To clink, or not to clink: the etiquette of gracious toasting


The history of clinking glasses

Ah, the art of clinking glasses, a gesture as old as time itself, and as…you know, poisoning your guests. Yes, back in ancient times, one would clink glasses or flagons or skulls or whatever one was drinking from, causing liquid to slosh from one to the other, all while looking into the other person’s eyes. You know, in case they had slipped something into your drink. So much for trust.


Is it rude or crass to clink glasses?

Auntie Kiki finds this tradition of clinking wine glasses festive, but some sticklers find it quite common. It happens at every family dinner, for me… there we are, room full of people in their finest attire, all eagerly raising their glasses to commemorate an occasion. And my mother will scowl and mutter, “peasants.”

First, let’s address the elephant in the room – why might clinking glasses be considered gauche? Maybe it’s the attention getting, maybe it’s the noise, maybe it’s the danger of shattering your $1500 Saint Louis glass, or maybe it’s too much proximity or fun. And, you know, we’re not Vikings drinking out of the skulls of our enemies anymore, are we? Oh, how sometimes I wish we were…


How does one avoid clinking glasses while remaining festive and not looking like a party pooper?

 Fear not, my dear reveler, for your Auntie Kiki knows ways to avoid a so-called cacophonous catastrophe, while still maintaining a sense of fun, and of occasion.


**1. The Stealthy Side Tap:**

Instead of unleashing a full-on frontal assault with your glass, I’ll approach my sympathetic neighbor’s glass from the side and give it a gentle tap. It’s like a secret handshake for the sophisticated set. Yes, my mother still glares, but what can she do?


**2. The Air Kiss Approach:**

Why clink at all when you can create an imaginary, yet equally delightful, collision of glasses? Simply hold your glass aloft, make smoochy air kiss sounds, and watch as your fellow guests join in this whimsical exercise in auditory illusion. Who needs the actual clink when you can have the auditory illusion of a clink? Genius, right? My mother hates kisses even more than tapping glasses so it’s a win-win, darling.


**3. The Silent Stare-down:**

For the true aficionado of etiquette, there’s the silent stare-down. Hold your glass at eye level and lock eyes with your toasting partner. No physical contact required – just a shared, knowing gaze that speaks volumes. It’s like a telepathic clink that transcends the need for actual glass-on-glass interaction. What I think very hard as I look at my dear mama is, “Where in the Dickens did I get my sense of humor from?”


What is the etiquette behind delivering a toast graciously?

Toasting someone is great fun, and a great honor to the toast, but how do you do it without dropping your pedigree papers? Now, when it comes to delivering or accepting a toast the polite way, here’s how to do it with finesse:


-Don’t preempt! Do NOT go first if you are not the host!

-Don’t hit your glass with your knife. Simply stand and announce, “I would like to propose a toast.”


-Keep it brief and fun.


-If you are the one being toasted, do not toast. Do not drink. Do not touch the glass.


-If you are toasted, make sure to toast your host in return soon.


-If there are more than four people in the room, do not clink glasses. (THAT should make my mother happy!)

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