A toast is the perfect way to recognize a special occasion or celebration, especially during the holidays. The custom of raising a glass of wine or champagne is attributed to ancient Greece, when a sip was taken to demonstrate that the drink was not poisoned. To ward off evil spirits, guests believed in clinking their glasses together, a tradition that is still practiced today, though few appreciate the history.
Here are some 6 tips for tasteful toasting during the holidays.
Follow the host’s lead. It’s appropriate for the host to propose a toast at the beginning of the meal to welcome all the guests. After the host makes his toast, anyone else can propose a toast.
Keep is brief. The toast is more memorable if you keep the three S’s in mind: keep it short, simple and sincere. Remember, you’re giving a toast, not a roast.
Toast during the beginning or at the end of the meal. A toast is most appropriate before everyone begins eating or during the dessert course.
Everyone drinks except the guest of honor. If you’re the one being toasted, don’t touch your glass or drink to yourself. It’s like patting yourself on your own back. When the host sits down, you’ll be expected to return the toast and then you may drink.
Always participate in a toast. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it’s perfectly acceptable to toast with a soft drink, a glass of sparkling cider, or mineral water. Or you can raise a glass of wine or champagne to your lips, pretend to drink it, then set it aside.
It’s not necessary to clink glasses. In some cultures, clinking is considered bad form and should be avoided. When in doubt, watch the host. If you’re in a small group, always look each person in they eye when you lift your glass. You can complete the toast by saying something like, “Cheers” or “Bottoms Up.”