News you can talk about & Trends you can watch

In the News

Drinking Sayings Have Long History

Jan. 16, 2015 – “Here’s mud in your eye.”  How did this saying come to be a drinking toast?  It’s not clear but we’ve heard three explanations.  One we’ve never heard before suggests it originated at the track where every horse and jockey behind the winner ends up with mud in their eyes.  In that case, it sounds a bit like a curse on the competition.  Another theory posited goes back to the Gospels and the story of Jesus curing the blind man by putting mud and spittle on his eyes.  As a toast it would mean that you wish your drinking buddy good health and well-being.

We always thought the explanation was that a couple of centuries back, beer tankards in England were filthy with a layer of dirt on the bottom, which became visible as the beer was drained.  Gross but plausible.   Any other suggestions, anyone?

Another frequently used saying but definitely not a toast is “three sheets to the wind” to describe intoxication.  It’s a naval expression and poor drunken sailors get blamed for everything.  The sheets refer to ropes that if not properly tighten cause the vessel to veer around like, you guessed it, a drunken sailor.
Being “on the wagon” or “falling off the wagon” originated in the U.S.  According to our source, horse drawn wagons known as “water carts” drove through hot, dusty towns spraying water to cool things down.  As the temperance movement grew, some who gave up alcohol would say they would rather drink from the water cart than drink alcohol.  Presumably water cart was eventually abbreviated to wagon.

Getting over a hangover by having a “hair of the dog that bit me” goes back to medieval days when it was believed that the burnt hair of a rabid dog was the antidote to its bite.   Or you could claim it is homeopathy at work.

We had no idea that “Dutch courage” was linked to alcohol.  Dates back to the 17th and 18thcenturies when Holland and Great Britain were bitter trade rivals.  “Dutch” was a pejorative and implied a fake.  So the English insulted the Dutch by referring to their courage as the result of being liquored up.  It also applies to “Dutch treat” which isn’t a treat at all since you pay your share.