Tapping the table with your glass before taking a shot is like drunkenly arguing about politics — you can participate even if you don’t really understand what’s going on. Unlike booze-fueled debates, however, touching the bar with a shot glass unites all involved.
Here’s how it works. You heroically purchase a round of shots for yourself, the bartender, and anyone else who inspires your noble generosity. Everyone raises a glass and clinks, saying “Cheers!” or “¡Salud!” or some variation thereof. Then you lightly touch your glass to the bar or tabletop, making a satisfying “thunk” sound before swigging.
Many drinkers believe this demonstrates respect for the establishment and those who work there. Tapping the bar is a way to celebrate the often-unseen folks who made the moment possible, such as barbacks, kitchen porters, delivery truck drivers, locksmiths, and so on.
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“Clinking glasses is toasting one another. Touching the countertop is toasting the house,” Sother Teague, beverage director of NYC’s Amor y Amargo, writes in a message.
Either way it’s considerably more polite than shouting your feelings about healthcare or the electoral process into the ether. Besides, isn’t that what Twitter is for?