Clinking Your Glass

In medieval times, the potential for untrustworthy 'friends' having you taken out so they could affirm their loyalty to king, country or what-have-you, was at high level.
And since nothing brings the Dark Age drama like 86-ing a rival with a poisoned wineglass, it must have become a bit of a thing so everyone from knights to serfs had to figure out a crafty way to protect themselves and show their dinner guests, they had no nasty ideas for them hidden up their sleeves!

Back then, wine being what it was (murky that is), a hardy clinking of goblets was a sign of trust between people that were seated at your table because it created the oppotunity for wine to spill from one goblet to another and spread the risk (if any was there) of potential poisoning. If you freely clinked your wine goblet with Sir Fancypants, you were letting it be known that you trusted this person and that they should trust you too, since no one would purposely put themselves in harms way by poisoning their own wine. It showed that you held your dining companions in high regard and that there were no worries about not making it to the dessert course.
Luckily for us today, clinking glasses with your peeps is more about friendship and celebrating good times then avoiding poison.

When you clink glasses, you should always look into the eyes of your co-clinker. If you are seated at a larger table (at a formal party or banquet), give it your best college try to clink glasses with everyone seated with you, especially if there are people you are not familiar with. Extending your glass to clink and being ignored or passed over could make one feel shunned and uncomfortable and that is the last thing you would want to do when breaking bread with others.

When clinking wineglasses, never clink the rims together. The rims of many wine glasses are very thin and if you make contact at just the right point, you may crack the wine glass. You should aim to clink the bell of your glass with the bell of the other persons. The 'bell' of a wine glass is the very roundest part in the middle of your glass.
Lastly, be gentle. There is never a need for acting like a baboon at the dinner table and forcefully clinking glasses will end with glass shards from broken glass all over the place and your drink having to be mopped up off the floor.
(sidenote-people preparing guests lists for their gatherings, parties or events always remember the 'brutes' from their last parties. Those names mysteriously start to disappear from future guests lists so unless you are cool with hanging at home on a Saturday night, a light, gentle clinking with your tablemates will do the trick and keep you on everyone's guestlist!

Lily O'Brien's Wedding Favours

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