A group of people are clustered around a table for a
typical lunch that will include several courses and a clear, fiery
drink. The host pours the ice-cold liquid into frosty, conical glasses
with long stems. He raises his glass, at which point the diners turn to
one another and make eye contact, making certain not to leave anyone
out. “Skål!” calls out the host, and everyone takes a sip. Again
there is eye contact, and then the glasses are set on the table, not to
be lifted again until the host raises his. The liquid is aquavit. The
ritual is virtually the same throughout Scandinavia.
Blue, Anthony Dias (2004). The
Complete Book of Spirits: A Guide to Their History, Production, and
Enjoyment. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 42.