A Mickey bottle, also known as a Flask bottle, is a bottle that holds 375 mL (13 oz) of liquid. It gets its name from its resemblance to “Mickey Mouse” ears. Mickey bottles are popular for holding liquor and are a common format for bottling whiskey, rum, vodka and other spirits.
Why is it called a Mickey?
The bottle is called a Mickey due to its resemblance to Mickey Mouse ears. It has two round bulbous sections connected by a narrow neck, making it look like the famous Disney character. The round shapes on either side of the bottleneck are reminiscent of Mickey’s ears.
Where did the Mickey bottle originate?
The origins of the Michel bottle are uncertain, but it became popular during Prohibition in the United States in the 1920s and ’30s. Bootleggers and speakeasies found the small 375 mL bottle size useful for hiding and transporting illegal liquor. The discreet, portable size made the Mickey popular even after Prohibition ended.
What spirits are commonly sold in Mickey bottles?
Some of the most common types of liquor sold in Mickey format are:
|Typical alcohol percentage
The portable size and concealable shape has made the Mickey bottle a popular choice for bottling many types of liquor.
What other names is the Mickey bottle known by?
The Mickey bottle is known by several other colorful nicknames including:
- Flask bottle
- Pocket flask
- Belly bottle
These nicknames mostly refer to the short, stout shape of the bottle. “Flask” and “pocket flask” indicate its portable, concealable nature. The various slang names speak to how the Mickey bottle has been used – often for discreetly transporting liquor on one’s person.
Size and Dimensions
What volume of liquid does a Mickey hold?
A standard Mickey bottle holds 375 mL, which equates to:
- 12.7 fluid ounces
- 13 standard US ounces
- Approximately 13⁄8 US Pints
- Approximately 1⁄2 of a 750 mL “fifth” bottle
What are the typical dimensions of a Mickey bottle?
A 375 mL Mickey bottle will typically have dimensions around:
- Height: 4.5–6 inches (11.5–15 cm)
- Width: 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) at the widest point
- Neck opening diameter: 0.8 – 1.0 inch (2-2.5 cm)
There can be some variation between brands, but those dimensions capture the general size range.
Why are Mickey bottles popular?
Some reasons why the Mickey bottle has become so popular include:
- Portable size for individual servings of liquor
- FITS easily in a pocket or bag for transport
- Concealable shape for discreetly carrying liquor around
- Versatile size works for many types of liquor
- Resealable with a small screw cap
- Durable glass construction
- Low cost for an individual bottle
Where would someone commonly use or see a Mickey?
Common places Mickeys are used or seen:
- Pubs/bars – for serving individual portions
- Sporting events or concerts – for sneaking liquor into venues
- Beach, parks, outdoor events – as portable liquor containers
- Parties – as single serve or take-home portions
- Gifts or prizes
- Restaurants – some use Mickeys for table-side liquor service
- Airplanes – served on some flights
Anywhere that portability and exact single servings are handy, the Mickey bottle comes in useful.
Do venues like stadiums allow Mickeys?
Many venues prohibit outside alcohol and will not allow Mickeys or other outside liquor bottles. However, some lax security or methods like concealment in boots can allow determined fans to sneak them in.
What cocktails work well in a Mickey bottle?
Some cocktails that work well in a 375mL Mickey bottle include:
|Tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice
|Vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, lime juice
|Bourbon, bitters, sugar
|Vodka, tomato juice, spices
|Vodka, ginger beer, lime
|Rum, soda water, lime, mint
The individual serving size and resealable bottle work well for taking cocktails on the go.
What is the easiest cocktail to make in a Mickey?
One of the easiest cocktails to make in a Mickey bottle is a simple mixed drink like whiskey or vodka with cola, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, etc. Simply pour the desired amounts of liquor and mixer directly into the bottle to make a convenient ready-to-drink cocktail.
Can you reuse an empty Mickey bottle?
Empty Mickey bottles can absolutely be reused and repurposed. Here are some creative ways to reuse a Mickey:
- Make a candle by filling with wax and adding a wick
- Crafts like cut flowers, terrariums, or pen/pencil holders
- Water bottle for workouts, travel, or events
- Oil and vinegar containers
- Pancake batter dispenser
- Make a Mickey bottle piggy bank
Are Mickeys collectible items?
For some liquor enthusiasts, collecting empty Mickey bottles can be a hobby, especially bottles from rare, limited edition, or fancy spirits. Limited edition Mickeys often have appealing, artistic bottle designs. Some collectors display empties on shelves, while others re-fill rare bottles with less expensive liquor for display purposes. Full, unopened Mickeys containing premium liquor can also be collectible.
What are some fun, interesting facts about Mickeys?
- Mickey bottles first appeared in the late 1800s but got their nickname in the 1920s.
- They were illegal during Prohibition – but that only increased their street popularity.
- Mickeys are sometimes called “pocket beer” in reference to their portability.
- Among collectors, the 1955 Mickey of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is one of the most coveted.
- Various shaped Mickeys exist – like a machine gun Mickey made to promote a video game.
- In the Netherlands, Mickeys used for jenever (gin) are affectionately called “vaasje”.
- Plastic Mickeys exist but glass is preferred for taste and reusability.
- In 2016, 2 Plymouth gin Mickeys sold at auction for over $525 each.
- Some high-end Mickeys come in gift boxes or velvet pouches.
Where can you buy Mickey/Flask bottles?
You can buy empty Mickey/Flask bottles from various sources:
- Liquor stores – often sell empties
- Bar supply shops
- Online – search for “375mL empty liquor bottles”
- eBay or Etsy – vintage and collectible Mickeys
- Homebrew stores – for DIY projects
Buying full, pre-filled Mickeys depends on local liquor laws. In some US states, stores can sell individual bottles. Elsewhere, a full liquor bottle might require purchasing a larger size first.
How much does an empty Mickey bottle cost?
Pricing can vary based on the bottle source and quality, but typical ranges are:
- Basic empty plastic Mickey – $2 to $4
- Decent glass empty Mickey – $3 to $6
- Premium or collectible empty – $8 to $15+
Bulk purchases of empties tend to cost less per bottle. Vintage, limited edition, or specially shaped Mickeys run higher.
How much is a full 375mL Mickey of liquor?
Pricing of a full 375mL Mickey depends heavily on the brand and quality of liquor inside. Entry-level and well liquor Mickeys may run $5 and up. Premium or top-shelf liquor in a Mickey could range from $15 to $50+ in some cases. Pricing also depends on local taxes and markups.
Is it legal to reuse or refill Mickey bottles?
It is generally illegal in the US, Canada, and many other places to reuse or refill an empty Mickey bottle that originally contained a branded liquor product. This qualifies as trademark infringement against the liquor company. Some breweries also forbid reuse of their bottles. It is safest to reuse Mickeys for non-alcoholic purposes, or refill with your own homebrew or unlabeled creations.
Can you carry unopened Mickeys in public legally?
Regulations can vary, but in most cases it is legal to transport unopened Mickey bottles of alcohol in public, as long as open container laws are followed. However, venues, vehicles, or events may prohibit them based on policy. Discreetly concealing the Mickeys in a bag or jacket is still a good idea to avoid hassles.
The iconic 375mL “Mickey” liquor bottle has developed an interesting history and reputation over the decades. While the origins are hazy, its compact size made it popular for Prohibition-era bootleggers. Today, revelers continue to appreciate the Mickey for discrete transport and exact single servings of spirits. Empty Mickeys also have artistic appeal for crafters and collectors. Their distinctive shape lives on in shot glasses, necklaces, and other novelty items. The next time you see someone discretely sipping from a stubby flask bottle, you’ll know they are enjoying a “Mickey” of their favorite liquor.