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Cheers! 11 International Toasts for the Next Time You Raise Your Glass

how to toast
Written by Going Places

In most people travel, they at least try to take in the local color, including when it comes to imbibing in local beverages. As you clink glasses in new lands, you will want to know how to properly toast in each language. Raise your glass and utter these ways of saying cheers in 11 different countries and languages!

“Gānbēi”

China

In a more formal setting, the host starts off with the first toast. While toasting, always touch glasses under the rim, this is aa sign of respect and never start your imbibing until the initial toast is given, only then should you start drinking with the group.  and  In a more casual setting, (say at a bar or with friends) you can say “gānbēi”  (dry cup) if you want everyone to finish their drinks quickly.

“Prost”

Germany

how to toast - germany

Did we hear you say Oktoberfest? Whether your flights to Germany land you in the biggest beer festival in the world, or it’s just another stop on your Eurotrip, there’s one thing you should definitely learn to say if you’re clinking glasses and sampling some world-famous German beer: “prost’. While toasting it’s customary to look your drinking mates eye-to-eye while you’re eye you’re saying your cheers. If you are toasting with wine you can say, “zum wohl.” And don’t forget, like, in many cultures across the globe, it’s considered rude to take a swig before everyone has their drink.

“Egészségére!”

Hungary

The guest of honor proposes the first toast by saying “egészségére!” (for your health). When making a toast, make eye contact, raise your glass to eye level, say “egészségére!” in return. Now you can take a sip, maintaining eye contact, and then place the glass back on the table. When offered a drink, you mustn’t refuse it. A toast is also generally made thanking the hosts for their hospitality at the end of the evening.

“Salute!” 

Italy

Surprise, surprise… here too, it’s in best form to allow your host to make the first toast and wait to sip on your beverage until they do so. When you make a toast in Italy, you can simply say, “salute!” which means “to your health” (Conveniently enough, you can also use this term after someone sneezes, meaning, “bless you.”) In a more casual scenario, you can simply say “cin cin”  (pronounced chin-chin).

“Kampai”

Japan

how to toast - japan

In order to cheers in Japanese with your sake in hand, you will want to know the word “kampai”. The word means empty cup or bottoms up and which is first said by the most senior member of the hosting family and always let their glass be higher than yours. Again, it’s considered poor manners to start gulping down a drink before anyone else, so wait for the group and the first toast to be done before you start drinking.  Last, but not least don’t poor your own drinks! Let the host or wait staff pour it out for you and when they do so, hold your cup with both hands. It’s all about good ol’ r-e-s-p-e-c-t in Japan!

Related: The World’s Best Whiskey Destinations

“Na zdrowia!”

Poland

The host toasts everyone at the table before taking you drink. You should stand if the host stands. When you propose your toast later, maintain eye contact. The most common toast is “na zdrowia!” (to your health!). Then down your drink. Za Nas (To us) is used in informal settings. Before taking the first sip, everyone raises their glass and says, “na zdrowie” (As to health).

“Za zdorovie”

Russia

how to toast - russia

Before drinking Vodka, a toast is proposed using the words “na zdorovie”, or “za zdorovie” to wish good health to the hosts. The toast “za druzhbu!” (for friendship) may also be used. The following toasts are short, “nu, vzdrognuli!”, “nu, poehali!”, or “nu, poneslis” (Here we go again). The evening ends with “na pososhok” which is usually said before the last drink of the night as guests prepare to leave. “Pososhok” means walking stick in Russian, used for long journeys in olden days. Used as a farewell toast, “na pososhok” is meant to wish your departing guests (or you, if you’re the guest) a safe journey home.

“Skål”

Sweden

The host always makes the first toast, usually “skål” (cheers!). After their welcome, you may raise your glass and drink. After others have toasted, you may propose one of your own. While making a toast, be sure to make eye contact with everyone at the table as you make speak. After a toast, the men wait for the women to set their glasses down before continuing to drink.

“Serefe!”

Turkey

how to toast - turkey

Gatherings in Turkey revolve around the traditional liquor called raki. If you are the honored guest, you are expected to make a toast after the host does or before everyone leaves. Always clink the bottom of your glass when toasting. If you wish to honor who is missing, you can tap your glass on the table after toasting, using the Turkish word “serefe!” to show honor.

“Chone Gaow”

Thailand

Raise your glass and utter “chone gaow” (cheers) while smiling as you clink glasses. When cheers-ing with someone older or of a higher status, be sure to touch your glass lower than theirs as a measure of showing your respect. You’ll often hear a simple “chokh di” (good luck) used as a toast as well. To propose a toast, simply raise your glass and shout out “chone!” as a sign for everyone to raise their glass.

 “Một Hai Ba, Yo”

Vietnam

how to toast - vietnam

In a casual setting, especially in one of the local beloved beer halls, you might raise your glasses and say “một hai ba, yo” meaning “One, two, three, cheers!”. In a more formal setting, say an event or a dinner party, it’s more common for the Vietnamese host to cheers saying “to your health!” over champagne or wine. However, the toast is usually made by the highest-ranking Vietnamese at the table to make the toast, even if they aren’t the host themself. And remember, drinking is considered a group activity, drinking without the others is considered rude.

 Clink any glasses in any of these countries? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

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