History

Uncorking History: The Toast and The Clink

Few birthday bashes, weddings and BYO’s go without a toast and the clinking of glasses. The act of raising our drinks in merriment and gently – or not so gently – making them touch is a time-honoured ritual, yet no one seems to know why we do it.

Like handshakes or high fives, the origins of toasting and clinking are hazy. Toasting can be traced back to the ancient world, where Ulysess drank to the wellbeing of Achilles and Romans honoured Augustus before every meal.

However, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the term ‘toast’ came about.

In the same way a lime wedge is plopped into a G&T, it was customary to place a piece of bread in a wine goblet to cut through the acidity and to add flavour.

As for the clink? During the early days of Christianity, many believed that the church bell-like noise of colliding glasses would scare off lurking demons and evil spirits.

The clink could also guarantee a poison-free evening. Revellers would hit their goblets together so that a small amount of liquid would slosh from one to the other, ensuring that your drink wasn’t the ticket to an early death. 

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