Six of the best drinks to carry in a hipflask
Since we’re incarcerated for the forseeable future with only a daily walk as light relief it struck me we need to go back to the days when people carried a hipflask of something warm and sustaining, particularly given the current icy conditions.
If you haven’t already got one you might even find one in the sales or give yourself one as a post Christmas present. Aspinall has some very classy ones (apart from the Union Jack version) for £49 at the moment although I’m not sure why they’re labelled ‘Men’s Collection’. Women have hips too.
Farrar & Tanner also has a wide selection including a Barbour hipflask that’s on offer at the time of writing at £20
What to pour in it? Well it has to be strong, warming and even fiery. It’s just a quick nip, after all, not a long drink. Here are my top six candidates.
Six drinks to pour in your hipflask
Possibly the best ever drink for a hip flask not least because it was specifically created by Berry Bros for King Edward VII when he went out on his morning rides. It’s also been rather beautifully rebottled with more lemon than I remember. It IS very gingery though although that is rather the point.
Stone’s - or Crabbie’s - Ginger Wine
A cheaper and more widely available choice. I like the Stone’s Special Reserve £7.50 at Waitrose which at 18% is still strong enough to perk you up on the coldest of days. Or you could always go for the basic ‘original’ 13.5% version as a whisky mac - 50/50 or 60/40 whisky to ginger wine depending on your taste.
Mother Root Ginger Switchel £19 for 480ml (16 serves)
This alcohol-free mixture of ginger, apple cider vinegar and honey would be a good option if you don’t drink or are doing dry January. It’s designed to be diluted but would be fine with just a drop of water.
Sloe (or damson) gin
Sweet, warming and plummy - a great option if you’re not into ginger. Particularly delicious if it’s home made (a neighbour has been giving me some of hers) but almost every distiller who does a range of flavoured gins has one (try Warners or Sipsmith’s)
Sherry cask-aged whisky
I’m a fan of peaty whiskies myself but have to admit they’re better suited to a fireside than a flask. I’d go for a richer sherry cask-aged style for the extra warmth - The Macallan 12 year old if you’re feeling flush or have a lockdown birthday to celebrate, Lidl’s medal-winning Abrachan at just £17.49 if you’re not.
Actually any kind of brandy would do the job* but Spanish brandy is somehow warmer more generous and fruitier than cognac or armagnac. Cheaper too. There’s even one called Soberano which is a bit of a laugh. You can buy it for £15 from Asda and Morrisons. Stepping up a bit, the Torres 10 Gran Reserva - at £21.13 from Master of Malt - is worth a place in anyone's flask.
* Such as cider brandy or calvados for example which I should arguably have included but this list would become unhelpfully long if I incorporated everyone's favourite drink. Should you fancy the idea I'd go for the rather charming Somereset Cider Brandy 3 y.o.
See also 10 tips for cold weather drinking
Top photo by Vitezslav Malina at shutterstock.com
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