require they be double bagged (eg bottle inside sealed bag) and/or use vermiculite for protection (which you can also buy from a packaging store like uline) and labelled appropriately. Most likely, you'll need to ship via UPS ground.

            Please note that shipping alcohol is likely to add a number of other restrictions (eg no delivery under 21, etc).

              1. re: alkapal

                Thanks, perfect. Exorbitant shipping, however.

              2. How about these?


                They are used for soy sauce and such for bento boxes. These are the simplest I have seen - most fall into the terminally cute category.

                1 Reply
                1. re: meatn3

                  I'm not sure what happened with the link, look in the Bento category of that site.
                  Sorry :)

                2. These are priced at a case of 24 of the 4oz size for $19.92. Did not notice what their shipping cost would run.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Servorg

                    I've ordered stuff from there a few times with no problems whatsoever. They have a pretty large selection.

                  2. I've send liquids in the past and suggest that you ship by ground transportation. Changes in air pressure can cause even professionally sealed bottles to ooze and leak.
                    This could damage any labeling you have on your bottles and possibly create other problems.
                    I suggest using UPS or FedEx ground.
                    Also that you wrap individual bottles in absorbent paper before sealing in individual ziplocks. It worked well for me.

                    1. Hi Jim.

                      I suggest specialty bottle. No order minimum, and they have threaded vials with rubber tops. Some models have dropper option. Easy, safe transport AND dispensing.
                      They have a 4 dram glass bottle at .51 each, and shipping is about $4.50.

                      Good luck with your project.


                      1. The Container Store
                        Just found on their site Glass bottles with droppers

                        Also Dram bottles http://www.containerstore.com/browse/...

                        Small Food jars for like homemade jams, etc

                        Polycarbonate leakproof bottles

                        Small jars

                        They are all over the place, so maybe you can go in and buy some.

                        1. This may sound really off the wall, but what about the test tubes you get with Aquarium water testing kits? I know they seal tight, and I also know that the plastic top is non-reactive, because of the chemicals you have to put in them. Some of the chemicals have large caution warning about not getting on your skin, but you add a few drops to a sample of the aquarium water, cap on, then shake for a minute, or whatever (depends). So if they weren't non-reactive you would have a real problem.

                          Here is one link I found where you can get 24 tubes for $13. If you like this idea I can look further. Have a tank and a lot of links!


                          1. Penzey's sells these, both plastic and glass. They are inexpensive, and you can buy as few as you wish.

                            1. I do believe we've just created the Definitive Resource on this issue!

                              You know, expanding Chowhound to national (we started out focused on NY tristate), and then withstanding all the pain and expense of growth was a pretty prohibitively labor-intense undertaking, but it seems worth it when you can elicit such a great sweeping depth of info on a really specific issue so quickly. Thanks, guys!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                thank YOU, jim leff. you did a good thing. best of luck in your (ad)venture.

                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  You might try a beauty supply store! I was able to find a good supply of plastice squeeze bottles in sizes from maybe 1 1/2 oz on up in any quantity I wanted. Considering that they were intended to be used for hair chemicals, I cant imagine any food or liquid that might be a problem. I used them for samples of hot sauce I was making.

                                  1. re: Fydeaux

                                    The interesting thing is that sufficient interaction to affect flavor is actually a very very low bar. It only takes a few parts per million of a strong tasting plastic to change the delicate flavor of a subtle drink. So materials that aren't interactive for purposes like hair chemicals can't be counted on not to inject flavor.

                                    That's why "food grade" plastic is a relatively rare and expensive thing.

                                    1. re: Jim Leff

                                      I found another source for the aquarium testing tubes, for only $10 for 24 bottles. You may want to try it out, to test it. I would imagine any water testing kit test tubes would be acceptable. The chemicals in those kits are much more corrosive than hair products. Only the top is plastic, the tubes are always glass.

                                2. american science and surplus Sciplus.com

                                  1. Try Mason jars, that's what all the old moonshiners use. They come in various small sizes and you should be able to find them locally.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: badseed

                                      I've never seen a Mason jar of the size the OP requires.

                                      1. re: badseed

                                        If a half-pint mason jar is "a couple of sips" to you, we may be related. My great-grandfather took a thimbleful of whiskey a day for medicinal purposes. But you should've seen the size of his drinking thimble.

                                      2. Just a follow-up to say that The Container Store is absolutely one's friend for situations like this. They had lots of food-quality heavy duty polycarbonate but tiny bottles of varying sizes. And little tubes. Just perfect.

                                        I got thrown out of the store for taking cell phone camera photos of trash cans, but I still admire them.