Hip flasks are made to be practical but that doesn't mean they can't be objects of desire as well. In fact, when buying one, you're as likely to be concentrating on how good it looks as well as how much warming liquor it can hold – two main factors that are going to sway you into making a purchase.
Exactly how you are likely to use a hip flask should also be a consideration, though. Do you really need a hip flask to look sophisticated when you're in the great outdoors or would a robust, unbreakable bottle be more preferable? Conversely, you're not going to want to whip out a hip flask better suited to a long hike when you're looking to get merry at a party or hoping to sneak one into a nightclub.
Indeed, in the latter case, size and shape will be of primary importance and, these days, hip flasks are not only designed to fit around your hip. There are lots that would slot well into a jacket pocket without bulging and others that are better suited for a bag – particularly good if you're going to be out for a day and likely to build up a thirst.
You should also think about the material a hip flask is made from. If you choose one that is stainless steel, then you'd be able to get it engraved with your name (or that of someone else if you're going to hand it over a gift). After all, many hip flasks are made for life so it's nice to lend it a personal touch.
KitchenCraft's BarCraft brand puts its name to a solid range of barware including this small yet stylish 140ml (5oz) bottle made of stainless steel with a polished copper finish. The screw-top flask's circular design resembles a classic perfume bottle and comes complete with a decanting funnel that will certainly help when filling up – after all, you won't want to spill a drop of whatever tipple you pour in there.
We certainly love that it would easily fit into a pocket or a handbag but, given its luxurious look, you may also want to show it off. It also claims to be anti-rust and backs that up with a five-year guarantee.
For anyone needing a robust hip flask that should last for many years, this stainless steel offering from Stanley is likely to suit most tastes. We like its clean look and generous size, allowing you to fill it with 230 millilitres (8oz) of liquid and, while it doesn't come with a funnel, its wide mouth should minimise any spills.
The machined steel cap comes with an attachment so that it can flip back, making it near-impossible to lose. Stanley also reckons the bottle is unbreakable and, just as importantly, leak free which, for booze-on-the go, is sure to take some beating.
Pewter is an attractive malleable metal alloy that has been used to produce household items since the Bronze Age. The English Pewter Company has been manufacturing pewter giftware in Sheffield since 1977 and this 6oz handmade hip flask is just one of the results.
We love the rounded-edge design and the nice touch of the small but elegant logo towards the top of the bottle. It also comes with a leather pouch that not only keeps the flask safe but adds a little extra elegance.
The hip flash is supplied within a chic cream and black presentation box making it an ideal present and it also includes a funnel for easier filling.
We make no apologies for including a second Stanley product here because we do love this adventure series hip flask. From the hammertone green, camouflage-like design that gives it a true outdoors feel to its 148ml (5oz) compact pocket size, we'd say it's going to be a perfect vessel for storing booze.
Since it has an integrated lanyard, you could be as adventurous as you like without fearing that the cap will fall off – something that may otherwise have you scrambling around in the grass. What's more, thanks to its leak proof design and wide mouth for filling (and pouring from), it also makes storing and using a breeze. It comes with a lifetime warranty too.
The classic styling of this stainless steel hip flask – which is wrapped in an artificial leather coated with polyurethane – certainly caught our eye. The bottle holds 230 millilitres (8oz) of liquid and the cap has been made to secure tightly, with the wrapping chosen for its non-slip properties.
More than that, however, we loved the long additional cap which fits over the entire top of the bottle. This contains three cups neatly stowed away so that you can easily share your tipple with friends and family in the most hygienic of ways while ensuring everyone gets a perfect measure. With a funnel for filling and pouring a good amount of liquid, it's certainly worth considering.