Drinking rules are far from universal.
How a group of Hungarians enjoys a beer is completely different from how people in China knock one back.
Break the rules, and you may come off as disrespectful or even curse yourself with seven years of bad sex, according to a myth that’s surprisingly common in more than one country.
Where you drink determines who pours the alcohol, how high you fill the glass, how you toast, and even who buys the next round.
We broke down the rules in 10 different countries so you can drink like a native no matter where you roam.
Every table has a tamada, or “toastmaster” who is responsible for making a toast and generally keeping everyone entertained. If you’re drinking beer, fill everyone’s glass with the same bottle. The next round is on whoever gets the last drop.
What to say: Կէնաձդ (gen-ots-it)
When going to say “cheers,” make and maintain eye contact. Break your gaze and suffer the repercussions: seven years of bad sex. Ensure you clink glasses with each of your companions.
What to say: Prost (prohst) for beer, Zum wohl (sum vohl) for anything else
The same rule applies here: maintain eye contact. When pouring your drink, make sure you don’t pass the halfway mark. And remember to sip, not chug.
What to say: A votre santé (ah vot-ruh sahn-tay)
The Czechs never cross their arms while doing a toast. Failure to abide by the rules once again puts your love life at risk.
What to say: Na zdraví (naz-drah vi)
If you’re buying for yourself, you’re buying for everyone else. But don’t worry, everyone will chip in a round by the end of the night.
What to say: Sláinte (slawn-cha)
Unless you want to be considered offensive, don’t clink your glass during a toast. The rule is supposedly linked to the 1849 executions of Hungary’s 13 Martyrs of Arad. Legend has it a group of Austrian generals celebrated by clinking their beer glasses as the Hungarian revolutionaries perished.
What to say: Egészségedre (egg-esh ay-ged-reh)
It’s customary to make a toast before each round of drinks. Once you pick up your glass, you can’t put it down until it’s drained of alcohol. Drink up.
What to say: Будем здоровы (boo-dem zdo-ro-vee-eh)
Unlike drinkers in France, the Chinese fill their glasses to the brim. As you go to say “cheers,” be careful not to raise your glass above the one belonging to your host or elders. To do so would be considered a sign of disrespect.
What to say: 干杯 (gan-bay)
You’ll never pour your own drink, and it may make you feel like a boss. You’re still in charge of pouring drinks for all of your surrounding drinking buddies.
What to say: 乾杯 (kan-pie)
Koreans also don’t pour their own drinks, and it’s important to note how they pour and receive their drinks. The server should pour the bottle with two hands, and the receiver holds their own glass with both of their hands.
What to say: 건배 (gun-bay)
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