Cheers in German: 8 Ways to Make an Authentic Deutsch Toast
Whether it’s a mug of foaming beer or a cup of decadent wine, when a drink is in your hand, you know what to expect.
At some point in the night (or day, I won’t judge), you’ll be raising your glass, joining in on a toast and belting out a joyful “Cheers!”
It’s basically a rule, especially in Germany—a country known for its hearty and extensive drinking culture.
So here are some ways to say cheers in German, as a native speaker would!
- 8 Ways to Say Cheers in German
- 1. Prost — Cheers
- 2. Ein Prosit — A toast / Cheers
- 3. Zum Wohl — To health
- 4. Broscht — Cheers
- 5. Gesundheit — (To) Health
- 6. Wo früher meine Leber war, ist heute eine Minibar — Where my liver once was, there is now a minibar
- 7. Ein, zwei, drei, g’suffa / Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa — One, two, three, chug
- 8. Stößchen — Cheers
- German Drinking Etiquette
- History of Drinking in Germany
- Popular Types of Drinks in Germany
- And One More Thing...
8 Ways to Say Cheers in German
1. Prost — Cheers
The most common way to say cheers in German. Conveniently, it sounds quite close to the English “Toast.” The word prost is derived from the Latin prodesse, which means “to be beneficial.”
You can say Prost as an interjection by itself, or you can use it to toast to something specific.
Prost allerseits! — Cheers, everyone! Das ist der letzte Drink des Abends! Prost! — This is the last drink of the evening! Cheers!
2. Ein Prosit — A toast / Cheers
Ein Prosit is actually the name of a beloved drinking song written in the 1800s. It’s seen as the anthem of Oktoberfest, a massive German festival in which beer-drinking is the main attraction.
The song is sung many times over during the festivities. It’s mandatory that once this song plays, you must sing along to its entirety and quaff down your drink at the end. Don’t worry if you think you’d be too inebriated to keep up—the song only consists of four words!
Ein Prosit auf die Gesundheit! — A toast to our health!
Prosit Neujahr! — A toast to the new year!
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3. Zum Wohl — To health
Considered slightly more formal than Prost, Zum Wohl is a nice and sincere way to wish good fortune on you and everyone else’s health.
Typically, it’s the cheers of choice during more proper and ceremonial events, and also when drinking non-beer alcohol such as wine or schnapps. However, it’s still commonly used as an alternative to Prost even in casual drinking contexts.
Gott sei Dank, es ist Freitag! Zum Wohl! — Thank God it’s Friday! To your health!
4. Broscht — Cheers
Don’t get it confused with borscht, which is a popular soup in Russia and Ukraine. Broscht is the Swiss German version of Prost. As it turns out, Swiss German can be quite a bit different from mainland German.
So, next time you’re in Switzerland and you’re wanting to fit in at the bar scene, offer or join in on a nice hearty Broscht before you drink.
Schweizer Lagerbier schmeckt am besten! Broscht! — Swiss lager tastes the best! Cheers!
5. Gesundheit — (To) Health
You probably know Gesundheit as a way of saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes, but in Germany, it’s also a way to make a toast.
Like Zum Wohl, it’s specifically wishing good luck to your health and is a bit more formal than your average Prost. It can be said alone, or you can target the well wishes to someone in particular.
Auf Ihre Gesundheit! — To your health!
Gesundheit und langes Leben! — Here’s to health and a long life!
6. Wo früher meine Leber war, ist heute eine Minibar — Where my liver once was, there is now a minibar
Pretty straightforward, right? This saying will be a favorite for the drinkers who drain their cups as if they hadn’t had water in weeks. It carries all the levity that you’d want to have while the alcohol is sloshing around inside your belly.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to turn your minibar into a full-on distillery!
Wo früher meine Leber war, ist heute eine Minibar. Die Party geht weiter! — Where my liver once was, there is now a minibar. The party continues!
7. Ein, zwei, drei, g’suffa / Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa — One, two, three, chug
No, you’re not sneezing at the end of this expression. G’suffa is a Bavarian expression that basically means “bottoms up.” It’s derived from gesoffen, the past participle of the verb saufen (to guzzle down).
You can also say Ein, zwei, drei getrunken instead, but if you’re in Bavaria, you’ll want to say it in the local dialect: Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa! It’s a saying you’ll hear many times at Oktoberfest.
Alle sind bereit. Ein, zwei, drei, g’suffa! — Everyone is ready. One, two, three, chug!
8. Stößchen — Cheers
Stößchen is a term for a small beer glass, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia. Makes sense then that it’s a way to say cheers (you don’t need to have a stößchen in your hand).
It can be considered a funny saying by some since it sounds like stoßen (to poke, bump), which can insinuate less innocent things. Make sure to be mindful of the slight nuance in pronunciation!
Stößchen auf ein lustiges Wochenende! — Cheers to a fun weekend!
German Drinking Etiquette
How do you make a good impression the next time you drink with German folks?
First things first: you must be at least 16 years old to drink beer and wine, and at least 18 years old to drink hard liquor. Don’t try to sneak a drink when you shouldn’t!
When choosing your drink or pouring one for someone else, you must also pick the right glass. You’d probably get a judgmental stare if you were to, say, pour a wheat beer into anything that’s not a Weißbierglas . The glass does make a difference in your enjoyment of the alcohol.
Once you get your drink in its appropriate glass, hang tight for a bit. If anyone in your party wants to make a toast or say cheers, wait till after it’s been said to start chugging.
Furthermore, while a toast is being said, be sure to make eye contact with those around you. It’s a traditional sign of trust and respect. The legend goes that if you fail to meet eyes, then you’ll get seven years of misfortune in your “bedroom life.”
When clinking glasses, clink the bottom of your glass. An overly-enthusiastic tap on anywhere that’s not the glass’s bottom can either spill your drink or crack the fragile top.
Finally, don’t peer pressure those who choose not to drink alcohol. It’s just basic etiquette.
History of Drinking in Germany
Back in the 10th century, mass production of beer was mainly carried out by monks in monasteries. In older times, beer was thought to be a good drink for anyone of any age.
In 1516, Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV created a regulation known as Reinhetsgebot (purity order), otherwise known as the German Beer Purity Law. It dictates that German beer can only be made with barley, water and hops. Amazingly, this law is still in effect today.
As centuries passed, beer stepped aside to make room for all kinds of new drinks. Outside of large events such as the eminent Oktoberfest, drinking is still a prevalent everyday matter enjoyed either alone or with others—for example, it’s common for German folks to participate in after-work drinking (known as Feierabendbier ).
Popular Types of Drinks in Germany
So what exactly can you expect to be guzzling down if you were in Germany? Here are just a few types and styles of Germany’s most beloved beverages:
- Jägermeister — bittersweet liqueur made from herbs and spices
- Bärenjäger — honey-based liqueur
- Weißherbst — rosé wine
- Gewürztraminer — white wine that typically contains lychee flavors
- Kölsch — a clear, foamy beer made in Cologne
- Weißbier — wheat beer made in Bavaria
- Schnaps — dry spirit made from fermented fruits.
- Helles — pale lager, considered easy to drink at any time
- Glühwein — spiced wine that’s especially popular during wintertime
- Rheinriesling — traditional white wine made in the Rhine
- German Pils — a German take on the Czech beer Pilsner
- Bock — a dark, strong lager. Doppelbock is a popular variant
- Asbach Uralt — an aged brandy with nutty undertones
Of course, saying “cheers” in any of these variations is just one thing you can do to jive with German social occasions.
To learn more expressions that can help get you comfy in the German party scene, click here.
Otherwise, let me pour you a virtual glass of the finest German brew. Here’s to learning German. Prost!
And One More Thing...
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