Few accoutrements of the serious drinker out-class the flask. Certainly, the flask can come in many forms for many modes, from the utilitarian plastic to the richly jewel-encrusted. And while you read (should you continue to read) feel free to focus upon your flask of choice. As for me, I will be thinking of the natty workhorse of the pantheon, a stainless steel number with simple lines, a slight curve, and a perfect fit for the inner pocket. Feel free to adorn it with a few simple lines or engraving. And while the cap that latches to the top may save you from misplacing your cap and the sides may boast some leather (see photo), I often prefer to take my chances, and my swigs, from the clean surface of a featureless spout free of such ingenious contrivances. Let’s face it, while not all of us are regularly in a position to reach inside one’s jacket and produce a Walther PPK, there is something very James Bond about drawing a flask from one’s inner pocket. Or even your back pocket in a bygone, a pre-cell phone era.
You can fill a flask with almost anything; it is a general purpose receptacle, after all. Unsurprisingly, I prefer to fill mine with whiskey. And as I’m only going to have a few ounces of the elixir, I tend to load it up with something hotter than your typical 80 proof. And call me a wastrel, but I do not skimp on quality just because the liquor is going to be bouncing about in a metal flask for an indeterminate amount of time and likely unceremoniously quaffed straight from the screw-lacing of the neck. Single malt, cask strength and more than likely from Scotland or Japan. Of course, a solid American rye or bourbon is no compromise either. I have occasionally stepped outside the mode… and I do have few flask-friendly cocktail recipes (as long as you have access to ice). But whisky travels better.
Traveling. That brings us to the raison d’être of the flask: mobile liquor. Should you find yourself inexplicably on a boat that has run dry, you and your closer compatriots are covered. Should you show up to the party and they’ve naught but beer and wine, you will have a head-start. And should the pub crawl take an unexpected or lengthy stroll between watering holes, you have an emergency supply to carry you through.
Is it an “open container” in an automobile? I do not know and I do not want to find out. Have a decade of feel-good, onerous airport security measures made you safer? Not really, but it sure has put a crimp in getting a full flask of quality spirit on a plane. Though I have rather enjoyed being instructed by airport security to empty my flask in the nearby bathroom… where I proceed to empty into my gullet. A shame no longer being able to sip from a quality flask during a trip through the skies, but a great way to start a 9:00 AM flight.
Raise your glass for the flask. And if you are raising a flask, high marks for you. Not only do you look cool and have people envying you, you are cool and look like you don’t give a damn about what people are thinking. –Nate