Enjoying vintage clothes, indie music and artisanal foods once set a pattern for being a hipster. But a consummate definition is hard to pinpoint, since what once was outside the norm often becomes socially mainstream. As rock-jazz-funk band Tower of Power sang in its 1973 hit “What Is Hip?”—”What’s hip today, might become passe.”
But maybe being a hipster today means returning to the original use of the term: a person who carries a flask, specifically a hip flask.
And if so, perhaps it’s also wise to follow, with a twist, the astute observation of W.C. Fields, the comedian renowned for his misanthropic persona: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of a snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.”
Flasks date to ancient times when travelers filled animal skin pouches with fermented grapes. Modern-day flasks date to Prohibition when thin, curved metal containers were used to conceal alcohol against the contours of a body—in a front or back pocket or against a leg or thigh.
Some flasks also have a “captive top,” a small “arm” that attaches the lid to the flask for safekeeping. Other types of flasks have small compartments to hold cigarettes, golf tees or a small pocketknife.
Vintage flasks are auction favorites. A mixed metal motif piece, made by Gotham, circa 1882, is available on sothebys.com for $4,500. A Tiffany & Co. sterling silver Spirit Flask, circa 1990, with elaborate engraving, is offered on 1stdibs.com for $4,794.60.
Here are a few flasks for discerning connoisseurs and their favorite beverages.
Jacob Bromwell, Mystic Topaz (pictured above)
Founder Jacob Bromwell’s signature is the logo for the more than 200-year-old company, the country’s oldest housewares supplier. It designs, manufactures, markets and distributes kitchenware, housewares … and fantastic flasks.
The Mystic Topaz features a blue and green patina, which conjures an air of history by making it look like a shipwreck find. A specialized treatment defined as “a proprietary hyper-aging process” replicates 30 years of oxidation.
The machined copper screw top guarantees a leak-proof seal. It holds 9 ounces and weighs 1 pound. Its dimensions: 3 by 1.5 by 5 inches. Hand wash only. The brand provides a lifetime guarantee on all its flasks.
Georg Jensen Sky Hip Flask
Georg Jensen was a Danish silversmith who founded the company that carries his name in Copenhagen in 1904. He died in 1935, leaving a legacy for craftsmanship most often associated with art nouveau. His company makes hollowware to watches, jewelry to home products, including this sculpture-like stainless steel hip flask.
Ergonomically designed, the flask’s shiny surface contrasts with the tactile leather strap. It’s simultaneously masculine and feminine. Despite its Danish heritage, the flask is made in China. Its dimensions: 3.01 by 5.72 by 1.1 inches. Available at Williams Sonoma in Naples, the Sky Hip Flask should be hand washed only.
Uncrate Teed Up Flask Golf Gift Set
It’s not necessary equipment, but a golf-themed flask complements the required clubs, balls and tees. In a nice touch, this gift set also includes some of the requisites—a ball marker, tees and a repair spike.
The flask is wrapped in pebble leather and has a snap strap for attaching it to a golf bag. It’s made from Smyth-sewn full-grain leather and is easily pocketable. It has holes for the included accessories, which also include a scorebook with sections for scores, hole details and extra notes that’s good for 56 rounds. Its dimensions: 3 by 1 by 5 inches.
And there’s the flask, the contents of which can help its owner to ease the frustration of an errant drive into the rough, a shanked fairway iron or a missed short birdie putt. Golf responsibly.
Graphic Image Flask
Founded 53 years ago by Bennett Glass, Graphic Image, based in Melville, New York, is known for its leather bookbinding as well as home and office accessories. But what’s a flask without leather wrapping?
How about a 6-ounce stainless-steel flask covered with crocodile-embossed leather? Available with other styles in Saks Fifth Avenue in Naples and Off Fifth Avenue in Estero, the Graphic Image offering is available in brown or black, made in the United States and hand washable only. Its dimensions: 3.5 by 1 by 5 inches.
A single letter or three-letter initial engraving costs an additional $10, and a matching leather set of two cocktail glasses another $78.