Mexicans have a rich culture of sayings and expressions when it comes to drinking alcohol. Many of these sayings have become ingrained in the language and culture. Here we provide a quick overview of some common Mexican drinking sayings, their meanings, and origins.
Common Mexican Drinking Sayings
Some of the most common sayings Mexicans use when drinking include:
- “Salud!” – Cheers!
- “Arriba!” – Up!
- “A tu salud” – To your health
- “Chin chin” – Cheers
- “Fondo, fondo!” – Bottom’s up!
- “Hasta las cachas” – Until you’re wasted
- ” Mi sangre es roja, mi corazón también. Viva México, cabrones!” – My blood is red, my heart too. Long live Mexico, bastards!
These are just a few examples of very common sayings used when drinking in Mexico. There are many more used in different regions and contexts.
The Significance of “Salud!”
“Salud” meaning “health” is by far the most ubiquitous drinking expression in Mexico. It functions much like “cheers” or “prost” in English or German drinking culture. Shouting “Salud!” before taking a drink is customary in virtually all settings.
The saying reflects the idea that drinking can be done in a spirit of camaraderie and well-wishing, rather than pure hedonism. Wishing those around you good health rings more virtuous than a simple “bottom’s up.” It also serves as a nice excuse to get in that first sip.
Roots of “Arriba”
“Arriba” literally meaning “up” is another very common Mexican drinking cry. This saying likely has roots in encouraging those around you to pick up and chug their drinks. But it has many symbolic meanings as well.
Some view shouting “arriba” as generally uplifting, pushing spirits upwards. It can be a celebration of life’s joys in the present moment. The saying also has roots in Mexican revolutionary culture, evoking resistance and struggle.
Toasting Health with “A tu salud”
Similar to “salud,” saying “a tu salud” meaning “to your health” is another way Mexicans toast while drinking. This again emphasizes hoping good health and fortune for those you are drinking with.
This saying serves as a nice reminder that drinking should not just be about intoxication. It’s also about sharing a human experience with others. Wishing your companions well is a virtuous sentiment to accompany downing a drink.
playful “Chin Chin”
“Chin chin” is a fun and playful way of toasting in Mexican drinking culture. It is meant to evoke the sound of glasses clinking together.
The lighthearted saying lowers the formality and adds a bit of whimsy to the drinking experience. It brings a childlike sense of fun to the table.
Encouraging Bottom’s Up with “Fondo, fondo!”
When it’s time to up the ante and bottoms up while drinking, Mexicans will start chanting “¡fondo, fondo!” This literally translates to “bottom, bottom!” and is the Mexican equivalent of “chug! chug! chug!”.
Shouting the rallying cry encourages everyone to tilt back their drinks and passionately gulp them down. It’s a high energy way to push the group into some intoxicated bonding.
Getting wasted “Hasta las cachas”
When the intent is to get seriously drunk, you may hear Mexicans exclaim “¡Hasta las cachas!” This saying means to keep drinking “until you’re wasted.”
“Cachas” roughly translates to the brim of a container. So drinking until the brim signifies going all out – leaving no drop left.
This is when Mexicans want to get wild and party hard. The saying gives the green light that the night is young and it’s time to rage.
“Mi sangre es roja…” Mexican Pride
One very passionate Mexican drinking phrase is “Mi sangre es roja, mi corazón también. Viva México, cabrones!” This translates to “My blood is red, my heart too. Long live Mexico, bastards!”
This proclamation of Mexican pride is commonly shouted out loud in unison by groups drinking together. It powerfully bonds the group in their love for Mexico.
This saying brings out Mexican solidarity and revelry. The slight vulgarity of “bastards” also reflects the loosening of inhibitions induced by drinking.
The Many Shades of “Salud”
While “Salud!” is the quintessential drinking toast in Mexico, it actually has many shades of meaning based on context. Here are some variations:
- “Salud” – Simple well wishing toast
- “Salud, amor y pesetas” – Health, love, and money
- “Salud, dinero y amor… y tiempo para gastarlos” – Health, money, and love…and time to spend them
- “Salud, pesetas y amor” – Health, money and love
Adding other good wishes like money and love expands the meaning. But the core emphasis remains wishing health and fortune on your drinking companions.
The Popularity of “Fondo”
Similar to “salud,” “fondo” meaning “bottom’s up” also has shades of meaning. Some examples:
- “Fondo blanco” – Bottom’s up in one gulp/chug
- “Fondo negro” – Bottom’s up without putting down the glass
- “Fondo claro” – Drinking the whole glass in big continuous gulps
So a plain “fondo” is the simple encouragement to finish your drink. But the variations add some flair and specificity on how precisely to chug.
As with any culture, Mexican drinking sayings continue to evolve and mutate:
- “Saludos” – A shortened greeting version of “salud”
- “Saludititos” – Frequent light toasts of “salud”
- “Fondini” – Encouraging lots of small “fondos”
The new generations put their own spin on traditional sayings. The core spirit remains wishing health and pushing to finish drinks in a celebratory manner.
Raising Glasses High
In Mexico, it is also common to raise glasses very high when toasting. This functions similarly to shouting the sayings – injecting energy and enthusiasm into the drinking occasion.
When glasses are raised high, everyone must also make contact for the toast. Failing to do so is considered poor form and rude.
Touching glasses adds a tangible sense of connectivity and sharing between those drinking. This meshes well with the communal spirit embodied in sayings like “salud.”
While the sayings above are lighthearted, it’s also common to make sincere good wishes when drinking in Mexico. For example:
- “Te deseo lo mejor” – I wish the best for you
- “Que seas muy feliz” – May you be very happy
- “Que el futuro te depare maravillas” – May the future bring you wonder
Drinking brings loved ones closer. The warmth and bonding experienced in those moments make heartfelt well wishing feel right. Adding these earnest toasts elevates drinking to a higher place.
Beyond mere sayings, Mexicans also use drinking occasions to impart wisdom, advice, and ponder life lessons. Some examples:
- “De cervezas, tequilas y amigos, los mejores son los viejos y añejados” – Of beers, tequilas and friends, the best ones are old and aged
- “Lo bueno de la peda, es la cruda moral que nos deja” – The good thing about drinking, is the moral hangover it leaves us
- “Una cruda realidad, es mejor que una falsa euforia” – A harsh reality is better than false euphoria
This elevates drinking to higher philosophical planes. Bonding over drinks becomes a chance to reflect deeply and share hard won life advice.
Playing with Puns
Mexicans also enjoy clever wordplay with their drinking expressions:
- “No es lo mismo tener sed que sede” – It’s not the same to be thirsty as to have headquarters
- “No es lo mismo un trago que un tragazo” – A sip isn’t the same as a gulp
- “No compre pan en serrería cuando puede comprarlo en panadería” – Don’t buy bread at a locksmith’s when you can buy it at a bakery
This humor and wit demonstrates the linguistic dexterity drinking loosens up. It also shows that drinks and joking go hand in hand in Mexican culture.
Raising a Toast
In many cultures, drinking alcoholic beverages is accompanied by a toast – a statement made prior to taking a drink. Some characteristics of Mexican drinking toasts include:
- Offering well wishes – Toasts express hopes for health, happiness and good fortune.
- Fostering solidarity – Sayings create community and bond the drinking group.
- Touching glasses – Physical contact reinforces the communal ritual.
- Ingestion encouragement – Mexicans urge each other to finish drinks.
- Humor and wit – Wordplay and jokes set a fun mood.
Toasts are more than just a drinking custom. They encapsulate cultural values of empathy, unity, and vitality. Raising a glass in Mexico is an ebullient celebration of life.
Examples of Drinking Toasts
Here are some typical Mexican drinking toasts:
- “¡Salud!” – “Cheers!”/ “To your health!”
- “¡Arriba!” – “Up!” / “Let’s get this party going!”
- “¡Fondo!” – “Chug it!” / “Bottoms up!”
- “¡Chin chin!” – Playful sound of clinking glasses.
- “¡Mi sangre es roja…!” – Ode to Mexican pride.
These demonstrate the diversity of Mexican toasting. From simple well wishing, to high energy partying, patriotic fervor and playfulness.
Significance of Drinking Toasts
Toasts serve important social functions in Mexico:
- Bonding – Fosters friendship, kinship and connection.
- Solidarity – Reinforces group identity and shared experience.
- Virtue ethics – Cloaks drinking in well wishing rather than pure hedonism.
- Ebullience – Mexican drinking culture values vitality and joie de vivre.
Raising glasses builds community and imbues drinking with ritual significance. Toasts transform booze into a sacrament.
Examples by Region
Mexican toasts vary by region:
|Northern Mexico||“Arriba el Norte!” Praise for the north.|
|Mexico City||“Chilangolandia!” Reference to Mexico City nickname.|
|Yucatan||“¡Sálud!” Yucatan version of “Salud!”|
|Jalisco||“¡Arriba Jalisco!” Uplifting the state.|
While traditional sayings are used everywhere, regions add local flair reflecting identity.
Celebrating Mexican Independence
Drinking expressions reach fever pitch during Mexico’s independence celebrations on September 16th. On this festive occasion, popular toasting cries include:
- “¡Viva México!” – Long live Mexico!
- “¡Viva la Independencia!” – Long live Independence!
- “¡Viva Hidalgo!” – Long live Hidalgo!
- “¡Viva Morelos!” – Long live Morelos!
- “¡Viva la Revolución!” – Long live the Revolution!
Toasting becomes an exuberant display of national pride. Mexicans joyfully affirm their identity and history.
New Year’s Traditions
Mexicans also get festive with their toasts on New Year’s Eve. Some sayings for midnight on December 31st include:
- “¡Feliz Año Nuevo!” – Happy New Year!
- “12 uvas, 12 deseos” – 12 grapes, 12 wishes
- “Viva el 2023” – Hail 2023
In Mexico it’s traditionally good luck to eat one grape on each chime at midnight. This ties wishes for the new year to each sweet grape.
Day of the Dead Toasts
Drinking rituals also feature in Mexico’s iconic Day of the Dead. Some toasting sayings for these celebrations include:
- “¡Salud a los difuntos!” – Cheers to the deceased!
- “¡Pa’ sus muertos!” – For your dead!
- “¡Arriba los muertos!” – The dead rise up!
Despite the morbid subject, the tone is joyful, not somber. Mexicans toast death itself as a part of life.
As a former Spanish colony, Mexico naturally adopted some drinking traditions from Spain as well. Some toasts in Mexico with Spanish origin include:
- “Salud, pesetas y amor”
- “Salud, dinero y amor”
- “Fondo blanco”
- “Fondo negro”
The coinage “pesetas” reflects Mexico’s colonial past. Other ritual phrases like “fondo” also stem from shared Spanish roots.
Mexican drinking toasts reveal a culture that embraces the virtues of solidarity, vitality and camaraderie. Ritual phrases elevate drinking to community communion.
Toasts transform drinking into active well wishing, humor, and life affirmation. Sharing drinks becomes sharing life’s journey.
So next time you raise a glass in Mexico, put meaning behind the motion. Toast health, toast pride, toast the richness of life itself.