What do put in your hip flask?
February 22, 2005 8:25 PM   Subscribe

What do you put in your hip flask? I will soon attend an event that would benefit from a pocketful of liquor, but can't settle on a spirit.

I normally prefer to sip chilled vodka... I'm just not used to surreptitiously swigging body-temperature booze. I'm leaning toward whisky, but thought I'd look here for suggestions before commiting.
posted by Eamon to Food & Drink (65 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd probably stick with the stereotypical Jack Daniels. I mean, it's a stereotype for a reason.
posted by amandaudoff at 8:28 PM on February 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Southern Comfort.
posted by sid at 8:30 PM on February 22, 2005

posted by SpecialK at 8:30 PM on February 22, 2005

Two words: Jack Daniels.
posted by idest at 8:34 PM on February 22, 2005

Bacardi 151. You only have so much room in a flask - make the most of it.
posted by ecrivain at 8:36 PM on February 22, 2005

I use a wineskin instead and keep porto in it when I go skiing.

Some offhand flask advice for you though: I've been told to avoid putting mixes that involve juice in it as they are difficult to clean and can damage the flask. I've also been told that nothing should stay in a flask for more than 5 days, although if it's been in there that long you probably don't need a flask anyway.
posted by furtive at 8:45 PM on February 22, 2005

Jack Daniels. I mean, Jack Daniels. C'mon.
posted by rooftop secrets at 8:58 PM on February 22, 2005

Another vote, admittedly influenced by a series of strange cult-like traditional ceremonies, for Southern Comfort.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:01 PM on February 22, 2005

Scotch or brandy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:03 PM on February 22, 2005

I would agree with ecrivian that space is of the essence. I carry a Chinese bai jiu that at 44% or 88 proof is sufficient. It also has the lovely name of Forgood which I think is a reference to what it does to your liver.

As a former bartender and professional drinker I would avoid SoCo due to the sweet headache inducing properties. Unless you drive an '84 Camaro.
posted by geekyguy at 9:08 PM on February 22, 2005

Jack Daniels. No mixers. Ick.
posted by ColdChef at 9:18 PM on February 22, 2005

I second the scotch suggestion, but any whiskey would probably suffice.
posted by me3dia at 9:34 PM on February 22, 2005

Definitely whiskey. Picture someone taking a pull from a flask. What are they taking a pull of? Whiskey.
Whiskey is better without mixers. It is good neat, and very tolerable warmed in the pocket. A flask of it can keep you feeling warm for quite a while.
And by "whiskey," I mean Jack Daniel's. I'm a Squire, after all.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:45 PM on February 22, 2005

A wee drop,or two, of the Macallan.
posted by caddis at 9:45 PM on February 22, 2005

Bourbon. I like Jim Beam, but Jack Daniels is good -- especially if you're going to run into Slash. If you want to mess people up, go with Booker's.
posted by subgenius at 9:49 PM on February 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

God, I love my flask. Seriously. And it's always straight whiskey or Jack Daniels.
posted by Zosia Blue at 9:52 PM on February 22, 2005

Peppermint schnapps is surprisingly good in a room-temperature flask.

That said, I like Jack Daniel's myself.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:02 PM on February 22, 2005

Maker's Mark. Good bourbon and affordable, too.
posted by immer geradeaus at 10:05 PM on February 22, 2005

Jack or Maker's. No question.
posted by scody at 10:06 PM on February 22, 2005

If surreptitious swigging is the task at hand, you might want to consider odor strength and stay away from whiskey (which I can usually smell from a few feet away). In similar situations, I go for a clear liquor with a weak or no smell.
posted by mediareport at 10:30 PM on February 22, 2005

posted by Hankins at 10:34 PM on February 22, 2005

Jack or Maker's. No question.

That's what I use and recommend.
posted by j.edwards at 10:38 PM on February 22, 2005

Knob Creek. You can find 750ml bottles for $19 - not bad at all if you're not using it too quickly. It’s strong enough (90 proof) without being gutrot, and the warmth frrom your pocket actually sort of brings out the flavor. It's been my weapon of choice for expensive-ish parties.

Jack Daniels would be fine, too, but it doesn't have the word "Knob" in its name. Or Jim Beam Black. Mmmm. As for Maker's, for some reason I'm not the hugest fan...it tastes a little watery to me.

On the other hand, if you don't like whiskey - BUT YOU SHOULD! - you could try some brandy.

Hum. Now I wish I had pretty much anything I've mentioned around.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 PM on February 22, 2005

Gentlemen! If discretion is in order, it is always to be remembered that vodka is not detectable on the breath. Otherwise, 151 is a good suggestion since rum plays well with most mixers. Sneaky drinking is the best kind of drinking.
posted by LarryC at 10:41 PM on February 22, 2005

It's abhorrent to many, but depending on how drunk you want to be there's no reason not to mix a cocktail (GnT, CaptainnCoke, AbsolutnTonic) for the ride.

I got throught long train-rides in Japan doing this.

But as mentioned, hard to beat Jack Daniels.
posted by bardic at 10:41 PM on February 22, 2005

I'll third the SoCo.

I hope I'm not intruding too much on the original question here, but I suspect my flask has rusted on the inside. It's hard to tell. Do they rust? How do you clean them, or do you? Should you switch your spirits, or stick to the same poison?
posted by hellbient at 10:51 PM on February 22, 2005

Ooh, be careful then. I have some beautiful flasks from my grandfather, but I'd never drink out of them. You could get sick, or worse. Make sure they're properly lined if you actually want to use them.
posted by bardic at 10:57 PM on February 22, 2005

Vodka is the way to go if you're going for stealth. You can drink vodka (mixed with cranberry juice or grape juice) right in front of people and they won't know what's going on. It's beautiful in a way.
posted by nixerman at 11:06 PM on February 22, 2005

powers gold label. or maker's mark.

the rule is, don't keep anything in it for more than 3 days straight. rinse with water (and then vodka).
posted by dorian at 11:10 PM on February 22, 2005

posted by crunchland at 11:44 PM on February 22, 2005

posted by johnjoe at 1:22 AM on February 23, 2005

A flask that holds a few shots of Patron Anejo Tequila will guarantee you'll have a good time at this event. And before anyone scoffs at tequila, I ask you, "have you ever had Patron?". This stuff is smooooth. Not odorless so be sure to bring a stick a gum.
posted by quadog at 1:29 AM on February 23, 2005

El Tesoro Paradiso makes for a long lasting flask. So good, to gulp it would be sinful.
posted by pmbuko at 1:46 AM on February 23, 2005

bourbon is the way one ends things. everything else is child's play.
posted by theatrical matriarch at 2:17 AM on February 23, 2005

Whiskey, whatever one you like the most. I avoid sweet drinks at the best of times and if the only thing I've got is my flask then sweet drinks would be a mistake.
posted by substrate at 3:04 AM on February 23, 2005

Armagnac. The bolder, yet lesser known cousin of Cognac. Because you've gotta go with brandy. All those St Bernards can't be wrong.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:52 AM on February 23, 2005

I hate to break it to you about the breath thing, but even vodka can be smelled. It is a bit more discreet than other liquors, but any alcohol can be detected on the breath, both immediately after consumption (where vodka has an edge in discretion) and of course as it exits your bloodstream through your breathing (where all alcohol sources are equal).
posted by caddis at 4:23 AM on February 23, 2005

Anejo Rum.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:46 AM on February 23, 2005

I'm gonna add my voice to the din: stick with the mid-cheap whiskeys. Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort and Maker's Mark are the big three.
posted by Plutor at 4:59 AM on February 23, 2005

geekyguy: You do mean an iroc camaro, right? ;)

As to the question, I'll sound off with another vote for Jack Daniels. Maker's Mark will do in a pinch. I also highly recommend Knob Creek. Not too pricey as far as bourbon goes, but damn tasty. It's in all four of my flasks right now.
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:41 AM on February 23, 2005

Don't get Jack Daniels, as they have reduced the alcohol content by a few proof, if thats a concern.

I prefer Jameson, as mentioned above, to JD. A few more excellent, smooth options are Johnny Walker Black (expensive) or Bushmills (reasonably priced).

In terms of drinkability (straight, we're assuming), I'd rank it:

1. Jameson
2. Bushmills (but a very close 2nd)
3. Johnny Walker Black Label
4. Crown Royal
5. Jim Beam
6. Johnny Walker Red Label
7. Knob Creek
8. Jack Daniels
18. Southern Comfort (don't drink this trash)

Drinkability in my ranking concerns taste, how much it burns relative to that, and how well it sits in the stomach. Its hard to go wrong with a good whiskey, and you can use water as a chaser. Or you can surrepititiously pour it into your coffee.

But vodka is my drink of choice, and yours too, it seems. The problem is you are going to have trouble keeping it cold, and warm whisky is better than warm vodka. Even still, if you want a good, albeit expensive vodka to sip, try Ciroc. I can drink that straight, or one of the flavored Smirnoff brands isn't unbearable. There are a lot of solid mid-range vodka options that are all about the same quality.

Don't be afraid to try something else though, and if you have a really low tolerance you may want to try a coffee liquer such as a Kahlua (or cheap knockoff) or even a Baileys, which can be easily dropped in a coffee and will taste delicious, and will also smell the least suspicious.

no, I am not an alcoholic
posted by tweak at 5:45 AM on February 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

I bought a flask in 2002 and have enjoyed its company since. In my experience:

Although I prefer scotch when sipping at home, I don't feel this whiskey just didn't travel well, especially at body temperature.

Jack Daniels travelled much better and is acceptable, however...

Old Grandad travelled best. For some reason, the sweeter the whiskey, the better it travelled.

Brandy travelled well on dates and is better suited than whiskey for more formal occasions.

Rum was best when flasking to a movie date. Buy a coke, pop the lid, and pour it in. Guaranteed to make a happy camper of the lady sitting next to you.
posted by mischief at 5:51 AM on February 23, 2005

I don't know why everyone is championing Jack. Jack is like Jim's brash, overpriced brother. Jim Beam is cheap whiskey, true, but is far smoother and tastier than anything else even close to its price (even at pricier package stores here you can find it for $13 a fifth).

That said, if you're willing to spend a few (very few) extra bucks, go with Knob Creek, as others have mentioned. Excellent at body temperature, and 100 proof to boot.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:57 AM on February 23, 2005

When my sisters got married (two separate occasions), I asked my future brothers-in-law what they wanted me to have in the flask. Both gave me a "you have to ask?" look and told me Maker's Mark. So I guess that's a good one (well, I enjoyed it) for upscale things such as weddings.

The flask here on my desk is filled with Wild Turkey 101 - more bang for the buck.
posted by notsnot at 6:07 AM on February 23, 2005

Another voice for Jameson, here. After that Maker's Mark.
posted by safetyfork at 6:11 AM on February 23, 2005

Another vote for Knob Creek here. It doesn't cost that much more than Jack, and it's oh so much tastier.
posted by Prospero at 6:12 AM on February 23, 2005

Scotch or whisky are popular suggestions here, and, indeed, they're the most common thing to put in a flask. Vodka is a total cop-out.. but if you want the best of both worlds.. RUM! Rum is both a great drink on its own (unlike vodka) and a great mixer if it needs to be, so you can deal with the men and the ladies from one flask.
posted by wackybrit at 6:19 AM on February 23, 2005

And if you stick with the dark rum.. no-one need know the difference ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 6:24 AM on February 23, 2005

I gotta ask, since no one else has...what kind of an event will you be tippling at? I mean, tequila may be fine if you're sneaking hootch at a Jimmy Buffet concert, but whiskey's probably better at a funeral. So, what's the occasion?
posted by ColdChef at 6:37 AM on February 23, 2005

ooh yes, i triple second the Bushmills! it just seems like the perfect flask whiskey for all occasions! i picture with bushmills you'll feel stronger, your food will taste better, the world will seem sharper! at a funeral it will raise the dead, at a party it will help you root out the boredom! bushmills bushmills!

my second choice would be bacardi 151, because it tastes alright, can power a car or aircraft in a tight spot, and is generally regarded as a top level antiseptic. and there is definitely a good thing about the afformentioned proof per pocket theory.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:50 AM on February 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

I used to think that bourbon was the devil's own 3-day-old piss based on my experiences with JayDee. Then a friend gave me a sip of Knob Creek at New Year and I realized that it was the JD that was the stale evacuations from Old Nick's bladder.

I'd join the Knob Creek Crew if you want to go bourbon but if you want to stay classic to the whole hip flask ethos hunt out a decent single malt from Scotland.

Laphroaig (they used to do a special on it at Trader Joe's and I'm sure I've seen it at a Safeway in the US - not sure how you'll do for those in your part of Illinois) or Talisker are personal favourites but they do have a powerful smokey/peaty flavour that may be an acquired taste. (You'll probably acquire it 1/4th of the way down the flask ;-)

Lagavulin and Glenlivet are also great whiskies and more 'easy going'. Check out this link for purchases in the US.

Good quality scotch is great for a hip flask as you don't need to chug it down - you get the perfect 'nip' every time. See how you get on sipping in conjunction with a cup of water. A lot of whisky drinkers will add a splash of water to open up the flavour and having a cup of water to hand is a decent substitute when your using a hip flask.

Just don't go the low-grade, JD-type route. You're a man with a hip flask, not a water pistol!
posted by i_cola at 7:16 AM on February 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

Jim Beam, always.
posted by soplerfo at 7:21 AM on February 23, 2005

Subgenius, Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey, not a bourbon. (I'd go with brandy, or scotch.) (or ouzo and a bag of licorice candies for cover.)
posted by kenko at 7:36 AM on February 23, 2005

George Dickel, white label or Wild Turkey 101
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2005

Johnny Walker Black Label.
posted by five dollars worth of thank you cake at 7:54 AM on February 23, 2005

Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels?

Dude, spend the money and go all out. Fill that puppy with Lagavulin!

Now that's a whiskey...
posted by jdroth at 8:01 AM on February 23, 2005

If you're going to be mixing, Everclear will provide the most buzz for the limited space of a flask. However, mine is usually filled with Seagram's 7. It is a relatively inexpensive, smooth blend.
posted by gnz2001 at 9:01 AM on February 23, 2005

Personally, I can't stand whiskey, but I've had Calvados (specifically Boulard brand) served out of a hip flask and been very happy.
posted by plinth at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2005

Jameson, or Bushmills, if that's the way you swing. Otherwise, it's Maker's Mark or the Knob.
posted by majcher at 9:17 AM on February 23, 2005

Fill that puppy with Lagavulin!

I have a new friend!

Um, any good whisky is worthwhile. At my desk I have one flask filled with Laphroig and another with Balvenie Doublewood.

JD is just wretched whiskey, once you've drunk sufficient amounts of better stuff.
posted by norm at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2005

I love Lagavulin, but I think it'd be a bit intense in a flask, jdroth.

Jack Daniel's is utter trash and almost nondrinkable. Maker's Mark is in my flask right now, but that's just because I'd run out of Knob Creek when I filled it.

(Jameson's is also quite tolerable and tasty, and Armagnac is an inspired choice.)

I'd never heard this three/five-day rule before -- does the whiskey react with the flask?
posted by Vidiot at 9:52 AM on February 23, 2005

If I'm slipping it into coffee, Jamesons. If I'm drinking it straight, Wild Turkey, Makers or Jim Beam. I can't see vodka or rum in a flask, but then I'm not a big vodka person, ever, and I don't like rum straight, only mixed with something. I think a flask ought to have the option of straight.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2005

BTW, I keep a bottle of 100 proof Everclear to rinse my flask. I don't trust anything less due to the water content.
posted by mischief at 11:11 AM on February 23, 2005

err, 200 proof ^. duh!
posted by mischief at 2:35 PM on February 23, 2005

Wow, thanks for all the excellent suggestions. I intend to try all the new whiskeys and other spirits recommended here, but settled on a fifth of Bushmills to start. Tried some last night with a splash of water and found it delicious and smooth.

To answer ColdChef's question: A friend is putting together a show with several noise bands at a "nontraditional" venue Friday night. I'm expecting a brutal show, and this should help smooth the rough edges.
posted by Eamon at 7:20 AM on February 24, 2005

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