For me, there is something very important that comes with a "splash" of bourbon*; sometimes with ice but sometimes served neat... I am still undecided with regard to that. None of which advocates the use of alcohol.
It started off unexpectedly, as many things do, when out for dinner with three friends it was suggested that we should have "a bourbon". The origins of the suggestion admittedly came from reading a biography on John Wayne**, which of course did not diminish the suggestion in the least. So with bourbon in hand and no particular toast in mind other than recognition, we raised a glass.
Over the years I have refined my tastes regarding my preferred brands but the reasons for raising a glass always remain the same.
Within the past week, on two separate occasions, I was able to raise a glass; once with a group of some of my oldest friends at a weekend gathering, and the second with a long time friend who invited me to his house at the end of what turned out to be very "long" day. In each instance, with bourbon in hand and no particular toast in mind other than recognition, we raised a glass.
We raise a glass to friendship, the appreciation of the current moment, the memories of a life lived and the anticipation of a future yet to come. An unspoken thank you for all that has been done and all that is to come - Recognition of wonderful friendships, for which I for one, have been very fortunate.
And to that, I raise a glass with no particular toast in mind and say, "Thank you".
* Bourbon whiskey /bɜːrbən/ is a type of American whiskey: a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. (Wikipedia)
** Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director, and producer. An Academy Award-winner for True Grit (1969), Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. An enduring American icon, for several generations of Americans he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor, including his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height. (Wikipedia)