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Here's to raising your spirits with the right toast


June 22, 2005 - The right toast can be your bread and butter when it comes to making new friends — and celebrating old ones.

That's because whether it's filled with water or a cocktail, raising your glass and leading a room in a well-wish can help celebrate the moment or create a new memory.

Here are a few facts to help raise your spirits.

The History of the Toast

Toasting gets its name from a practice dating back to the 1600s, when the brewing and distilling process was not quite as refined as it is today.

People commonly would add a bit of bread to their glass for flavoring.

Hence the term "toast.''

Toasting Etiquette

Tradition has it that whether proposing or sharing a toast, the glass always must be raised with the right hand.

The custom is believed to date back to the early days of toasting, when raising your right hand was a gesture of peace, indicating you were not armed.

Others maintain that you must make eye contact before drinking and that everyone's glass must be filled before you raise your own.

Toasting Tips

Don't panic.

Many people are nervous before toasting, but according to Colum Egan of Bushmills — the world's oldest distillery — few things warm a room like a good toast.

"I've found that even in a room full of people I don't know, raising a glass to mark a moment really does help to unify us. It can help define a moment and, of course, celebrate an occasion,'' Egan stated.

Top Irish Toasts

Irish toasts can be a favorite on St. Pat-rick's Day or virtually any other happy occasion.

Egan offers some of his favorite toasts to use just in case you're ever called on to say "sláinte,'' which is Gaelic for "cheers.''

• "May those who love us, love us. And those that don't love us, may God turn their hearts.

"And if he doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles, so we'll know them by their limping.''

• "May the winds of fortune sail you, may you sail a gentle sea, may it always be the other guy who says, 'This Bushmills is on me.'''

• "May your demons have patience, your angels have mercy, your whiskey have age, and your wife a tender voice.''

Of course, one of the best wishes you could make for someone is a safe journey home.

That's why it's always very important to select a designated driver before the toasting begins.

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