Showing posts with label Toasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toasting. Show all posts

Feb 20, 2015

More Drinking Terminology

Bootleg comes from the late 19th century smugglers' practice of concealing bottles in their boots. In football, "bootleg" means the quarterback fakes a hand-off and runs while concealing the ball, ostensibly on his leg.

Touching glasses, as in toasting, comes from ancient Greeks, who clanked their cups in order to purposefully spill some alcohol, which was an offering to the gods. It also follows a medieval custom of clinking goblets together in order to frighten the demons out of the spirits, because it sounded like church bells.

Shot glasses
serve two functions: to measure liquor for a cocktail or to consume straight liquor in a quick manner. The first printed use of the term “shot glass” occurred in the 1940s in a news story discussing ways to regulate the size of a shot of liquor in the restaurants and bars of New York City, US. Before it was called a shot glass, it was referred to as a jigger or pony. A jigger is a measuring glass of varying volume, while pony means one US liquid ounce.


The cocktail glass pre-dates the drink for which it is named. It was developed as a way to keep chilled drinks from being warmed by a drinker’s hands. During the early 20th century the martini glass, which is wider and less rounded, became distinct from the cocktail glass.

The earliest reference to a corkscrew was in 1681 where it was called a 'steel worm used for the drawing of corks out of bottles'. The term 'steel worm' was derived by gunsmiths, who had crafted similar tools by the same name for cleaning the barrel of a musket.

Blotto and blackout are British slang from the early 1900s. To blot can mean both to soak up a liquid and to erase something, which is what happens to your memory when you blackout.

Three sheets to the wind comes from sailing terminology. If all three sheets (on a three-sail rig) are released and allowed to go slack, the sail will flap about sloppily, the boat will lose speed, and control. Another theory comes from the Dutch windmill industry. The mills generally had four blades that were just frames. When a miller wanted to grind grain he would put material over the frames of the blades, so that the wind would propel them. If the miller only put three sheets on before it started spinning, it would be lopsided. As the unbalanced blades spun it would cause the entire mill to sway back and forth, much like a drunken person.

The first documented use of hangover or hang-over was in 1894, and it meant a survival or a thing left over from before. The term was also associated with the 1929 US stock market crash often written about as if it were a hangover from the wild 1920s.

The verbal short form of '86' to mean to dismiss or quash, to bar entry or further service to, and even to kill. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first verifiable use of 86 for 'refuse service' dates to a 1944 book about John Barrymore, a movie star of the 1920s and infamous for his drinking. "There was a bar in the Belasco building, but Barrymore was known there as an 'eighty-six'. An 'eighty-six', in the language of western dispensers, means do not serve him." There are many other theories, but this seems to be the most accepted.