With the holiday season approaching, I thought that it would be nice to wish our friends around the world all the best. And, of course, if you’re having a dram, perhaps we can offer a toast in your native language. So…. here goes.
For our friends in Italy, Buon Natale. If you’re enjoying a Puni over the holidays, then Cin Cin!, usually followed with Alla nostra salute, and a clinking of glasses. When in Rome…
For the Spanish, Feliz Navidad. Tip a dram of Navd or Haran whisky. Salud!, followed by A tu salud!
In Sweden, we wish you God Jul, and hope that you get to enjoy a nice Mackmyra or a High Coast. Skal! But to do it right, you must hold the glass in the first three fingers and the thumb, with your elbow at right angles. Then you must look everyone in the eye before the Skal!.
If you’re enjoying the holidays in Finland, then Hyvaa Joulua. Perhaps you can find a nice dram of Sgoil or Teerenpeli Whisky to enjoy. Kippis! Common etiquette says that you don’t have a drink until the host provides the first toast. And the eye contact thing is important, too.
Meanwhile, down in South Africa, it’s Geseende Kersfees. We hope that you’ll enjoy some Three Ships or maybe a Bain’s Single Grain. Gesondheid!
In Holland, they say Vrolljk Kerstfeest. Enjoy with a nice Millstone dram or a Frysk Hynder. Proost! Look everyone in the eye, clink your glasses and say Proost! again.
Moving eastward, in Japan it’s Merii Kurisumasu. Enjoy the holiday with one of Japan’s excellent whiskeys, like Hibiki or Yamazaki. Kanpai! There’s one hitch though. For proper etiquette, someone else must first pour the drink for you. And there are other traditions, too. You need to be a team player and participate in all the toasts. You also must finish the drink during the toast. If things get really rolling, it’s all glasses clinked together, followed by Banzai!
For the Chinese, the Christmas holiday greeting is Sheng dan Kuai lei. Although relatively new to whiskey production, you might enjoy a Holy Land or a Goalong. Ganbai! or Qing Qing! And don’t forget – you must drain your glass. And, etiquette dictates that you must hold your glass lower than those of your elders.
Traveling to eastern Europe, the Christmas greeting in Croatia is Sretan Bozic. If you are lucky, you might get your hands on a Croation whiskey, such as Juraj Dobrilla. If you do, then the cheer is Ziveli! or U Zdravlje! You are permitted to sip the toast but eye contact, once again, is essential.
Over in Romania, the holiday greeting is Craciun Fericit. You can also enjoy a superb Romanian single malt called Carpathian. Noroc! It should be noted that there is a belief in Romania that cold drinks are bad for your health, so be prepared to have something a little more tepid. And sip it slowly to maximize the experience.
In Israel, the Christmas greeting is Chag Molad Sameach. And if you have the good fortune to be in Israel, you can enjoy some great whisky, like Apex Single Malt, by the Milk and Honey Distillery. Or perhaps a nice Golani Black, by the Golan Heights Distillery. When you toast in Israel, it’s L Chayim! which means To Life!. If you are going to make a toast in Israel, make sure that you are toasting something meaningful, like good health, long marriage, etc. They don’t take their toasting lightly.
This could go on and on, but our last stop is Turkey, where the holiday greeting is Mutlu Noeller. Finding a Turkish whiskey might be a problem. Ankara was last produced about twenty years ago. You might want to visit neighboring Bulgaria and pick up a bottle of their very good Black Ram Whiskey. Serefe! Or Nazdrave!, if you stayed in Bulgaria. Eye contact is important, but more importantly, no pointing at people and no whispering.
So there it is. A sampling of Christmas cheer and toasting with great whisky from around the world. So, from all of us here at Whiskylove (actually, it’s just me), have a great holiday season and a dram or two of your favorite. Cheers! Slainte! Here’s mud in your eye! Bottoms up! Party on, Dudes!