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Prost! Drinking with Austrians

Drinking has its own ceremonial protocol in which eye-contact plays a central role.

When clinking glasses, Austrians take a moment to make eye contact and say 'Prost' to each person in the round. If you feel like showing off, you can also say 'Zum Wohl' or 'Prosit' - all three mean 'to your health'.

Skiing insructors, tour guides, bartenders and otherwise well-informed Austrians will be more than happy to teach you a variety of less formal, usually rowdy toasts that are popular throughout the country.

Austria's excellent wines, beers and spirits are the pride of local restaurateurs, make sure to sample regional beverages whenever possible.

After a meal you are likely to be offered a shot of Schnaps, Austria's favourite digestive. This is not a drink for the faint-hearted: the rule is to drink it in a single mouthful and, with most varieties containing around 40% alcohol, this is – literally – an eye-watering experience.