Let us consider the “toast” as it relates to celebrating, the traditional take and the new way. Toasting with alcohol is a tradition rooted in superstition, dating back to the Ancient Greeks. But the rule that insists that those who do not drink must still raise a glass containing alcohol must go.
A toast is defined as a “drink to the health or in honor of (someone or something) by raising one’s glass together with others.” It comes from the literal practice of dropping a piece of toast in your drink. In the 16th century, it was common practice to add a piece of scorched or spiced toast to wine. The bread would help to soak up some of the acidity and improve the flavor of poor wine.
The definition does not refer to alcohol, but there are deep rooted ideas that clinking glasses with water brings bad luck. The U.S. military actually forbids it with Naval folklore claiming that a toast with water will lead to death by drowning!
Let’s just finish with this counterargument by Mary M. Mitchell, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette, on giving toasts, “anything will do – even water, it’s the thought that counts.”
Alas, a toast to sobriety!