NYPD says this empty bottle of mineral water was a Molotov Cocktail

Agreed! The fact it’s a water bottle has no bearing on its likelihood of being a Molotov cocktail. (It does, however, make for a much more ironic Molotov cocktail.)

A glass bottle is a glass bottle as far as MC makers are concerned.

See, I feel like there are two kinds of “MC Makers” —

  • Completely improvisational, spur-of-the-moment, "fuck it, grab a wine bottle and let’s go
  • Someone very deliberately planning to instigate violence (for whatever reason)

For the first group, I could see them using a glass bottle generally as a weapon. But if you were in that desperate impulse moment, I don’t think you’d be trying to fill up a random bottle with a funnel — you’d probably turn to another method of improvisational attack, like throwing that bottle at a cop. And if you’re at a point where you’re doing that anyway, it’s probably just as easy to smash and grab an actual liquor bottle from a nearby store, if you were really determined to go full Molotov.

For the second group, I think others have pointed out that Topo bottles are not only inconvenient to refill, but they’re also surprisingly durable. If you’re planning a Molotov cocktail insurgency, you want to fill up a lot of bottles quickly, and you want those bottles to shatter easily to take advantage of the shrapnel. And if you’re already giving this enough foresight that you’re filling up these bottles ahead of time, I’m going to assume your frantic mind is thinking VERY deliberately about your strategy, which means thinking through the aforementioned shrapnel considerations.

To be fair, I’m a pacifist, so I could be off-base, having never really considered the practical logistics of molotov cocktails! But I’ve had enough conversations with insurgents of various kinds, that this is all makes sense to me.


That seems like a good analysis, Thom.

(From a pacifist to someone else with limited practical experience.) :wink:

(To be honest, I probably would never have commented if the inconvenience, unsuitability, durability etc. of Topo bottles for this purpose had been made clearer at the outset, rather than the focus being merely on it being a water bottle, as if that were the main concern.)


I think it would be wrong to assume that protesters are necessarily familiar with the finer points of Molotov cocktail, excuse me, “expedient anti-armor device” design. And you use what comes to hand; they may not have had the time to go hunting for a more suitable bottle.

You have to admire the optimism, though, of showing up with a bottle-and-wick and just hoping you’d find some flammable liquid to fill it. It’s like that joke about “If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had any eggs.” When it’s insurrection time, no points are awarded for partial completion of the assignment.

"Sometimes, I think about … cocktails …
Update Molotov’s recipe.
Forget the gravel ballast, and stink of benzene.
Use rice and kerosene
A major change of scene
Like 1917
With people … before … machines."
– “Brown Rice & Kerosene”, Redgum

You want it to be easy to throw though. That long neck is a perfect handle, and a topo chico bottle is weighted to just fly in a beautiful arc.

I don’t know if it’s what the police claim it is, but it doesn’t look empty to me. Unless there’s some weird structure to that bottle, it looks like there is a waterline roughly even with the name on the label.

It’s clear liquid, so it still doesn’t look like gas or another useful fuel.


I tried to make a moltov cocktail when I was a kid. I used a pull tab Pepsi can, gasoline, and a rag found on the street. To my surprise there was no earth shattering kaboom. :frowning:

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