Nothing establishes your credentials as a host/hostess with the most-est or A-List guest better than a well-spoken quote.
The term “toast” originated in merry olde England. Before the modern refinements of squeaky-clean winemaking, a slice of toasted bread was tossed into the wine goblet to filter and sop up the murk of sediment and undefined solid matter. Draining the goblet in another’s praise involved eating the wine-soaked bread, or “drinking a toast.”
The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette (Tuckerman, N. and Dunnan, N., 1995, Doubleday, New York.) provides detailed instructions on toasting but the basic procedure is simple.
As host/hostess the first toast is up to you. Well in advance, prepare, write down and rehearse a few appropriate words of thanks, congratulations or downright flattery for your guest-of-honor or company at large. When the main course is complete, gently rap your wineglass with an unused utensil. As all eyes turn to you, take a deep breath, stand and speak. When the toast is complete, hold your glass aloft towards your guest(s), offer a few final words such as “To Harry!” or “To friendship!” and drink. Finally, sit and bask in admiration of family and friends.
Original comments are always appreciated, but if Mother Wit leaves you in the lurch, you may borrow these toasts of the ages:
- Are you the host? “By the bread and the salt, by the water and wine, Thou art welcome, my friend, at this board of mine.” (Anonymous)
- The guest? “Let’s raise up our glasses and make this fair toast: short life to our liquor, long life to our host.” (Anonymous)
- In there a doctor in the house? “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” (I Timothy 5:23, New Testament)
- A lawyer? “Say it with jewelry, say it with drink, but always be careful not to say it in ink.” (Anonymous)
- Is the event a cast of 1,000’s? “May I never lack wine or friends to help me drink it.” (French Proverb)
- Or a tete a tete? “In water one sees one’s own face, but in wine, one beholds the heart of another.” (Anonymous)
- Is the guest of honor an overseas visitor? “Water separates the people of the world. Wine unites us.” (Anonymous)
- Or a buddy from the ‘hood? “God in his goodness sent the grape to cheer both great and small. Little fools will drink too much and great fools, none at all.” (Anonymous)
The Chopping Block presents plenty of opportunities to practice your toasts (see classes below) and plenty of wine to toast with (call in advance or ask your Chef or Class Assistant to recommend the perfect wine from our wine list to complement your meal!)
“Drink American; kiss French.” (Anonymous)
“A barrel of wine works more miracles than a church full of saints.” (Italian proverb)
“Water for oxen, wine for kings.” (Spanish proverb)
A Celebration of Champagne and Bubbles, Merchandise Mart 12/31
“Here’s to Champagne the Drink Divine that helps us forget all our troubles. It’s made from a dollar’s worth of wine and three dollars’-worth of bubbles.” (Anonymous)
We are offering 2 sessions of this class on New Year's Eve:
Begin your New Year’s Eve with a celebration of the world’s most celebrated beverage – Champagne – along with four international bubblies and sparkling cocktails, all paired with classic appetizers and new taste sensations. Discussion includes “the night they invented Champagne” and production techniques of other prominent sparkling styles.
And you are welcome to use Ben Franklin’s quote that concludes all my wine classes: “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy.”
So, “Good wine and good health to you throughout the holidays and beyond!” (This one’s my own.)