Last week I was spending some much needed quality time with a friend and as is de rigeur for quality time amongst friends, a beverage or two was included. As we lifted our cups of Upstate Brewing I.P.W. (India Pale Wheat, natch), I said “Sláinte,” to which my friend replied (with obvious confusion), “Did you just say ‘cilantro?’”
Que laughter and explanation and more laughter. Now, “Cilantro” is our official secret cheer and it’s even funnier if we don’t explain its origins to our fellow imbibers.
In Mexico, it was “¡Salud!.” There was also a longer toast that I learned where you all brought your glasses inward with a loud “El Centro,” then back towards your chest as you said, “Dentro.” You said “Arribo”as you brought your glass up and “Abajo” when you brought it back down. There was a longer bit, something that you wouldn’t say in-front of your mother (even though it was about someone else’s mother) at the end when all the glasses went back in the middle to clink.
In Germany, I learned to say “Proust” before cheering. A cousin once told me that lack of eye contact curses you with bad sex for seven years. Now, I’m not sure of the validity of this statement, but once I tell others, they make sure they’re eye-to-eye with everyone they’re toasting. I have friends who, not knowing about the seven-years-bad-sex-curse, still make very serious eye contact and then tap the table or bar or drinking surface with the bottom of their glass before taking that first sip-gulp-shot.
This summer, I’m toasting with Ediborough Gin over ice topped with cucumber-melon seltzer1 and a slice of cucumber. Although, as the above photo clearly shows, I’m not opposed to a margarita on the rocks with salt.
What’s your favorite way to cheers?
1 I cannot get enough of Polar’s seasonal flavored seltzers. I’m currently obsessed with the cucumber-melon, orange-vanilla (amazing with vodka) and grapefruit. I like to think that being sugar, sodium, carb and calorie-free it makes my drinking more healthy. Please don’t correct me.