What Does the Expression “Bottoms up” When Drinking Mean and Where Did it Come From?

“Bottoms up” means more than “lift your drink.”

When press gangs cruised dockside English taverns preying on drunks for naval duty, one of their tricks was to drop a shilling into an unsuspecting target’s pewter ale jug.

When the drink was empty, the gang would tell him that he had accepted the King’s shilling and then drag him off to sea.

Wary drinkers began using glass-bottom tankards, and “bottoms up” meant to check for the shilling.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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