Let’s dispense with the standard “cheerless” and perfunctory toasts as we raise our holiday glasses. Social Media has created new vocabulary trends that can be put into play for toasting. Follow me.
First a bit of ancient history of the toast. The seemingly cheerful clink of glasses comes from a very dark practice. This custom dates to the Middle Ages (AD 500-1500). People were so mistrusting, disagreeable and wary of one another (sounds rather contemporary doesn’t it?) that poisoning your enemy was standard. As a precaution, to make sure your BFF was for real, “toasters” would clink glasses so that a drop or two of wine from each other’s glass would be shared, essentially acting as mutual tasters.
As time passed and poisoning fell out of favor, this evolved into the clinking of glasses that we know today. No wonder the time-trusted toast, “to your health” came from this early era.
About the word “toast”. In the pubs of Elizabethan England (AD 1508-1603), a corner of spiced, toasted bread was dropped into the bottom of the cup of wine or ale to mask bad flavors from poor winemaking abilities. This then evolved into calling a “group drink”, a toast, ergo “toast of the town”.
We’ve all been tapped at one time or another to offer a toast — and it can daunting. What’s appropriate to say, what if you don’t drink alcohol, what if your glass is empty? Herewith, are the three things you must know.
- If your glass is empty, it’s still appropriate to raise your glass in a toast. Just don’t clink. Waiting for someone to fill your glass can defuse the moment.
- If your glass contains water or other non-alcoholic drink, you can still clink and drink.
- Once you clink, be sure to drink. To place your glass back onto the table or bar after clinking without drinking is saying you don’t agree with the toast.
The language of Toasting is universal and evolving.
Here are a few, “no fail” toasts:
“May good fortune precede you, love walk with you and good friends follow you.” –Irish toast
“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door.” –Celtic salutation
“To my BFF. May we always LOL together!”
“Congratulations, it’s FBO!” (Face Book Official — denotes something of merit, so real, it can be posted on Facebook)
“To My BAE!” (Before Anyone Else — refers to your significant other or closest friend)
And, finally, my favorite, courtesy of Drake: “YOLO!” (You Only Live Once), so let’s make it as meaningful as possible!
Holiday Cocktail recipe
The Poinsettia Cocktail
4 fresh, frozen cranberries
1 tsp sugar
1 orange slice for garnish
1 oz cranberry juice
1 T Grand Marnier
4 oz chilled Prosecco, sparkling wine or sparkling water (non-alcohol)
Place the sugar on a plate. Run the edge of the orange slice around the rim of a champagne glass to moisten. Dip the rim in the sugar.
Remove the cranberries from the freezer and place in the glass. Place the cranberry juice and Grand Marnier in the glass. Top with the Prosecco. Garnish glass with orange slice. –Courtesy, The Italian Dish
Courtesy: Image 1, NY Daily News; Image 2, phillipchircrop.com; Image 3, Sodahead.com; Image 4, TheItalianDish.com