How to Say Cheers Around the World

The world is a big place, but if there’s one thing that unites us, it’s a love of getting together to share a drink.

All over the globe, in almost every language, there’s at least one phrase (and often several) that’s meant to accompany the clink of glasses. According to the International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture, toasting “is probably a secular vestige of ancient sacrificial libation in which a sacred liquid was offered to the gods,” although these days it’s more likely to signal the end of the work week than an impending sacrifice.

In the United States, like many former British colonies, we say “Cheers,” an all-purpose salutation that’s slowly migrating to some distinctly non-boozy contexts, like email sign-offs. “Cheers” will get you far, but if you want to really win over your international whiskey-drinking companions, here’s what you’ll need to know to make friends anywhere you go:

Mexico

¡Salud!

Ireland and Scotland

Sláinte! (pronounced “slawn-tcha”)

England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (and, oddly, Russia)

Cheers! 

Japan

Kanpai!

Italy

Cin Cin!

Germany

Prost!

Sweden

Skål!

China

Gan Bei!

France

À votre santé!

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