The hip flask. Very few gentlemen's accessories have such a storied history or elicit such strong opinions as this little gem. To begin, we will make this clear:
We do not condone drunkenness. A gentleman knows his limits, some can drink nothing, some can drink a lot. We don't judge until you lose control - at that point, you are not a gentleman. We also understand the dreadful disease that is alcoholism. If you routinely lose control, please get help - here is a great place to start.
To the history then. Since men started to distill spirits for drinking, the portable personal container containing said liquid has been ubiquitous among gentlemen. It was common in Victorian England, and during the 1920's in that country a hip flask was de rigueur for gentleman in social situations. Hip flask circulation reached it's peak in Prohibition era USA for obvious reasons - sometimes being sold as 'cooking oil containers' and the like to get around the authorities!
There are many reasons a gentleman would carry a hip flask, we will discuss a few of them here. Be aware that in some countries it is illegal to drink or have an open container in a public place.
From the traditional grouse shoot to fishing for trout in the chilly weather, gentlemen know the refreshing and stimulating benefits of having a small amount of their preferred spirit to hand. If you are with friends, be sure to pass it around - another great advantage of the hip flask is it can be a gateway to conviviality in adverse circumstances! On a walk in the countryside or a long tramp you will be pleased to rest at your final location with a few sips from your flask. It really is a must-have for the outdoors loving gentleman.
Be careful here - a gentleman will know whether it is suitable for the situation or not. As a rule, if alcohol is being served it is bad form to bring out your own flask. However a meeting in the park with friends or a beach party is a different story, but once again - share, share, share! To quietly drink it all on your own may provoke some sideways glances...
Every Day Carry
Some gentlemen carry a hip flask as a part of their every day kit. We think that this is not a bad idea at all. A traditional gentleman is prepared for every exigency. There are many episodes in our life where a sip would ad colour and warmth, where sharing with with a friend stimulates conversation and bonhomie. Another aspect is the less pleasant side - a shot of whisky is useful (not necessarily for oneself) in times of emergency or sadness.
Types of Hip Flask
The stainless steel hip flask is robust, well priced and easy to come by. It is the ideal choice for every day carry and is easy to clean. This is the working hip flask. Not showy but useful and reliable - a great staring point.
Wrapping stainless steel in leather adds instant appeal to a hip flask. This style is excellently suited to the sporting gentleman who wants to partake while on a shoot or fishing. All the practicality of stainless steel with added style - how can you lose?
Pewter is a beautiful metal that holds a brilliant mirror finish. A pewter hip flask is a keepsake and a lovely piece of art - they are fairly highly priced but you will not regret the investment. Go for one made in England or Ireland...
Need we say anything? The ultimate gentleman's flask. An heirloom, and a functional piece of beauty.
We hope we have been informative and helpful with this post. The pictures are affiliate links - we would greatly appreciate you using them if you are thinking of purchasing this classic gentleman's accessory that has history, functionality and beauty combined.