Cheers in Polish!
10 Polish Vodka Toasts to Impress the Locals
There’s no need to be scared of Polish. It’s what I always reassure people who baulk at what appears to be a random jumble of consonants with vowels few and far between. Here at TasteVodka Kraków, we’ve compiled a list of toasts to add to your drinking vocabulary. From the silly to the serious there’s a bit of everything; camels, fish, birthdays, impressing the ladies and toasting the dearly departed. We’ve given the translation in English next to the saying and then given our best stab in the dark at the pronunciation for English speakers in the description.
#1 – To health! – Na Zdrowie!
(Nah zdrov-e-yay) Without doubt the most common toast, it’s essentially the Polish version of “Cheers!”. This ubiquitous phrase is one no traveler to the lands of Poland should be without. It literally means “to health” and can also be used to say “Bless you”. A versatile word and the first one we recommend you learn.
#2 One Hundred Years! – Sto lat!
(Stow lat) Literally meaning “One hundred years”, Sto Lat is an expression used at weddings and birthdays. It’s used in the Polish version of the Happy Birthday song, so it’s quite probable that you’ll hear someone singing it on a night out in the town.
#3 Man is not a Camel, he must drink! – “Człowiek nie wielbłąd, pić musi”
(Cho-vee-ek Nye Vee-l-blonde, Peach Moo-shi) Another toast that owes much to good natured Polish philosophy, “Man is not a camel, he must drink!”. A perfect excuse for you when you’re on a night out in Kraków! There’s no excuse for letting yourself go thirsty in Poland.
#4 Fish like to swim! – “Rybka lubi popływać”
(Ribka loobee poh-pway-vatch) And we like to drink! “Fish like to swim” this seemingly eccentric saying is best explained by the stereotypical Polish love of herring. Alongside pickles, it is a traditional accompaniment to vodka. We heartily recommend enjoying some snacks when sampling the best of Polish vodka on a super tasty vodka tour.
#5 To us! – Za nas!
(Zah nass) “To us”, a self explanatory and useful phrase. This one’s also really easy to pronounce. Remember, vodka in Poland is brought out to celebrate most occasions. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, graduations. It’s a drink that poles will normally drink in company rather than alone.
#6 For beautiful women – Za piękne panie!
(Zah pyee-enk-knee pan-nyay) Would be chevaliers amongst you might choose to raise your glass and declare “Za pięknie panie!” for beautiful women. Poland is by the way chock full of beautiful women. It’s cheesy as hell but what toast isn’t.
#7 “To the health of the beautiful ladies…and my wife”! – “Zdrowie pięknych pań oraz mojej żony”
(Zdrov-e-yay Pyee-n-knik Pan o-raz Mwoy-je Zhon-a) For the braver among you with female company “To the health of the beautiful ladies…and my wife”! A good natured and joking Polish toast that is almost guaranteed to be said at social events.
#8 For the second leg! – “Na drugą nogę!”
(Nah drow-gon no-geh) It is quite possible that if you are enjoying your night quite a lot, let’s say, someone will toast you “Na drogą nogę!” “For the second leg”. If someone is a little tipsy and unstable; conventional folk wisdom has it that a little more liquid refreshment will provide the necessary support!
#9 Here’s mud in your eye! – “Chluśniem bo uśniem”
(Hloo-shnee-m boh ooh-shnee-m) This little gem is the rough Polish equivalent to “Here’s mud in your eye”. A jovial and cheerful toast.
#10 For those who cannot drink – “Za tych co nie mogą”!
(Zah tick so nye moh-gone) Naturally a sombre tone can occur anywhere. An appropriate phrase in this case would be “For those who cannot drink”, a solemn toast to anyone not present.
#10 To our Children, so they don’t cling on trams – “Zeby nam sie dzieci tramwajow nie czepialy”
(Zheb-ee Nam Shay Jec-ee Tram-vai-ov Nye She-pal-ee) Completely absurd, guaranteed to get you a laugh. “To our children so that they don’t cling onto trams”! It really is a demonstration as to the versatility of the Polish language and how you can toast just about anything!
Like I said earlier, don’t worry too much if the words are a bit of a mouthful. Polish is famed for its difficulty and it even perplexes native speakers at times. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and learnt some useful expressions and Polish words. If you’re looking for some more survival Polish or interesting local hints, tips and facts and guides then check out other interesting stuff.