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Although there is an opportunity (in fact, endless and more convenient) to still drink in the comforts of our own homes by our lonesome, nothing beats the nostalgia and excitement of filling and raising your glasses together to cheers of “bottoms up”
By Rico Quicho
“One for the road” is an oft-repeated phrase that originated in the early twentieth century. Those who are fond of “spiritual” encounters can easily relate to it. A quick Google search would readily reveal that a New Zealand–British lexicographer of the English language named Eric Partridge believed that the term may have originated from traveling salesmen who applied it either to one last drink after a night’s carousing or to one more drink before literally setting out “on the road” to see more customers.
Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials identify with this phrase. In the drinking scenes in dim-lit Metro Manila bars you would hear guests using the phrase when it’s about closing time or just to discourage a friend from the usual early escape act. One would order “one last drink” before leaving for home. In family celebrations, birthdays, gimmicks and parties, we also used to hear this melodic “one for the road,” which is like a magic spell to keep the party going and to continue with the night cap. It usually coincides with a collective recital of, “the night is young, and so are we” followed by boisterous laughers.
I remember not so long ago that a mentor and friend of mine opened a bottle of very good vintage wine and sheepishly said, “We don’t need to finish the bottle, just one for the road.” True enough it was indeed one for the road, a long and winding road that brought us home from chilly Tagaytay to the snoozing streets of Quezon City.
The endless exchange of banter and pleasantries with friends and acquaintances while engrossed with your favorite whisky, or a glass of red wine, or a fashionably potent gin, or with your unfailingly loyal bottle of beer, now seems like a distant dream, especially since social distancing and health protocols are now de rigueur. With the community quarantines and granular lockdowns, drinking and socializing are now considered a fling from the past. Of course, this is but a small sacrifice that we need to make to help quell the spread of this dreaded virus that continues to diminish our daily lives.
Although there is an opportunity (in fact, endless and more convenient) to still drink in the comforts of our own homes by our lonesome, nothing beats the nostalgia and excitement of filling and raising your glasses together to cheers of “bottoms up.”
The conversations with friends coinciding with the effect of alcohol could surprisingly lead you to Charles Dickens’ delightful descriptions of alcohol, and the experiences that come with it. Moreover, the countless hours spent together having a subtle and smooth-to-the-palate taste with your every glass and sharing life stories and gossips were guaranteed to forge a lifetime of friendship.
The regular “spiritual” sessions with friends brought a sense of balance in an almost chaotic schedule of professional commitments and family responsibilities. Surprisingly, what I miss the most in social drinking is the thrill of calling for and pleading with the gracious host for another round of drinks or “Porda,” a word coined by endless battles for the last order of drink before calling it a night. With lights almost out, and the bar specked and cleaned, you slowly sip your last gulp, your one for the road. Then you feign ignorance and try to request “Porda Roads” wishing your use of its plural form can do the trick. No harm in trying, right?
In God’s perfect time, we can soon physically enjoy Speyside elegance, “hoppy” and “wining” with our dear friends while echoing Dickens’ words, and merrily declaring, “No heel taps!” For now, let’s all stay safe and keep healthy! Cheers!
The author is a former law school Dean, a law professor and a litigation lawyer.
He spends his free time looking for the perfect coffee brew and the finest spirit. Rico describes himself as a father, a son, and all spirit.
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