One accessory that a true international gentleman should never be without, is a hip flask. Nothing shows class and character quite like a perfectly timed sip from a handsome flask. Like the boyscouts motto says “be prepared.” However, like most fashion, there is a fine line between fashionable and faux-pas. Between gentleman, and booze-hound. Between suave party-goer, and churlish punch-spiker. Between urbane man-about-town and brash wannabe frat boy. So, for the sake of our fellow gentlemen, we have compiled a list of basic flask etiquette. In addition you’ll get a few recommendations from each of us on what’s best to put in your flask.
But first a bit of History. The hip flask most likely evolved from the ancient Pilgrim Bottle. These were bottle like containers usually made of earthenware, porcelain, silver, and glass, and also in more perishable materials such as leather, and were usually ornately decorated. They were flat on one side and round or pear shaped on the other so as to sit flush with the body or with a saddle. Loop holes on either side of the bottleneck, allowed the bottle to be suspended around the neck, shoulder, or saddle without causing the cork to come loose. These bottles originally carried water for travelers, but during the crusades were also used to carry religious relics, holy water and oil, or other precious materials.
Flasks became most popular during the Victorian period and were usually made of solid silver, somtimes with glass or leather accents. These were normally used to hold liquors to keep one warm whilst hunting, fishing, camping, et al. During that period typical flask contents were (but were not strictly limited to) various types of whisky, brandy, or Sloe Gin, as well as mixtures of all of the above.
While some percieve the flask as a drunkard’s accessory, this preconception could not be more false. Flasks almost never hold enough liquor to cause the owner to become overly-intoxicated. This misconception likely came to rise during the Edwardian period in England, as temperance movements were gaining popularity, as well as during the prohibition era in American history for simialr reasons. Normally the liquor contained in the flask is shared for toasting amongst a few friends, or drank discreetly when carrying a full bottle would be inappropriate.
Now Down to the Do’s and Dont’s:
S&S Commentator Hip Flask Recommendations:
Creswell: Jamesons 12 year, Johnny Black, Highland Park, Blantons Single Barrel Bourbon. When choosing, go with flavor over aroma or appearance. Whiskys with thick or oily mouthfeels will last longer.
Bertrum: My favourite, would have to be a lighter whisky, Macallan’s fine oak.
Connelly: Jamesons, Bushmills