The truth is that if you’re buying a round, you can get away with saying “cheers!” in English just about anywhere you might go. That said, there’s nothing like being a good guest in a country you’re visiting, and while you probably won’t be able to learn the language everywhere you might want to visit, you can always learn some useful phrases to show that you’re making an effort. Along with “thank you,” “this is delicious,” and “where’s the bathroom,” a great phrase to have on hand in the language of the country you’re visiting is a simple “cheers!”
Many of the simple “cheers!” in other languages are versions of “to your health,” and others are just quick phrases that simply mean “let’s drink!” None, however, are as weird or funny as the traditional English cheers, “Here’s mud in your eye!” About as strange as the actor’s “break a leg,” this little cheers is associated with the trenches of World War I, but actually originated before then. Nobody knows who first coined the term, but the phrase has been used as a wish for good luck and health for its recipients since the 1800s. Read on to learn some phrases you might want to incorporate into your next trip.
As Masha Vapnitchnaia discussed in“Drinking Like a Russian During the Sochi Winter Olympics,” toasts with vodka are an integral part of Russian drinking culture. There isn’t a direct transliteration of “cheers,” but the simplest toast — and one that’s often used — is to drink to someone’s health: за ваше здоровье. Don’t read Cyrillic? That’s cool, neither do we. It’s pronounced: "Za vashe zdorovye."
If you’re drinking in Brazil, chances are high that you’re going to encounter cachaça, a sweet, clear rum that is popular throughout the country. Be forewarned though: although the drink is served in a shot glass, it is not considered polite to shoot it back the way you might here in the States. You can sip it, or mix it into a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. When you cheers, you can say either “Saúde” (pronounce it saw-OO-jay) or “tim-tim,” (pronounced ching ching, similar to Italian).