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Alcademics

Cocktails, Spirits, Science, and. kind of a lot about Ice.

Bartenders Beware the Bright Orange Batch Bucket

February 13, 2017

I’m delighted to see increased awareness of proper food handling and safety in the bartending community, but we still have a way to go. I continue to learn as well.

One issue that came to light recently is the use of non-food-grade buckets for batching cocktails. Five-gallon buckets with lids are light, stackable, portable, and reusable, and have become an industry standard for use at big cocktail conferences and events.

However, some buckets are designated as safe for food handling, and others are not. Probably the most commonly misused bucket is the Home Depot “Homer” bucket in its signature bright orange color. These are not rated safe for handling food.

How Dangerous Are They Really?

How much damage can using this bucket cause? I can’t say with any certainty, but alcohol is an excellent solvent that can leach chemicals out of plastic- and this plastic is dyed orange, while food-safe buckets always seem to be colorless.

Some bartenders have commented that it’s the same type of plastic as buckets rated food-grade, so what gives? Avery Glasser of Bittermens Bitters makes a great point when he says, “Regarding HDPE#2, the resin is food safe, but the dye, the lubricants and the chemical cleaners they use on the line could be mutagenic, carcinogenic or cause renal issues. Some flush out with urine, some stick to your internal fat. That’s why the resin isn’t the indicator for food contact safety, it’s the international food safe symbol.”

He continues, “Think of it like a piece of oak. Inherently, it’s safe to use as a cutting board, but the varnish or stain they use could be hazardous. “

An Easy Solution

On the plus side, when these buckets are used for cocktails they’re not typically used for full-strength or high-proof spirits alone, and get watered down with other cocktail ingredients and kept cool with ice. This will slow down any chemical extraction. Also at events, the booze doesn’t sit around too long in the buckets before use, leaching out chemicals over a long period of time.

Based on this, my guess is that you don’t need to panic if you’ve had drinks made in orange buckets, or if you’ve made them in the past. (I’ve probably had hundreds of them.)

But it’s a learning curve. Going forward, let’s do our best to eliminate non-food-grade plastics at cocktail events.

The good news is that the same Home Depot that sells the orange buckets we’re avoiding also sells five-gallon food-safe buckets! (Perhaps not in the store, but if you order online they’ll deliver it to your local store.)

A note of warning about using non-food-safe plastics to batch cocktails.

Home Depot: 2-Gallon Buckets Only $1

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If you missed my post this morning, You may still be able to get in on this great deal on buckets! Select Home Depot locations are offering up 2-gallon Homer Paint Buckets for just $1, plus possible free in-store pick up – if available near you. Just type in your zip code to see.

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Comments 33

I had a 5 gift card for HD so I got 4 buckets for free thank you.

They also sell lids for $2.18

Do we know if it comes with a lid?

No, lids are almost always separate on these

I ordered one for my husband he just said he needed one… Thanks

Perfect! You’re welcome Lisa!

the 5 gallon buckets at home depot are great for storing homemade laundry detergent

Thanks you just gave me a good reason to buy one! 😊

Great tip! Thanks for sharing!

My sire had about 30. I bought 15. Good for yard work when planting and mixing dirt. Also for home projects like mixing cement motor or grout. And for a buck I don’t feel bad about just throwing it out instead of cleaning it

Great ideas Sergio! Thanks for your feedback!

Would this be tacky to use as a mans gift basket and fill it with tools and snacks?

thats a great idea Amy!

Sounds like a great idea to me Amy!

Omg… GREAT idea! Love it

Awesome idea Amy!

Not tacky at all! More useful, for sure!

Not at all. Use it instead of a stocking lol

Amy see my post below!

These are awesome for growing bush beans, peppers, or tomatoes! Also, read on Pinterest that you could grow potatoes in them too.

They also have a mini insert made by Husky like the big buckets – so you can make it like a little tool bucket! It’s like a sleeve that drops and hangs over the bucket with pockets- I’m shocked we don’t carry these year round they are so cute! The mini insert was a new thing we had this year!

wow im glad I got one of these for free at a local home show has been very useful

I bought 10 and will use these in lieu of gift bags for my husbands side of the family who are all very handy and DIY on everything! Thanks Colin

I ordered 10 we have a small farm and can use them to tote feed, and to hang as water buckets in birthing stalls.

thank you for the heads up! i just ordered the last one available for store pick up at my local store……my hubby ALWAYS needs buckets!

It says my store has limited quantities and won’t let me add even one to cart. Is this price a a Ike in store as well?

It says my store has limited quantities and won’t even let me add one to cart. Is this deal available in store? Could I get them in store?

I ordered the 4 my store had in stock but my order was cancelled. Just like the ladder. Bummer.

My store had these for a dollar. Unfortunate for those that can’t find any. All the surrounding stores on my area have 50 one even had 147 according to website

Home Depot: 2-Gallon Buckets Only $1 Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here. Share this: Click to share on ]]>