How to toast like a master

How to toast like a master

Your guests are here. So is the moment. Raise a glass and land the perfect toast


Lesson No. 1 in toasting etiquette is that if you’re organizing a party, you’re also its designated emcee. That means you should be prepared to speak. Whether it’s a formal fête or you’re just getting together with friends around a dining table, the host should be the person who makes the first toast. “It’s the major ice-breaker,” says Trevor Burnett, a Toronto-based bartender and self-styled bon vivant. “The toast sets the tone for the night.”

As for how to deliver those words, start by standing up. Never toast with water. Instead, raise a flute of something bubbly (ideally) and avoid both empty gestures and empty glasses. That’s pretty much where the etiquette points end and common sense takes over.

Toasting shouldn’t be a high-pressure situation. So forget about memorizing your speech. Write it down beforehand, practise it a few times and then, when it’s time, you’ll have something to refer to.

Be straightforward and simple in your comments, advises Grey Goose Global Ambassador Joe McCanta, who is an expert at hosting and presenting to a room of distinguished guests. “Nobody likes a meandering toast while a drink gets warm in your hand,” he says.

Every culture has its own history of famous toasts and quotes to borrow from, and you should read up on them, McCanta advises. “Chances are it’s been said before and by someone who’s said it better.” Many speakers prefer to combine a quote or two with their own words—but steer clear of clichés and opt for humour instead. A good laugh is always welcome.

Make sure that what you say comes from the heart by offering personal anecdotes and relevant references. If the people in the room are French, for instance, you could finish with the traditional “à vôtre santé” (“to your health”).

Nervous speakers tend to rush, so it’s a good idea to practise your pacing. When you find yourself on a roll, don’t forget the power of strategic pauses—like when you land that killer witticism and wait for the peals of laughter to subside.

And if you are the person being toasted, there’s one simple rule to observe: Never take a sip. Burnett calls that “like drinking to yourself.” Bubbles are always great for toasting—”like watching fireworks in your glass,” says Burnett—and the Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktail makes a refreshing and elegant change from champagne. Indeed, the Grey Goose Le Fizz has been raised to toast the finest achievements in film, music and philanthropy, by some of the world’s most celebrated talent. So, it is a worthy way to honour your guests with your wit, hospitality and good taste.

Memorable Toasts

“Look famous. Be legendary. Appear complex. Act easy. Radiate presence. Travel light. Seem a dream. Prove real.” — Anonymous

“Here’s to us that are here, to you that are there, and the rest of us everywhere” — Rudyard Kipling


Grey Goose Le Fizz

Floral and fruity with a refreshing, effervescent finish. Our toasting favourite pairs with slightly acidic soft cheeses such as Brie or goat’s cheese. Spicy dishes and light white fish also pair well.

1 ½ parts GREY GOOSE® Vodka
1 part ST-GERMAIN®
Elderflower liqueur
¾ part fresh lime juice
2 parts soda water

Combine all ingredients except soda with ice in a shaker. Shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a flute and top with cold soda.
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