Sunday, 2 November 2014


We were out for dinner with a group last night. As one of the first two couples to arrive, we decided to open our bottles of wine and pour some pre-dinner drinks while we waited for the others. We chinked glasses with each other and said cheers, everybody!

The next couple arrived. They poured a glass of wine each and we repeated the ritual. Cheers! And then for the next, even though they ordered drinks from the bar. Cheers! Finally, the last couple joined us and we went in for one last round of chinking. Cheers!

A short while later, I noticed another large group behind us go through pretty much what we'd just done, but it was all at once and the glass chinking happened for a good 30 seconds as guests stretched across the table to touch glasses. It was then that I wondered: why on earth do we do that??

It seems I'm not the first person to ask the question. My searching on glass chinking led me to an etiquette guide on how to make a toast. (Yes, really.) I've found that toasting is a ritual in which a drink is taken as an expression of honor or goodwill. There are theories that the chinking of glasses to cause some of your drink to spill into another person's glass and vice versa could negate attempts to poison each other. Snopes has, naturally, debunked this myth and you can read the article if you are that interested.

So, without being any the wiser for my searching and drawing some very thin conclusions, I am simply going to put the custom of glass chinking down to one of life's social oddities.

Cheers, everybody! Cin cin! Sláinte!

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