Famous Toasts In History, Literature

From our library of notable toasts, we present this list of famous toasts in history and literature.

These are words spoken at significant moments in history and in popular literary works. History lovers and students will enjoy this look at some of the most important toasts ever spoken.

The most famous toasts in history

Let’s start with famous toasts from well-known authors, poets, philosophers, and playwrights.

1. Famous drinking toasts

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
Mark Twain

“’Tis a pity wine should be so deleterious,
For tea and coffee leave us much more serious.”
Lord Byron

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose-colored glasses of life.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Ho, ho, ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe
Rain may fall, and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree will I lie
And let the clouds go sailing by.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

“Were it the last drink in the well,
As I gasped upon the brink,
‘Ere my fainting spirit fell,
’Tis to thee that I would drink.”
Lord Byron

“Drink is the feast of reason and the flow of soul.”
Alexander Pope

“When the husband drinks to the wife, all would be well; when the wife drinks to the husband, all is.”
Old English proverb

“Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used.”
William Shakespeare, Othello

“It’s the best wine that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips whoso drinketh to murmur in praise.”
Old proverb

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.”
Compton MacKenzie

“Within this goblet, rich and deep,
I cradle all my woes to sleep.”
Thomas Moore

Famous toasts in history image

More famous drinking toasts

“And whatever sky’s above me,
Here’s to the heart for every fate.
Were’t the last drop in the well—
As I gasped upon the brink,
Ere my fainting spirit fell,
’Tis to thee that I would drink.”
Lord Byron

“Better belly burst than good liquor be lost.”
Jonathan Swift

“Fill the goblet again; for I never before
Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its core.
Let us drink; who would not? since through life’s varied round
In the goblet alone no deception is found.”
Lord Byron

“Fill the bumper fair;
Every drop we sprinkle
O’er the brow of care,
Smooths away a wrinkle.”
Thomas Moore

“The man that isn’t jolly after drinking
Is just a driveling idiot, to my thinking.”
Euripides

“But fill me with the old familiar juice, Methinks I might recover bye and bye.”
Omar Khayyam

“Laugh at all things,
Great and small things,
Sick or well, at sea or shore;
While we’re quaffing,
Let’s have laughing—
Who the devil cares for more?”
Lord Byron

Funny drinking toasts

“Fill up the goblet, let it swim
In foam, that overlooks the brim;
He that drinks deepest, here’s to him.”
Charles Cotton

“I drink to your charm, your beauty and your brains—which gives you a rough idea of how hard up I am for a drink.”
Groucho Marx

“’Tis not so sweet as a woman’s lip,
But, O! ’tis more sincere.
Like her delusive beam,
’Twill steal away the mind,
But unlike affection’s dream
It leaves no sting behind.”
Thomas Moore

“Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
We will not ask her name.”
Lord Byron

“I drink it as the Fates ordain it, Come, fill it, and have done with rhymes; Fill up the lonely glass, and drain it In memory of dear old times.”
William Makepeace Thackeray

“One sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams.”
John Milton

“Here’s to Prohibition,
The devil take it!
They’ve stolen our wine,
So now we make it.”
Prohibition toast

2. Famous funny toasts

“May you both live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live.”
Letitia Baldridge

“You only get married for the second time once.”
Garrison Keillor

“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

Witty toasts

“The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.”
Oscar Wilde

“May you live all the days of your life.”
Jonathan Swift

Groucho Marx toast

3. Famous toasts about love

“Here’s to the happy man: All the world loves a lover.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“May the hinges of friendship never rust, or the wings of love lose a feather.”
Edward Bannerman Ramsay

“The love you give away is the only love you keep.”
Elbert Hubbard

“Mystery and disappointment are not absolutely indispensable to the growth of love, but they are often very powerful auxiliaries.”
Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

“A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”
Rudyard Kipling

Famous toasts for weddings and marriage

“Marriage: A community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves — making in all, two.”
Ambrose Bierce

“Call no man unhappy till he’s married.”
Socrates

4. Famous toasts for friends

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”
William Butler Yeats

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”
Sean O’Casey

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”
Robert Burns

“Eere’s to your goot healdth, und your family’s goot healdth,
Und may you live long und brosper.”
Rip Van Winkle

“Friends may come, friends may go,
Friends may peter out, oh you know.
But we’ll be friends through thick and thin,
So long as this bar doesn’t run out of gin.”
Traditional English toast

“I wish for you four animals: a mink on the shoulders, a Jaguar in the garage, a tiger in the bedroom, and a jackass to pay for it all. To you!”
John Oldale

“As half in shade and half in sun
This world along its path advances,
May that side the sun’s upon
Be all that e’er shall meet they glances!”
Thomas Moore

5. Famous Irish toasts

“Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.”
William Butler Yeats

“Ireland, sir, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven, and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse.”
George Bernard Shaw

“May good fortune follow you all your days
(And never catch up with you.)”
Old Irish toast

“It is not a sin not to be Irish, but it is a great shame.”
Sean O’Huiginn

John Milton toast

6. Famous New Year toasts

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1755 edition

“A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.”
Edgar Guest

“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
T.S. Eliot

7. Famous toasts in history

Here is a sampling of some important historical toasts throughout the years.

The first toast

“Good health!”
Renwein (Rowena), daughter of Saxon leader Hengist

One of the first recorded toasts in history occurred at a feast honoring British King Vortigern in 450 CE. Renwein offered the king a goblet of wine, saying, “Louerd King, waes hael! (Good health!)”

Famous political toasts

Some of the most memorable toasts in history come from politicians and statesmen. Here are a few of their most famous toasts.

American Revolution toast, 1765-1791

“To the enemies of our country! May they have cobweb breeches, a porcupine saddle, a hard-trotting horse, and an eternal journey.”

Benjamin Franklin’s famous toast

Towards the end of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin delivered one of the most famous toasts in history. At a government dinner with political leaders from England and France, he agreed to a toast. The British Minister spoke first, to “George III, who, like the sun in its meridian, spreads a luster throughout and enlightens the world.” The French ambassador followed, to “The illustrious Louis XVI, who, like the moon, sheds his mild and benevolent rays on and influences the globe.”

Not to be outdone, Franklin delivered his toast to America’s first President, to “George Washington, Commander of the American armies, who, like Joshua of old, commanded the sun and the moon to stand still — and they obeyed him.” Truly a drop-the-mic moment in history!

George Washington’s farewell toast, 1796

“With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you,” Washington toasted, looking about the room. “I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable. I cannot come to each of you but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.”

More famous political toasts

1.) “Our federal Union: it must be preserved!”
President Andrew Jackson, at Thomas Jefferson’s birthday celebration, April 1830

“The Union: next to our Liberty the most dear: may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and distributing equally the benefit and burden of the Union!”
John Calhoun, his Vice President, in reply

Jackson directed his toast towards Vice President John C. Calhoun. Calhoun, a proponent of state’s rights, responded with a toast of his own, clearly making his views on nullification clear to everyone in the room.

2.) “The law: It has honored us; may we honor it.”
Daniel Webster, American lawyer and statesman, his toast at the Charleston Bar Dinner, May 1847

3.) “Gentlemen, I believe your victories were won on water.”
William Jennings Bryan, American politician and orator, 1908

The teetotaler Bryan was asked to make a toast to the British Navy. He used a glass of water to make his point.

4.) “May this kind understanding between our countries grow ever closer, and may our friendship prosper. Ladies and gentlemen, we drink to the health of His Majesty, King George VI.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his toast to the King of the United Kingdom at the 1939 White House dinner

5.) “Here’s to 1942, here’s to a year of toil—a year of struggle and peril, and a long step forward towards victory. May we all come through safe and with honour.”
Winston Churchill, New Year’s toast, January 1, 1942

Churchill was traveling by train to Washington DC when he gathered reporters and staff in the dining car for his toast to the new year.

Benjamin Franklin famous toast

List of 18th-century toasts

A list of toasts that exemplify the character of the age:

  • “A long and happy peace”
  • “The American people—While they know how to defend the Rights of Man, may they not forget to pay a due regard to government of their own choice—Three Cheers!”
  • “May the citizens of the United State eternally cherish those rights, for which they fought, bled, and conquered.”
  • “Perpetual Union to the Colonies”
  • “To the memory of those departed heroes who sealed our Independence with their blood—Whilst we taste the fruits of their labours, may we never be tempted to fell our birthright for a mess of pottage.”
  • “All true Patriots throughout the World”
  • “The Thirteen united Colonies. The free and independent States of America. The Congress for the Time being. The American Army and Navy. A happy Election for the Whiggs on the first of May.”
  • “To the good fortune of the company and generosity of (name)”
  • “For the pleasure of (name) and his/her company.”
  • “May the Collision of British Flint and American Steel, produce that Spark of Liberty which shall illumine the latest Posterity”
  • “To the health of those friends in company tonight”
  • “To the Virginia Declaration of Rights, long may it cherish the inherent liberties of the citizen.”
  • “This happy day, and all who honor it.”

Mid-century toasts

“Here’s to the new radio—
Here’s to our neighbor’s loudspeaker
So loud we need none of our own
May its volume never grow weaker.”
1930s toast

“To the confusion of our enemies.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, theoretical physicist, 1940s

“Here’s to today! For tomorrow we may be radioactive.”
1950s toast

8. Literary toasts

The following toasts are from famous authors, poets, and playwrights.

“To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due.”
Neil Gaiman, Season of Mists

“To old times, May they never come again.”
John C. Wright, Count to a Trillion

“Let my memory of you be like a blade in my soul.”
Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana

“The flame of the inn is dim tonight,
Too many vacant chairs.
The sun has lost too much of its light,
Too many songs have taken flight,
Too many ghosts on the stairs.
Charon, here’s to you as man against man,
I wish I could pick ’em the way you can!”
Grantland Rice

“May we generally be happy, generally be witty, generally be honest, but above all always be interesting.”
Daniel Handler, The Basic Eight

“May your pens never run out of ink, your computer never run out of power, and your brain never run out of brilliant ideas.”
Jessica Lave, Quiet on the Set: A Novel

“To the destruction of what is.”
Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent

Famous toasts in literature

Bob Cratchit: “A merry Christmas to us all, my dears, God bless us!”
Tiny Tim: “God bless us every one!”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“I propose a toast to mirth; be merry! Let us complete our course of law by folly and eating! Indigestion and the digest. let Justinian be the male, and Feasting, the female! Joy the depths! Live, O creation! The world is a great diamond. I am happy. The birds are astonishing. What a festival everywhere! The nightingale is a gratuitous Elleviou. Summer, I salute thee!”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
Homer, The Odyssey

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

“Her health! and would on earth there stood
Some more of such a frame,
That life might be all poetry,
And weariness a name.”
Edward Cate Pinckney

“And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like Arabs,
And as silently steal away.”
Longfellow

“The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher—
And shuts the mouth of the foolish.”
William Makepeace Thackeray

A list of toasts from The Toastmaster’s Guide

A sampling of popular toasts published in 1806 by T. Hughes:

  • “May the works of our nights never fear the day-light.”
  • “Old wine and young women.”
  • “Prudence and temperance with claret and champagne.”
  • “Mirth, wine and love.”
  • “A generous heart and a miser’s fortune.”
  • “May we never want a friend to cheer us, or a bottle to cheer him.”
  • “Love without fear, and life without care.”

9. Shakespeare famous toasts

While you are learning about toasts from famous people, why not pay tribute to the Bard of Avon? These lines from William Shakespeare’s greatest plays make for short, yet thoughtful, toasts.

1.) “I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.”
Macbeth

2.) “From woman’s eye this doctrine I derive;
They are the books, the arts, the academies,
That’s how certain they nourish all the world.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost

3.) “Heaven send thee good fortune.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor

4.) “Look down you gods,
And on this blessed couple drop a crown.”
The Tempest

5.) “Men of few words are the best men.”
Henry V

6.) “Your heart’s desires be with you.”
As You Like It

7.) “I wish you all the joy you can wish.”
The Merchant of Venice

8.) “Lack nothing: be merry.”
Henry IV

9.) “All days of glory, joy and happiness.”
King John

10.) “Fair thought and happy hours attend you.”
The Merchant of Venice

11.) “Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor

12.) “I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety.”
Henry V

13.) “Good company, good wine, good welcome can make good people.”
Henry VIII

14.) “Heaven give you many, many merry days.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor

15.) “Eat and drink as friends.”
The Taming of the Shrew


Thank you for reading these famous toasts in history and literature. You might also enjoy the following toast lists:

Drinking Toasts

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