Good wine and bad sex: How to toast in Spain

Los Borrachos, Velazquez

Los Borrachos or The Triumph of Baccus by Diego Velazquez

In Spanish, the word for toast is brindis, it comes from the German word bring dir´s or ”I offer you”. 

That is what we know for sure, how the practice came about remains a mystery.  Some say it started in the 16th century during the reign of Charles V, aka Carlos I.  It is said, that after taking Rome, his military leaders raised their glasses to cheer their victory.  Others say the practice started way before that, as a hospitality ritual from ancient Greece.  The story goes that in ancient Greece, the host raised his glass and took a sip to welcome the guests and also ensure the wine hadn´t been poisoned.  

Toasting style

Every country has it’s unique style.  Some clink the glasses, while others simply make the motion without touching, and still others slam their glasses on the table. In Spain, there are rules and if you break them the consequences are dire.  One must maintain eye contact as well as clink the glass of every drinker, oh and you can’t cross arms whilst doing it, either.  And never, ever toast with water, which really is just plain wrong.  Otherwise, it’s seven years of bad sex for you!  Sure, I get it, how else can you get people to follow such a tedious and time consuming ritual.  If the group is large enough, you might actually die of thirst. This is just par for the course in Spain, but also in France and Germany where drinking can be a test of patience as well as endurance.  

And finally, a different kind of toasting. Cheers!

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