Whenever you’re drinking with friends, you may find yourself clinking all your glasses together before you all knock back some shots, sort of like a receptacle version of a high-five. And that’s pretty much the most popular theory behind the how that tradition originated. Because, while in ancient times people would just pass around a single cup to share, when that got phased out in favor of separate glass tapping all the different cups together maintained the same sense of camaraderie. Similarly, why do folks often tap their glasses on a bar or table before drinking from a shot glass?
It’s not clear exactly when, where, or why this began. But there are a few common reasons behind the practice most drinkers will believe. One is that, back in ancient times, drinkers would sometimes pour a portion of their beverage onto the ground to pay tribute to deceased friends who might otherwise have been drinking there with them at that time. Thus, many folks consider tapping your glass on the bar as a modern-day form of doing the same thing, albeit in a less wasteful fashion.
The other likely reason for the shot glass tap is that it may just be a sign of respect to the bartender, waiter/waitress, or watering hole overall. Because, while the toast is for your buddies, and the drink itself is for you, it would make sense to throw in a small tip-of-the-cap to those that made it all possible. There’s also an old Irish superstition wherein tapping your glass on the table rids your drink of evil spirits.
Whatever your reasoning, the bartender wherever you may be will certainly appreciate a tap on the bar more so than your drink poured over the floor.