A Couple Whiskey GadgetsJuly 3rd, 2015
Along with the whiskey samples we get here at the magazine, we get whiskey-related gadgets. Most of them aren’t worth your time — hats with flasks and sippy straws, “whiskey pong” sets — but some of them are things that pique our interest. Those fall mainly into four categories: flasks (we’ll always try out a new flask), chilling ideas for individual glasses of whisky, apps and guides, and the new rush of wood insert ‘whisky improvers.’ We try them out, and if they’re interesting, or superior, we’ll let you know.
To be honest, most of them don’t make the cut. The various non-ice chilling devices — stone, metal, ceramic — scare our dentists (or break, which is even more concerning); a flask is a flask (except the ones with the cool glass insert…and alcohol-soluble adhesive holding it in place!); we have our own set of Buying Guide reviews; and…the wood things just seem shady.
But recently I tried out two things that I do think are worth passing on, a flask, and a chilling glass. Have a look.
The first is the Vargo Titanium Funnel Flask. I tried this once, back in early May, and it has become my go-to flask, even over the monogrammed Dalvey flask my wife gave me. It’s not particularly stylish, it holds more than I usually like to carry in a flask, and the cap doesn’t have a hinge attaching it to the body of the flask, something I’ve come to appreciate in my own fumble-fingered way.
So what’s the story? Three things.
First, it’s titanium. That’s not just ‘gee-whiz, it’s titanium,’ it’s about the lightweight strength. I carry it in my hip pocket, I sit down, I lean on railings, I am not mindful of it…and there’s not a dent in it. It’s also about the inert nature of this nonreactive metal, which is to say, the whiskey doesn’t taste funny or metallic after three days, or change color. I’ve had whiskey in there for over a week, and it looks and smells and tastes the same as a fresh pour from the same bottle. That’s really nice.
Next, it’s expensive at about $75, and you can’t engrave it, but it’s less expensive than other titanium flasks (significantly less) or the Dalvey, though the Dalvey completely blows it away when it comes to classy-looking.
But most of all, it’s The Funnel, which is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a flask. Check out the picture: it’s a substantial, integrated, silicon funnel that flips up to fill, then flips down out of the way. It’s easily washed after filling, once the cap is screwed back in. Best of all, it really works. I’ve had zero problems using it: no spills, no bubble-ups, no clogging, and it even lets you fill right up to the top…and then easily pour that last half-ounce back in the bottle (or into a glass, if you’d rather). I’ve tried a lot of funnels for flasks, but this is the killer app for flasks.
To tell the truth, like I said, I’ve been using the Vargo flask for two months now, and I can’t find any flaws, other those little ones I mentioned. If they made one about 2/3 this size, put a black glaze on it, and chained the cap to the body? Pure perfection. But I’ll happily take it as it is.
The second thing is the Whiskey Wedge glass, from Corkcicle, a company that has a variety of drink-chilling gadgets. We’ve all seen the molds for oversized balls of ice, blocks of ice, shards of ice that you then peel out of the mold and put in your glass. The Whiskey Wedge does it differently. It comes with a glass, and a silicon mold that fits over the glass, a big black wedge that fits down into the glass. The top has a hole, and an overflow area. Clean the mold and the glass, fit the mold into the glass, and fill with water; pour off the excess. Put it in the freezer. When it’s solid, the mold comes out easily; no, really, it does. You’re left with a wedge of ice that’s only in contact with the whiskey on one side.
Does it work? Yes, it does. I poured the Wedge full of Booker’s the other night, on a hot summer evening, and slowly drank it down on my deck (that’s work at Whisky Advocate, folks). By the time I was done, well over half the wedge was still in place, and it was still sticking to the glass. No clanking, no fast melting, no whiskey hiding under an oddly melting block. I’d have to have at least two of them to keep it going, of course, but as well as it works, and as cool as it looks, that’s looking likely.
Enjoy your summer more with a flask that easily goes with you wherever you go, and a chilling glass that brings your whiskey to a more appropriate American drinking temperature.