The once used Pilgrim Bottle was closer in design to our modern day flasks. These were made of earthenware, glass, porcelain or leather and were highly decorated. The pilgrim bottle was flat on one side and bowed out on the other so it would sit up against the body or saddle. Loop holes on either side of the bottle provided a way to suspend it from around the neck, shoulder or saddle. They had corks for tops and were usually used for carrying water, religious gear (like holy water and oil) or other precious metals.
As technology advanced, so did the hip flask. In the 1920s when alcohol was banned, the design of the flask was changed and gained popularity. The now more familiar slim design of the hip flask was easily hidden from the prying eyes of the lawman, so they were used more and more.
Materials such as pewter and silver made their way into the hip flasks and can still be purchased today; however they are more of a collectable now than used for its intended purpose.
Now that we know where flasks came from, lets look at some of the funkiest flasks on the market today. They're not traditional and will definitely give you some pause for thought.
The Camera Flask: Say cheese and take a belt out of this small flask made to look exactly like a camera. It's made out of pewter and the lid is where a flash would normally be. You may not fool security with this one, but at least it will give them something to talk about.
The Brandy Smuggler Cane: This cane serves a dual purpose with a narrow flask inserted through the cane. Just pop the handle off and fill it with your favorite beverage. The cane is useable as an aid for walking, even after the drink is gone.
The Barnoculars: Made to resemble real binoculars, this unique flask holds liquor in both its eyepieces. Not great for birding or being inconspicuous at sporting events.
The Keychain Flask: Flasks are now made to fit on your keychain. Though it won't hold a lot of alcohol, it may still be enough to land you in hot water with the highway patrolman.
What to look for in a Flask
Whether you are buying a flask, for a novelty or an impressive gift, there are a number of things you should consider. First, who is the person you're buying it for? Will they use it for a show piece or for its intended purpose? If it's for display, then seeking out an antique or an unusually designed flask can make a lasting impression. If your recipient will use the flask then be sure to find one that will fit into his/her pocket and sit flush with their person.
Flasks should also be equipped with screw tops that are attached. There's nothing worse than dropping the lid behind the bleachers at a sporting event, then having to go look for it.
Another thing to keep in mind is what the flask is made from. If the material is too pliable, then you run the risk of sitting on the flask, damaging it and possibly ruining the entire structure or injuring yourself. - glass flasks are highly breakable, so extra care has to afforded to this material when it's in use.
What is it made from?
The two most popular materials flasks are made from is stainless steel and pewter. Both of these offer advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless steel is cheaper to use and is very durable. It is also resistant to rust and corrosion. It is easy to clean and come in a variety of styles and colors. Stainless steel flasks stay shiny and can often be covered in other materials, such as leather, or can be engraved with patterns.
Pewter flasks tend to be more expensive, but a great investment. They are stylish and chic, making a lasting item for generations to come. Pewter also will maintain the alcohol at the right temperature and does not have the metallic taste of metal. However, one drawback to pewter is it's not as durable as stainless steel.
Another important thing to remember is to never drink from an old pewter flask. Back in the day these were made from lead, which can be toxic to the system.
Cleaning your flask
Never use soap and water in a flask. The soap molecules will adhere to the inside and taint the taste of you alcohol.
When you first purchase a new flask, it's recommended that you rinse it with hot water. If you feel this isn't enough, then equal parts of water and vinegar may be used. Heat then pour this mixture into the flask. Screw the lid on and shake vigorously. Rinse repeatedly until no smell of vinegar remains. Let stand to air dry.
Also, do not leave alcohol in your flask for more than three days. It will begin to take on a metallic taste.
Whether you buy a classic flask or go with something more outrageous, they are sure to bring you many hours of sipping celebration pleasure. Armed with knowledge and proper care of your flask, you should be able to enjoy it for years to come. And remember to drink responsibly.