With the prospect of countries now possibly opening up for travel for overseas visitors, you may be thinking of your first trip away for some time. Depending on where your travels take you, you may have the chance to sip a glass of wine or beer with the locals.
Or, here in Thailand, we may be welcoming back visitors from many other countries, all being well. You could soon be making new friends over a glass of something refreshing, hopefully in Buddy’s!
Either way, you’ll probably want a toast handy in the language of your companions. Raise a glass and learn how to say “Cheers!” in these different languages:
Chok Dee Krap (If you are male)
Chok Dee Ka (If you are female)
It is a wonderful way to wish anyone the best of luck. It is also used in social situations when sharing beverages together. Like when people in Western countries say “cheers”, Thais say “chok dee“. Another common way to say cheers is “chon gâew”. “Chon” means to crash or collide and “gâew” means glasses. So literally to collide the glasses together. “Chaiyo!“ is the Thai equivalent to the English “hip hip hooray!”, which you can often hear at birthday toasts and other celebrations.
Unlike in English, French has formal and informal verb forms. “À votre santé I” is the formal version, best used with new travel buddies or a host family. If you are with closer companions, you can opt for the more informal version,” À ta santé! ” Translates to “To your health!”
“Salud”. Similar to the French toast, this Spanish “Cheers” wishes “good health to everyone!”. A longer toast is commonly used in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries: “Pa’ arriba, pa’ abajo, pa’ centro, pa’ dentro”. “Put your glass up, put your glass down, glasses to the center, now drink!”
By the way, take care. Superstition in Spain has it that toasting with only water will lead to seven years of bad luck in the bedroom!
Scottish and Irish Gaelic
If you find yourself in a “houff” (a pub in Scotland), or in a “teach tábhairne “(a pub in Ireland), or even just with our friendly staff, “slàinte” (“Health!”) is the proper toast to make. Pronounced a bit like “slawn-che”. Just know it’s customary to buy a round for everyone in the group. Once the glasses are empty, the next toast-er may (or may not!) return the favor.
While Italians have many ways to toast a glass of local wine, “Salute” or “Cin cin”, pronounced “Saw-lutay” or “Chin chin” is usual. “Cin cin” is the more common and, little known fact, the phrase comes from China: “qingqing”, or “please please,” said before meals.
The toast travelers will hear when nursing glasses of “baiju” (a type of spirit) or beer in China is “ganbei” or “dry cup”. Custom dictates that you down your drink in one gulp to show appreciation. Another tip to know before drinking with Chinese: to show extra respect, hold your left hand under your glass and make sure to keep your glass lower than the most senior person’s.
The easiest way to say “Cheers” in Japanese is with an enthusiastic “Kanpai!” (sounds like “gahn-pie”). Say it while gently touching your glasses (or sake cups) together before taking your first sip.
“Prost!” = “Cheers”. If there is one German phrase you can learn, let it be this one! “Prost!” is a toast that works for any social drinking occasion, and is easy enough for everyone to pronounce.
“Skol!” (written “skål“) is the Danish/Norwegian/Swedish word for “cheers,” or “good health,” a salute or a toast. In Scandinavia wooden bowls were filled with beer and passed from person to person at community gatherings like weddings. “Skål” means a bowl, so from that tradition of passing the bowl, the term “Skål” is now also a toast — ”Cheers!”
Click here to see a fuller list of ways to toast in different languages. [Link to pdf How To Say “Cheers” In Different Languages – Fuller List. Attached]
One last tidbit for you: Why “toast”? The term “to toast”, as in drinking to one’s health, comes from the literal practice of dropping a piece of toast in your drink. In the 16th century, it was common practice to add a piece of spiced toast to wine. The bread would help to soak up some of the acidity and improve the flavour of poor wine.
So, wherever you are enjoying a drink, raise your glasses and say “Cheers!” in your chosen language, to help cement friendships and celebrate new ones, or just as an expression of goodwill. And do drink responsibly.
Note: our definition of drinking responsibly is not having anything left in your glass or the bottle!