How to Turn Any Boring Alcohol Bottle Into a Bougie-Ass Fish Tank
I have this Champagne gun. Maybe you were one of the four people who read about it. When it's not soaking my BFF on the streets of SoHo, it sits atop my desk like a gaudy rose-gold $450 paper weight.
Last week, I was calmly mansplaining to my deskmate/office nemesis Laura Reilly about how whales aren't fish, but mammals just like us, when she had the kind-of-good idea to turn a liquor bottle into a fish tank, buy a little pet fishy, and keep it locked inside this Champagne gun that sits betwixt our respective workspaces.
So, that's what we did. And we used a vodka bottle and fire and good old-fashioned millennial elbow grease. Which they don't sell everywhere, you know.
The Champagne gun certainly isn't necessary but it definitely benefits the final presentation. Crucial to the process though, is cutting off the shaft (hehe) of a liquor bottle while keeping the base intact.
Here's what you need to do that:
1. One magnum alcy bottle
2. Acetone, or nail polish remover with mad acetone in it
4. Yarn or string or a blanket you don't mind ripping apart
5. A big bucket of ice water
6. Friends who don't ask too many questions
First, soak your yarn in acetone. THEN WASH YOUR HANDS BECAUSE FIRE WILL BE INVOLVED. After that, tie your flammable yarn a bunch of times (like, 20 times) around the spot on the bottle that needs a-choppin'.
Drop a match on that sucker, and poise yourself gracefully over a bucket of really, really cold water. I just happened to have a gallon on hand because I guess that's just my life now. While covered in flames, rotate the bottle slowly to keep the fire consistent. It's kind of like smoking a blunt, or so I've been told by friends who are bad influences and never amounted to anything. When tourists walk by and ask why you are doing this, just tell them it's part of your religion and roll your eyes at their cultural naiveté.
After doing that for about three minutes, dunk your piping-hot bottle into the freezing ice water. The top SHOULD pop off. If it doesn't, take the yarn off, peep your progress, and try the whole thing over again. Like having children, it will be easier the second time around.
It's tough to get a perfectly clean break, so ask a friend for a nail file and make sure there are no super-sharp edges. Here is Laura smoothing out those rough edges.
After we had secured the fish home, we ventured to the sketchiest fish shop in Chinatown, NYC, and picked out a lovely little betta. We named him Breakfast -- because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Breakfast is the most important fish in our hearts.
We opted for the multicolored gravel, because we felt like getting "blue for a boy," per the salesman's suggestion, was a little too heteronormative and we don't want to pigeonhole the kid before he even loses his baby flippers. But you can do whatever you want. We also bought him a decorative skull to remind Breakfast of his own mortality, and the inevitable reckoning all fish slowly swim toward.
Also, you don't really need a filter as long you clean the tank out every couple of days. You should buy some water conditioner though. Which we did not. Oops.
No fish were harmed during the making of this article. Several "test fish," however, fell asleep for a while and Laura sent them upstate to live with one of her aunts where they can swim in a stream with a bunch of other fish, but we aren't allowed to visit because her husband is allergic to the kind of clothes I wear -- or so I'm told.
Yup, that's basically it.
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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. His favorite fish is Moby Dick. Just kidding, Moby Dick is a mammal! Did you even read this article?
Laura Reilly is the contributor network manager at Thrillist. She ate breakfast today.