It is a poisoned chalice that we raise - but as we toast each other's healths, and chink our fragile cups together, let us praise the nation we're creating with this drink, as we beget a finer race of men and draft its customs with this alchemy - eternal Friday nights of swirl and churn of wine and air in this antimony. We sink a cup to purge what makes us sick, and sketch out shapes of Empire on the floor, in splash on spreading splash of pink on brick and blanket; wine and bile. Landlord, one more! One final shot to get under our skin. Sorry, gents, it's time. Better out than in.