There are some times—the long walk from one bar to the next, the bitter cold day at the ball park—when a stiff drink is just about the best thing in the world. Be prepared for them. Carry a hip flask, and make good use of it. Sure, keeping a personal stash of hooch means you’ll be breaking some rules—and if you’re in public, any local open container laws—but the illicit nature of boozing on the sly is part of the appeal of the thing. The flask has a long and proud history of disreputable use dating back to the Middle Ages. If you’re worried about your newfound criminal side, just chalk it up to a respectful carrying-on of tradition.
And speaking of tradition, the best kind of flask is one that speaks to it. So whether it’s been handed down through your family for generations or not, yours should look like it could have been. Opt for something classic, with simple lines and a slight curve so it sits comfortably inside a pocket (like the one by Filson at right). In terms of materials, silver, glass, and pewter were favorites back in the day, but stainless steel is sturdier and easier to maintain if you’re buying new. Make sure the cap is attached so you don’t lose it after one too many swigs, and consider a leather casing if you like the look (it’ll shield your hands from the cold metal on a brisk day).
No matter what your flask is made of, be sure to fill it with a drink that’s worth a damn, and don’t be stingy with it. Soldiers in wartime used to pass around a flask to toast success wherever they found it. Show that same generosity to your female companion on the trek to the next bar, and you might just find some success of your own.