Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray: Flask Cocktails

A true gentleman is someone whose mere presence effortlessly, subtly, and positively affects those with whom he interacts. This could be from something as small as opening the door for a female companion[1]or as grandiose as making a memorable toast (with just enough humor and self-deprecation) at a friend’s wedding. Simply put, a gentleman, without prompting, does something that raises the bar at the event. And the perfect gentleman accessory to assist with this task is a hip flask.

Whether you are camping, fishing, tailgating, or golfing (really any excuse to be outside with friends), you can make the activity even more memorable by pulling out your flask and passing it around (bonus: you will stand out for being the modern gentleman that you are[2]There are so many choices—engraved silver, pewter, leather-wrapped glass—that your flask should be a reflection of your personality; so choose wisely. And although you can fill the flask with a whisky, brandy, or port (all of which go great in a flask), take the opportunity to show off your learned epicurian skills by filling it with a crafted cocktail. Indeed, not only does it let your companions know that you thought about this moment ahead of time, but it will also give you an excuse to try a flask cocktail.

A flask cocktail is a cocktail that is made to be carried (and sipped) in a flask. The idea is to keep it simple but still sophisticated enough that the cocktail will taste like something you would serve a guest in your home. Start with a main spirit, such as brandy, rum, or whiskey, and add a modifier, either something sweet like Amaretto or Grand Marnier, or bitter like Campari. Vermouth and other fortified wines also work. Just do not use egg whites or cream since the drink will likely be in the sun for awhile, which means that the cocktail needs to be drinkable after it warms up to room temperature (i.e., not chilled). For starters, try this flask cocktail (remember to adjust the recipe for the size of your flask):

Rosemary Old Fashioned
2.5 oz. Rittenhouse rye whiskey
1 orange peel
½ oz. rosemary simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

To make the rosemary syrup, heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup demerara or plain sugar with a few rosemary sprigs. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and strain.
Express the oil from the orange peel into the rye and then drop them into the whiskey.
Add simple syrup and bitters.
**Stir over ice and transfer to a flask, using a funnel.

Chancellor Cocktail
1 ½ oz. Famous Grouse Scotch
½ oz. Dolin dry vermouth
½ oz. port (I prefer Noval Black)
1 dash Peychaud Bitters
Stir over ice and transfer to a flask, using a funnel

Grand Marnier Sidecar
2 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters (I prefer a 50/50 mix of Fee Brothers and Regan’s)
**Shake over ice and transfer to a flask, using a funnel.

Samuel Johnson said, “There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.” Passing around a well-chosen flask cocktail ensures that you have brought the “good tavern” with you, wherever you are. And everyone who has the opportunity to drink from your flask will be better off for it.

[1]With a revolving door, a gentleman will always walk through first so that he can push the door. If, however, the door is already revolving, it is acceptable to let her pass through first so long as you continue to push the door so she does not have to exert herself.

[2] A flask also comes in handy during indoor activities where you may need a nip to make it through, such as the opera, symphony, or ballet. I have even brought a flask to a wedding where cocktails were not being served (wine only) and shared a much-needed sip with the groom. 

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