As I bring the glass to my mouth and tilt it back, a slight twist of the elbow is all it takes for some of the liquid to spill over the rim and dribble down my chin and shirt.
It is one of those moments when you are conscious of every tiny movement that you make. But the important thing is, how aware is my host. I try to read his expression: deadpan. He could be seething inwardly, knowing that he has been foiled; but equally could just have come to the conclusion that I was either careless or mad.
Well, if he does not think I am mad now, he certainly will when I make an exclamation of 'damn', brushing my chin with the sleeve of my spare arm and placing the half-full glass onto the edge of the table in such a way that it topples, spilling the remaining drink over a genuine polar bear rug.
Immediately, he is frantic. Hastily putting down his own glass and dropping to the floor to pick up my now empty one. So, he does not suspect me - that is something - as he is at my feet, vulnerable, his neck and back exposed.
I may have the upper hand. And I will need it. Running my tongue across my lower lip, I can taste the contents of the glass. Brandy, undeniably. But something else, something...caustic. Just this taste is enough to make me nauseous; what would a full swig have done to me?
It is proven then. He knows!