Czech Culture & Adaptation Czech Food

“Na zdraví!” (To your health)

October 22, 2010
flight of beer shots

Photo by MaxyM/Shutterstock.com

What do the Czechs know about “healthy” drinking?

Around seven o’clock last Sunday night just as our evening was winding down and I was preparing to take the kids upstairs for baths and story time, I heard the shrill buzz of our doorbell. I couldn’t think who it might be, but then I heard familiar adult voices laughing boisterously and a group of our neighbors trooped into the kitchen. Amidst greetings of “ahoj,” one neighbor explained, quite naturally, that they’d come for a “panák” (a shot of liquor). Radek got down the shot glasses and proffered our meager liquor offerings (Jameson, Jack Daniels, Kahlua, and the Czech favorite, Becherovka). I stood in the background covering my surprise as the scene unfolded. With the informal toast “čau” and the clicking of glasses, I raised my mini-shot of Kahlua. I met each of my neighbor’s eyes, as the Czech toasting custom dictates, and smiled. There was nothing to do but take a deep breath and enjoy the unexpected turn of events. Dirty dishes and bedtime would have to wait.

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