I’ve been known to imbibe on occasion . . . sometimes more occasionally than others. When I’m drinking with someone else we always toast each other; even if it’s just to clink glasses. I mindlessly touch my glass with the person I’m with and at the very least simply raise the glass to the other; symbolically clinking . . . after all, that IS what is done. But why exactly do we perform that little ritual? Does the toast only really matter if you actually touch glasses? Does raising your glass and saying “clink” to the people you can’t reach count?
Russian tradition is that the only time you don’t clink glasses is when you’re drinking in honor of the dead. Conversely, if you fail to clink when making a happy toast means that someone is going to die. It seems a small thing to do to keep someone else (or yourself) from an untimely death, no? Russian’s also believe that the toast only matters if you actually touch glasses.
Or, possibly worse, it is a widespread European superstition that failure to make eye contact with your drinking companions as you clink results in a bad sex life for a year. That sounds pretty risky. Apparently, it’s also pretty risky to clink with an empty glass and clinking across someone else’s arm.
Many believe that sounding the bell can help ward off evil spirits . . . the clinking of glasses after a toast was a way of getting rid of devils while drinking.
Another school of thought is that the point of striking glasses together was meant to be done so that some of the liquid from each glass would spill into the other . . . to deter someone from poisoning you.
Perhaps it is nothing more than a silly drinking game; happily clinking away as much as possible.
Whatever the reason, raising a glass and striking them together demonstrates harmony and friendship. And is a nice exclamation to punctuate the toast.
For this recipe you will need whole vanilla beans. The beans must be still gooey. You should be able to find them at organic foods stores, but I bought mine from Amazon.com.
Slice one bean in half, the short way. Split each half the long way, using caution not to spill the seeds inside
Place the quarters into a one quart mason jar. Fill the jar with 1 liter vodka
Add 2 Tbsp Sugar, I use raw sugar.
Infusion takes 2-4 weeks. The infusion will quickly turn brown. The darker it gets, the better it tastes.