Admit it: Carrying a hip flask always seemed vaguely cool. In my case, I think it had to do with watching a lot of film-noir classics when I was young (personal favorite: Out of the Past starring Robert Mitchum). The idea of whipping out some beautifully designed container for a nip of a brown spirit seemed so romantic.
On reflection, it may have had more to do with the fact that I was underage and didn't have regular access to alcohol. Being able to go into a bar and have a drink whenever you feel like it, or having a well-stocked bar at home, pretty much mitigates the want of a flask. Until you see a really cool one.
Jacob Bromwell's Great American Flask is an extremely eye-catching copper drinking vessel. Although it looks like it belongs more in the hands of Gold Rush prospectors than those of trench-coat-wearing private dicks, this handmade object still brought up those old longings, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I filled it with some Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey I had lying around the office (I know, the job could be worse). I had my first swig on the way out the door and then I threw it in my bag for the trip home.
This is where things got tricky. Jacob Bromwell (the company, not the man) is so dedicated to period detail that it uses a historically accurate birch-wood stopper. Evidently, back in the day, the flask wasn't thrown in a messenger bag and taken for a ride on the New York City subway. So it leaked and I wound up smelling like a drunk, even though I'd had only the one sip. (For the record, the folks at Jacob Bromwell tell me that the seal improves over time and they are planning to include a cork stopper in future shipments as well.)
Later that night, I contemplated bringing it to a concert in the park and then realized I'd likely be patted down and have my lovely new flask confiscated. The next day, I carried it around with me (as upright as possible) but never took a sip. It turns out that it is not very productive to drink at work (Mad Men be damned) nor particularly safe to drink before riding one's bike home. In fact, trying to figure out a good time to use a flask is enough to drive a man to drink.
In the end, the Great American Flask has found a home on my desk, where it gets a lot of attention thanks to its distinctive old-timey look. I probably won't drink much from it, but I like knowing it's there—and full.
—Greg Emmanuel (@gemmanuel), articles editor at Details