“One drink is a free ride.”

Ross McCammon:

The thing about one drink — a glass of liquor we’re talking about, hopefully a stiff pour — is that it doesn’t involve enough alcohol to make anything stop working. Your eyesight, your natural grace, your moral compass — they’re all left intact. Because one drink doesn’t compromise anything. It enhances. You have one drink and your world becomes slightly better. The bar is a slightly better bar. Your dog is a slightly better dog. Your work is slightly more brilliant. And for that, you pay no price. Your outward appearance is unchanged — to your drinking partner, to your boss, to your kid, to a cop. You haven’t wrecked anything. You haven’t said anything stupid. You were a gentleman when you started drinking and you are a gentleman — a slightly more interesting one, which is nice — when you finish drinking. For a good thirty minutes (it doesn’t work if you don’t sip the drink and make it last), everything about the universe is slightly less intolerable. One drink is a free ride.