Wine Talk

Snooth User: Coleney

Clinking the wine glasses

Posted by Coleney, Jun 18, 2017.

Do you clink the wine glasses while drinking with friends or loved ones.

Some claim it was originally meant to drive away demons. Others believe the idea was to slosh a little bit of wine into your drinking partner’s glass—that way, he couldn’t poison you without risking dying himself.

What do you think is the story behind this tradition?


Reply by rckr1951, Jun 18, 2017.

COLENEY - I looked it up since you asked, I must admit it's something I never really paid attention to - I just assumed it was a friendly gesture, and found this to be the prime reason on those sites:

This from Snopes:"It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host’s glass with his own."

Snopes quote was the briefest but covered the salient points of others.  I suppose there'll be others.


Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 18, 2017.

Very interesting.  I generally trust my friends not to poison me, so just clinking glasses should suffice.

Reply by GregT, Jun 18, 2017.

I doubt either of the first. First of all, nobody even used glasses until the 1700s so there wouldn't be any clinking. The Greeks and Romans used to raise a cup to the gods, so the tradition has to date back at least that far. Then you had mugs of ale, and the big covered German cups and those guys were as likely to pull out their swords for any evil spirits as try to chase them away with the clunk of pewter, wooden, or metal mugs. The French used to put a piece of stale bread into the wine because it was terrible, and one of the Shakespeare plays has something about putting a piece of toast in the drink. Probably Falstaff but I don't remember.

Reply by rckr1951, Jun 18, 2017.

To be fair Greg, I didn't copy the whole thing - it mention wooden mugs and metal mugs and the like in other areas of the various things I read.  For convenience I just c+p the relevant paragraph for the conversation.

Reply by GregT, Jun 19, 2017.

It's OK. Not sure anyone has a definitive answer. I still kind of doubt the poison issue though - it's not like poisons were that easy to come by and a sword was always more definitive.

Reply by dmcker, Jun 20, 2017.

Lots of northern Europeans put toast into their ale, supposedly that's where the English drinking salute comes from. Really ensures you get your carbo loading out of the tankard. Meat with the fingers, wheat and barley smoothies (lumpies?) from the cup. Hopefully some veggies somewhere.

So if you're shaking hands with your right, and clinking and downing suds with your left, guess you were as safe as you could be in those old drinking halls. Until someone got so drunk they figured it'd be fun to brain you with the tankard....

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