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A Toast to Vacation

Nothing says vacation like a table full of drinks. At least within my circle. It's the start of a ritual, a conversation starter, ice-breaker, or at least has been that way for eons. This photo was from a trip to Hawaii with my family, so we felt obligated to get in the mood at the airport with the most tropical drinks on the menu.

I find, however, that I alter my drinking patterns according to the trip, and who I'm with. Solo sojourns often include sips of red wine to accompany my pondering while journaling. Family reunions usually involve the ol' one-two routine of microbrew then water, microbrew then water, microbrew then water (due to daily extended "happy hour" at my family reunions). And getaways with my girlfriends varies as widely as the type of trip we're on, from wine tasting to slugging beers at pubs to swirling iced Baileys around in my glass and mouth. The list goes on.

On many vacations I often drink only water, usually as part of a health kick. But parties, vacations, or getting together with friends so often center around the drinks in our society, not drinking can seem odd.

Consider throwing a bachelor(ette) party without shots of tequila, a family reunion without Uncle Jim's finest Scotch or that special bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, a wedding without the ceremonial champagne toast, or a weekend golfing with the guys (or girls) without a round of drinks. It can be done. But would it be as fun? Whether people drink or not is their own choice, but having the option at a group social setting seems standard in our culture. And I accept this. If I'm not in the mood to drink, I usually have a glass of water in hand and, if asked why I'm not drinking, sometimes make up clever reasons for drinking water and entertain myself with the responses. Good party fun.

Health or religious reasons aside, I think social drinking (especially on group vacations) is here to stay. What do you think?