Drinking buddy etiquette Germany 101: Cheers! Prost! How to make German friends part III
Yes, we all know the prejudices, German and their beer. But the German and their beer, also has its’ political correctness. And whether you belong to the right, left wing or democratic, republican party… you better know your stuff when it comes to making drinking buddies in Germany, because if there is a good buddy in Germany to have, it is a drinking buddy. Etiquette Germany: Drinking Buddies 101.
Want to make a drinking buddy friend? Buy them a gosh-darn drink. But please ask them what they want first. With all of them glucose, lactose, alcohol-free beverages available; you just never know what kind of right or left wing German you have on your hands. Pay in Euro… duh! And don’t just drink at your own desire.
You have to tink them glasses together and say your cheers. But I must admit, some Germans order drinks according to the “one-for-here and one-to-go principle”. And I believe this is pretty much self-explanatory.
The Germans and their political correctness while out-on-the-town is not to be underestimated. In a strict fashion, here is the correct way to go about making German drinking buddies; 1. Ask every single person in the group what they want to drink. 2. Make sure everybody has something to drink. 3. Clink glasses with everybody in the group. 4. Drink your drink finally!
Tip: Germans say that you will have seven years of bad sex if you don’t look each other in the eyes while clinking glasses. Now that is some crazy stuff!
Different ways to say cheers
Now. While clinking glasses, it is normal to say some kind of form of cheers. In German class, you learn to say; Prost. But the thing is, in order to make more sophisticated German friends, you will learn to expand your “prost” vocabulary:
Prost: Is the most used and comes originally from the Latin word of “Prosit”. Prosit basically means ‘it will do”. And this saying will get old if you find the right drinking buddies. And for the Ladies: Prosterchen is simply a small Prost.
Gesundheit: Means “to our health”. This is usually used when more expensive drinks are served and/or when the drinking buddies seem to think they are in a pub where they need to be sophisticated and metropolitan.
Auf einen schönen Abend: Means “to a nice evening”. Which probably seems pretty lame, but is rarely used amongst male drinking buddies. This would be more for the female counterparts.
Zum Wohl: Means “to our well-being”. Which is one of my personal favorites. It is widely used in more rural areas of Germany, where they still appreciate their half-timber houses.
The German “drinking bill”
The German drinking bill is not anything like the American. Germans have Bierdeckel (unfortunately not everywhere). Bierdeckel are simply the coasters that they use in Germany. These are not to protect the very beautiful, cigarette-stained bar counter; the German coasters are the German pub bills that they write tallies on to calculate the amount you have ingested. And could you walk out with your coaster without anybody noticing? Yup. Are you making German friends by walking out, without paying your bill/ tab? Nope. Although I must say, I accidentally forgot to pay my German Bierdeckel tab one time back in 2007. I went into the pub the next day and paid my dues without any hand-cuffs.
Needless to say, I did make several German drinking buddies that night.
All in all, the German etiquette can be strict and formal, yet is very liberal. Whether left or right, democrat or republican; making drinking buddies is an important part of life, and is a great way to put your political views aside and practice co-existence.