Others advocated the great elementary theory, which refers the construction of our globe and all that it contains, to the combinations of four material elements, air, earth, fire and water; with the assistance of a fifth, an immaterial and vivifying principle; by which I presume the worthy theorist meant to allude to that vivifying spirit contained in gin, brandy and other potent liquors.
~ Washington Irving, A History of New York
Some days it’s only that mysterious fifth element which keeps old chaos at bay. No sooner had I come home from work yesterday than the beloved spouse informed me that I was required to pour the vivifying principle in the form of gin into two glasses of ice, cucumber and superior tonic water. The results managed to hold the world together for yet another night.