The Hip Flask is taken for granted nowadays, however it has a hidden brilliance that is hard to ignore!
The Hip Flask as we know it first appeared back in the Georgian era of the 17 to early 1800's, but grew in popularity during the Victorian era. It would be filled with various alcohol to keep warm whilst hunting, fishing or shooting.
Hip flasks are normally thin and curved to allow for better concealment. If placed in a back pocket or waistband the curve fits perfectly against the users hip, thigh and backside. Even if hiding the flask in a sock or boot the curved design would allow for a comfortable hiding spot fitting snugly against the ankle. Previously Hip Flasks were made from pewter, silver or even glass whereas these days materials such as 100% stainless steel and even plastic are much more common.
The preferred material used for Hip Flasks were originally silver as unlike the cheaper materials it would not leave a metallic aftertaste. Some people even believed that the silver container made the drink taste better as silver is known to cleanse ionized liquids.
Throughout history there have been a variety of slightly less compact versions. In the middle ages people would cut out the centre of fruit and then fill up the shell with alcohol. Even in the 18th century those not of gentry had their own ways of carrying alcohol around with them. Women would fill pig bladders with gin and smuggle them onto British warships under their petticoats for the sailors. In the 18th century the flasks would normally have a slide of bottom to take the place of a tumbler. The original hip flasks were associated with the religious Holy Land and were roughly similar to their modern counterparts but would normally have a ring on the outside that would allow a chain or leather strap to be worn around the body or saddle.
A standard hip flask normally only holds the equivalent of 4-5 pub measurements so you are unlikely to become drunk off the contents of the flask. This differs from the popular opinion that many drunks use Hip Flasks as an accessory. Hip Flasks are perfect for sharing and also for making suitable toasts.
Depending on where you live it can be illegal to carry hip flasks around due to “open container” laws and public drinking. In Edinburgh you are free to drink in public but must listen if a police officer asks you to put it away. Meanwhile in St Andrews, only 50 miles north of Edinburgh you will be fined on the spot for public drinking!
Hip flasks are a great idea for gifts and are usually given by grooms to their best man and groomsmen. It is even becoming more popular for women to also give them to her bridesmaids!
At the Scotland Kilt Company we have a wide range of hip flasks. From tartan covered flasks which are perfect for gifts, to more traditional Scottish designs including stags and Celtic crosses and even Harris tweed covered flasks. These range from 5oz to larger 10oz flasks. We also have smaller 1oz key-ring Hip Flasks for those that may like to add an extra little something to their coffee.
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Don't forget to visit our website - www.thescotlandkiltcompany.co.uk to see our full range of Hip Flasks!